[5:38 PM, 4/9/2020] Fr Michael MSP Iperu Promo: Friday 10th April 2020
Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9, John 18:1-19:42
Today is the saddest day in the Church. It is a day when no mass is celebrated anywhere in the world, because Jesus Christ our saviour has been crucified. As we mourn the death of our saviour today, we also are happy and have every reason to thank God because the death of Jesus has brought about our salvation. In the Old Testament, people killed rams and other animals to ask God for forgiveness of their sins. For man to be truly and fully reconciled to God and brought back to his original state, only the blood of God himself could achieve that. God himself therefore, has to die so that man could be saved.
Today is called good Friday because it is a day of our salvation. We kill the Son of God today and call it a good day, because we know that the death of God liberates us from the slavery and prison of sin and death. We therefore mourn today not because Jesus has died, but because it is our sin that caused his death.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah describes a righteous servant who committed no sin, but volunteered to suffer for the sins of others. The servant was falsely accused, insulted, beaten and afflicted that he no longer looked human. He was scorged at the pillar, crowned with a thorn that pierced his head, he fell three times on the stony and rocky road to calvary, he was hungry and thirsty, but given vinegar. You can imagine how much blood came out of his body today. Crucifixion is actually the worst form of death for criminals. All these he went through without saying a word, so that our sins may be forgiven and the gates of heaven will be open for us.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews in the second reading of today, tells us that Christ is our high priest, and through his suffering and death, we have received the mercy of God.
As we celebrate this day, let us not easily forget with the Hallelujah songs of Easter that will come soon, that whenever we sin, we nail Jesus to the cross. Let us make efforts to avoid sin, and try to amend our ways.
I know that many of us will be at home today because of this Covid-19 pandemic. From our homes, we can have the stations of the cross with our families, and read chapters 18 and 19 of the gospel of John, to understand what Jesus went through today. You can also follow the good Friday ceremony on TV. Be assured that your priests are praying for you during this period. May the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, save us from every inclination to sin, and strengthen us to resist the occassions of sin. Amen. God help us.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP