Thursday, April 09, 2009

Through His Suffering, My Servant Shall Justify Many

April 10, 2009

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

By Melanie Rigney

If (God’s servant) gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and his guilt he shall bear. (Isaiah 53:10-11)

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your kindness. (Psalms 18:17)

In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10)

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. (John 19:25-30)


Jesus, how can words or thoughts express our feeble appreciation of the profundity of your suffering for us? You showed us how to live and love, how to carry our cross, and how to die. But we cannot do it alone. Please stay by our sides as we travel on our journey home to the Father.


He carried the cross.

He carried the cross as a child, respecting Mary and Joseph even as he grew to understand he was the Son of another.

He carried the cross as he entered his ministry, convincing John the Baptist to baptize him to fulfill the prophecy despite John’s protest.

He carried the cross at Cana, feeding the guests at the request of his knowing mother despite his protest that this wasn’t the time.

He carried the cross on the mountain, shrugging off Peter’s total misunderstanding of the Transfiguration.

He carried the cross of those who doubted him, successfully parrying with them every time on issues of the law.

He carried the cross of our literal-mindness, sharing the concepts of obedience, love, forgiveness, and more in the form of stories we could understand.

He carried the cross of our limited brainpower, boiling down all the rules to live by into two: love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

He carried the cross of enormous physical humiliation and suffering, bearing the pain without complaint until finally, he was allowed to give up the spirit.

He carried the cross.

He could have stopped or given up anytime, but he didn’t.

And with his help, neither will we.


Write your three heaviest crosses on a piece of paper. Carry them with you to Good Friday Mass or your prayer time today. Ask Christ for help in bearing them the way he would—then put the paper in a safe place. Review it in a month, and give thanksgiving for the assistance he has provided.

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