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Friday, April 18, 2003

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Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Psalm 31
John 18:1—19:42

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dying to be loved

"He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity." —Isaiah 53:3

Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent (Jn 18:38; 19:4, 6) so he justly sought to release Jesus. Nevertheless, Pilate wanted the Jewish leaders to agree to Jesus' release. Pilate knew that people sometimes have a human tendency to respond to others' sufferings by lessening or changing their hatred and opposition to them. Consequently, Pilate unjustly had Jesus brutally scourged. Then "Pilate went out a second time and said to the crowd: 'Observe what I do. I am going to bring Him out to you to make you realize that I find no case [against Him].' When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak, Pilate said to them, 'Look at the Man!' " (Jn 19:4-5) Pilate's maneuver backfired for "as soon as the chief priests and the temple guards saw Him they shouted, 'Crucify Him, crucify Him!' " (Jn 19:6)

Why did Jesus suffer so much? The Lord knows that sometimes we human beings respond to others' sufferings by repenting of having hardened our hearts. What failed for Pilate, Jesus did with even more suffering than His scourging. Jesus suffered His agony, Passion, and death knowing that at least some people would change their hearts and love Him. It is evil for us to put ourselves in a position where only cruel suffering can touch us, but Jesus' love for us is so great that He met our unreasonable demands. The Lord Who is Love (1 Jn 4:8, 16) will pour Himself out in love, in blood, and in pain for any one — for only one — to love Him. How will you let Jesus' Passion and suffering affect you? Will you love Him or crucify Him? (see Heb 6:6)

Prayer:  Jesus, I will love You, even if others crucify me.

Promise:  "When Jesus took the wine, He said, 'Now it is finished.' Then He bowed His head and delivered over His spirit." —Jn 19:30

Praise:  (none)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, October 17, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2002