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Friday, April 19, 2019

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Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
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. Perhaps Pilate thought that people sometimes have a human tendency to respond to others' sufferings by lessening or changing their hatred and opposition to them. So Pilate unjustly had Jesus brutally scourged and 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 accomplished 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 sad 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 anyone — even for only one person. 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)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 28, 2018

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