Meditation for Good Friday

A Cross for a Time of Pandemic

More often than I would have liked to acknowledge, when hearing about a crime against children, domestic violence, or the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, I have caught myself saying under my breath, “If I were God!”  I have not found no other reason to think that way save my human reaction to impose not only justice on the culprit, but to demand from the criminal an eye from an eye – and then some! Thanks be to God I am not such kind of third-rate god.

When Jesus was not only the ultimate witness to a case of murder caused by professional resentment, political expedience, and criminal injustice, but He was himself the very victim of the crime, He said, “Father – Forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”

Granted, as the Victim, Jesus had the right to plead clemency, while in my circumstances I have not such right.  It is just the human tendency to imagine God as an old cranky man with a big swatter on his hand always in search of people who need to be punished to the max for sins real or imaginary. But is He such kind of god?

Since the dawn of humanity, we have been taught not to make God to our image and likeness. Rather just the opposite – That we were made to God’s image and likeness.  It is because of our unbridled pride – We know better, don’t we? – that Good Friday’s Calvary came into being.  And Jesus, the Healer, Bridge-builder, and Lover of souls died, the Just for the unjust. For you and for me.

We call for divine justice on others, but we forget that we are sinners. We look for reprieve, but we expect perfection from others.  We ask to be pardoned, but we demand others what God would not demand from us.  We want it all – For we need it, don’t we? – but we tighten up our fists. Isn’t it what Good Friday’s Calvary is all about?

The thief crucified together with Jesus prayed, “Remember me when you come into the fulness of your kingdom!”  And our Lord’s answer is the same that He offers to all those who come to Him, “For sure you will be with me when I come into the fulness of my kingdom.”

Love lifted Jesus high up the Cross in Calvary.  Love will lift you up together with Christ. And because the Spirit of the Living God, He who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He will raise you up to a new life.