Good Friday

posted 24 Apr 2019, 05:04 by Parish Office

Good Friday 2019

 

Yesterday I was speaking about some of the terrible things that have been taking place in the Church internationally over the past fifty years or so.  We may wonder how all of this could have happened, but even back in the first century, at the Last Supper, there was the presence of Judas.  Today, towards the beginning of the Passion, you may have spotted a small detail.  Judas is not referred to simply as Judas, but as “Judas the traitor”.  After being introduced this way, a second time, he is again called “Judas the traitor”.  Whatever scandals were to take place in the Church down the centuries, none was to be better remembered than that of “Judas the traitor”.

 

How do we explain such treachery?  Pope Benedict, in his three volume work Jesus of Nazareth, put it this way:

 

“what happened to Judas is beyond psychological explanation.  He has come under the dominion of another.  Anyone who breaks off friendship with Jesus, casting off his “easy yoke”, does not attain liberty, does not become free, but succumbs to other powers.  To put it another way, he betrays this friendship because he is in the grip of another power to which he has opened himself.” (Part Two, pg 68)

 

More specifically, in John 13:27, it says that at the Last Supper, after Jesus gave Judas the piece of bread he had dipped into the dish, Satan entered him.  Even earlier, in Matthew 12:30, Christ says, “He who is not with me is against me.  He who does not gather with me scatters”.  There is no “neutral ground”.

 

We can react in horror at the sin of Judas, and at the sins of others, but what about our own sins?  Each one of our sins, in a certain measure separates us from God.  We betray our mission as follower of Christ to bear witness to Him, to show by our lives Christ living in us.  And the more we do so, and the more seriously we do so, the more we open ourselves up to the Evil One.  I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m saying it because it’s true.

 

The devil can then play games with us.  There’s more than one possible thing he can do with us.

 

For some, the habit of repeatedly committing the same sins leads to a certain deadening of the conscience.  We make peace with sin and begin just to accept it and no longer react to it.  Then we can be led to further sins.

 

For some, their sins might lead to a gradual cooling off of their faith.  They become indifferent to the things of God.  If I pray, then I pray; if I don’t then I don’t.  It doesn’t really matter that much to me.  They lose interest.  Love of God is replaced with love of the world.

 

Then there are those who fall into the sin of despair.  Like Judas, they think that what they have done is so serious that it cannot be forgiven.  How awful to think that now everything is over and there is no turning back!  “I’ll just have to live my life and pretend everything is fine, but I know there is no salvation or forgiveness for me now.  Everyone will be surprised when I don’t make it to heaven, but now there’s nothing I can do.”  Wrong, double wrong and triple wrong!  Our time on earth is the time of mercy.  In the next life we have to face judgement for the sins for which we did not seek forgiveness in this life.  To repeat:  we have the choice of seeking forgiveness for our sins in this life, or of facing judgement for them in the next.  All sin can be forgiven, no matter how embarrassing, evil or unmentionable.  Maybe someone might think:  but that’s the whole point – I can’t bring myself to mention that in confession.  Well, if you read up on a few conversion stories, the chances are, you’ll find that their confessions were worse than yours.  Look up John Pridmore’s story – he was involved in organised crime, drug dealing, and plenty of GBH.  If he can be forgiven, then so can the rest of us.

 

With God, there is always a way back.  Even Judas could have been forgiven, if he had asked for forgiveness.  We can never exhaust God’s mercy.  Christ’s Death, which we recall today, is able to atone for, and bring about forgiveness for all sin.  There is no limit to what God can do.

 

Perhaps we still need a bit of help.  Perhaps we are still afraid.  Turn to Our Lady, and ask her to pray for you.  Her prayers are powerful.  Who knows how many people’s conversions are down to her prayers.  Do not be afraid of her, and do not be afraid of the Lord.  St Peter also betrayed the Lord.  The difference was that he sought the Lord’s forgiveness.

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