Jesus was betrayed, arrested, falsely accused, tried, scourged, and beaten. Jesus carried his cross, was crucified, and with his words, “It is finished” (Jn 19:30), Jesus died. The gift of a crucifix is that it represents for us the moment of the death of Jesus. Having a crucifix is not a morbid fascination with the death of Jesus, nor a rejection of his resurrection. The crucifix is not a magic talisman, but a sacramental, that helps us to remember the reality of what the Son of God, who became one with us, did. Jesus embraced humanity all the way even unto his death, giving his life for us that we might have the opportunity to be born again and live with him forever. Without the crucifixion, there would have been no resurrection.
On this Good Friday, let us spend time in venerating Jesus on the Cross. May we meditate before a crucifix, before this expression of the most intimate act of Love ever expressed in human history. This icon expresses the wonderful bestowal of the grace of God upon humanity, in that it reminds us that we have a God who has experienced and understands betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, and anguish. Jesus is relevant to our lives because he meets us where we are. In making time to be still and look upon the cross upon which he died, seeing his body slumped and lifeless, we can call to mind our own struggles, trials, pain, sorrow, experiences of injustice, and loss and be comforted in knowing that Jesus understands because he has experienced them all.
Making time to gaze upon the crucifix in times of fear, anxiety, temptation or indecision, can give us the strength and courage to endure or go through what lies before us. Jesus with his arms outstretched represents for us his eternal welcome, that he loves us more than we can ever mess up. When we resist running from our trials, our suffering, and our pain, and instead face them, we will find that Jesus is waiting for us with his arms outstretched and wide open. Jesus meets us in the midst of our chaos, in the depths of the whirlwind of our deepest hurts, struggles, and confusion, when and where we need him most. This is why we venerate Jesus on the cross today, this is why today is Good Friday, so we remember that death does not have the final word, Jesus conquered death. He did not leave us orphans, we are not alone because Jesus is with us always and forever.
Photo: Crucifix in sanctuary of St Peter Catholic Church, Jupiter, FL
Link for the Mass readings for Good Friday, March 30, 2018: