He Died To Save Us
Today is Good Friday. On this day, the Church wants us to contemplate and reflect on the passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In one of the catechism classes for first Holy Communion children, a child innocently asked me, “Father, why do we call it Good Friday since Jesus Christ was killed that day?” It was a thoughtful moment for me, too. It should have been called a “bad Friday,” according to the reasoning of this innocent child. After all, Jesus Christ was brutally killed and crucified on the cross, and why not?
The truth is that Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death saved humanity from damnation. His death on the cross was a saving death. His was a death that brought salvation and redemption to the world. Hope was restored to us through His death on the cross, and we are reconciled with God. By dying on the cross, Jesus Christ destroyed the power of death, purchased, and ransomed us for God (I Cor. 6:20, 7:23; Eph 1:7). Such a day cannot be designated by the bad actions of those who crucified Him. Instead, it should be remembered for the triumphant action of Jesus Christ, who offered Himself as immolation to God and humanity. It is, for us, a Holy Friday, a Blessed Friday, and a Good Friday.
Our Sins, He Bore, And Our Sufferings, He Endured
In the first reading, Isaiah presented an image of the suffering servant of God. A servant who would undergo great suffering, torture, and pain. A servant who would be rejected from the get-go. His face was so marred, and there was no stately bearing to make people look at him. He was harshly treated and chastised. He underwent and endured these pains not for himself but for others. Isaiah says, “it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured…he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; and upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole” (Is. 53:4-5). The suffering servant in Isaiah’s passage fits the description of Jesus Christ and what he endured for us.
Peter, addressing the Christian community of his time, reminded them of the fulfillment of this, Isaiah’s prophecy, in Jesus Christ. He reminded them and us that Jesus Christ, though he was innocent and committed no sin, was made to suffer, leaving us an example to follow. When He was insulted and derided, he returned no insult and did not threaten or complain (1Peter 2:22-23). He accepted everything done to him for the sake of his love for us.
We Should Be Dead To Sin
The power of God has liberated us. The death of Jesus Christ has saved us and freed us from the shackles of sin. We share in his death. St Paul puts it aptly, “we know that our old self was crucified with Jesus, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin” (Romans 6:6). Therefore, since we share in Jesus Christ’s death, we should live for Christ and be dead to sin. Through his death, Jesus Christ died to sin, once and for all. Consequently, we, too, must think of ourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6: 10-11). Our human nature, no doubt, is frail and prone to sin, but the power of Christ’s redemption reigns supreme. Let us always remember that “He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin we might live for righteousness. By his wounds we have been healed” (1Peter 2:24).
Always remember that Jesus loves you!