Good Friday, Good News and good life
In the beginning of the universe, there was Infinite Singularity and
that means that the universe began with Infinite Love, and the universe
is governed and run by Infinite Love and it will also end (whenever and
however it will end) in Infinite Love. And that Love shall never end. In
the beginning, 15 billion years ago, an immensely dense and tensed fire
ball exploded and gave birth to our universe. It was a moment of
self-donation, self-sacrifice, self-immolation and self-giving. The Big
Bang was a work of infinite divine love. It burst in order to give birth
to a new dimension of cosmic existence. Bursting is birthing. It burst
in order to birth forth.
Everything in the universe happens according to the Law of the Cross
which is the law of self-donating and self-giving. One thing dies or
sacrifices itself in order to give birth to a new cosmic dimension.
There is no new life without death and there is no death without new
life. The Law of the Cross is an all-embracing and over-arching reality;
in spite of death, life continues and in spite of life, death continues.
Nothing can escape its paradoxical dynamics. Good Friday is the ultimate
manifestation, the zenith, the supreme expression, the high watermark of
this divine truth.
Rejection of love
But, contrary to popular opinion, most people hate inner freedom and
unconditional love deep down. It is too much for them to bear and care
for. They may talk about it, sing about it, lament about its absence but
deep down they do not know how to handle it once it is offered to them
without restrictions, conditions and reservations.
We live in a world that rejects love and freedom. We live in a
crucifying world, a world that rejects love, that tries to crucify it,
that tries to eradicate it from the face of the earth. Crucifixion of
Christ means rejection of unconditional love’s ultimate manifestation by
Not everything about his death could be grasped by outsiders. One has
to become an insider, enter into a path of discipleship, fellowship and
intimate relationship with Christ in order to fully fathom and glimpse
the deepest meaning and the broadest implication of his crucifixion. One
has to walk his footsteps in order to see what it means to live in a
Crucifixion of Christ is never an isolated event, an individual
phenomenon but is a cosmic event. Crucifixion of Christ means rejection
of unconditional love by us. By crucifying Christ, we said NO to the
gift of divine love. We committed the worst crime we could afford in
history; that is, to kill Jesus, the author of life, and yet we remain
unrevenged, unpunished, unharmed, free from retribution by God. When
Jesus offers unconditional love, it can be a terrifying thing for some
people. Either we want to destroy or annihilate what we are afraid of or
we want to run away from it, but Christ can never be gotten rid of for
Christ is another name for love.
Crucifiction of Christ
When we crucified Christ, we also crucified the best part of our
personality with him. When he rose from death, our best selves were also
restored and resurrected with him. With his death, our fears also died.
By dying he gave us life.
We have done the worst possible we could do and yet we were not
punished or avenged or given retribution. Now nothing worse could happen
to us for God has accepted us as we are and offered us forgiveness and
life. God accepts everything in the world, even our murderous rejection
of love, mercy and forgiveness in order to redeem them. Whatever is not
totally embraced by God is not fully redeemed.
With God, there is no human predicament, human agony and misery
beyond redemption and no sin beyond forgiveness. We are totally and
absolutely accepted as we really are. So what guarantee do we still need
for God’s unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness? God did not
annihilate humanity from the face of the earth as a result of Jesus’
murder. Even though we killed Jesus, God’s own son, God’s love for us
never turned into hatred, resentment or avenge. God cannot not love us.
God identifies himself more closely and more intimately with the
suffering of all creatures.
I am also a member of that humanity, part of that crooked timber of
humanity (Immanuel Kant) that nailed Christ to the Cross and I am too
part of that humanity that had been redeemed by the Cross of Christ.
When we crucified Christ, we crucified the person we were afraid to
become. We are afraid of true freedom and unconditional love and
therefore we tried to get rid of the person (that is, Jesus) who offered
us both freely and generously.
Acknowledgment of my contribution and share in his crucifiction
should not lead to a guilt-trip. It is not about wallowing in self-pity
and self-accusation for his death which in fact is a very dangerous
move. Beating one’s breast is a theologically dead end. What is called
for is costly involvement with the world, with the victims of history,
with the suffering masses. Christ donated himself, offered himself,
sacrificed himself and shared himself for the life of the world and to
do likewise is the Good Friday challenge for us.
Good News must not be made into a nice news, a complacent news, a
comfortable news. Good News on Good Friday is a disturbing news, an
interrupting news, a demanding news, a challenging news and a liberating
news. Good Friday is the ultimate proof of Good News. God loves us no
matter what. When we suffer, God also suffers with us, God also feels
our pain in order to console us. There is no true consolation without
participation in human suffering. By embracing suffering, we transform
them and then they become part of our depth, substance and authenticity.
Nothing human is alien to Jesus, no human experience is ungraspable by
Every injustice perpetuated is also perpetuated against Christ. Every
persecution of the innocent is also a persecution of Christ. When we
suffer unjustly, Christ too suffers with us heart-bleedingly.
Why are some people not convinced that they are loved totally and
unconditionally? Is it too good to be true? Or is it the grandest
illusion in the world? We cannot invent something like unconditional
love without an experience of it for we are not intrinsically capable of
it and so there has to be a source for it.
Unconditional love and forgiveness is the divine revelation, it is
revealed once and for all by the Lover and Forgiver par excellence.
Evil men, by trying to destroy others, destroy themselves in the long
run. The wicked perish by their own devices slowly and surely.
We die as good as we live and that was certainly the case with Jesus.
Jesus, the life-giver, lover and forgiver par excellence gave his life
for us even at his death. Only a person who has lived well can die well.
Jesus died exactly the way he lived by creating a space for life. Death
and life are intimately interlinked. Even one’s death can be at the
service of life, can enhance life and promote life.
Love will never end
The exact date and time of world’s end is a meaningless category to
the person who loves for she or he lives truly in each second. The
meaning of human life is in the quality of our love. How much I love,
the depth of my love is the real me. It is my real identity, my true
self, my authentic self, and my original self.
To hope is to trust in the power of love. To hope is to cultivate
unshakable and unbelievable faith in love. To hope is to allow God to
work miracles in our lives.
Hope is the memory of the future (Gabriel Marcel). Hoping is coping
with every hopeless situation. To hope is to cling to God under any
anxiety, under any despair, under any disappointment.
The more hopeless, helpless, restless and desperate we become, all
the more we must cling to God. Every attempt to keep hope alive is an
acknowledgement of Christ’s resurrection. Hope which is not contaminated
by human expectation is a real possibility with God. Hope will never
disappoint us for it always comes from God. Hope and expectation are not
the same. The more we expect, the more disappointed we become.
Expectations always kill relationship. The greater the expectation, the
deeper the disappointment. But in hope there is no disappointment
Death is the moment of truth, the moment of revelation and
reveilation. Death rounds off one’s fundamental option and orientation
in life. Death becomes absolutely meaningful when we live a full life.
Death cannot annihilate those who continue to love. In that sense,
death may be the holiest act, the most sacred event in one’s life. Death
serves human life. Death too is a servant of God. Death gives us a
purpose, an orientation, a sense of accomplishment and mission in life.
Death, a promoter of life
Jesus went to his death the way he went about his living with the
same compassionate attitude. His death was the death blow to sins in the
world: sins had neither power nor control over his life and his
We attain ultimate human maturity at the moment of death. Death is
the erotic climax of our spiritual growth, the orgasm of union and
communion with God, the orgasmic joy in God, the ultimate erotic
fulfillment and satisfaction in God.
When we have not lived properly, we are terrified of letting go. The
real fear of life is not fear of death, but fear of life, that is, the
fear of dying (or letting go of life) when we have not lived fully.
Then we want to cling to the narrow security of material comforts of
life at any cost.
Letting go is preparing for death and by so preparing for death every
day, we begin to live truly. In this way of living, death is a decision,
an ongoing decision to deepen the zest for life. With Jesus’s
resurrection, the apostles were able to see what they could not see
before, that is, the universe is no longer the same. Resurrection caused
an insurrection in the nether world. Now the universe is a transformed,
renewed, rejuvenated, reformed, recreated and remade reality.
Christ has absorbed everything unto Him. Whoever and whatever is not
absorbed by Christ is not redeemed. But the good news is that nothing is
left unredeemed, untransformed and unrenewed by Him. The whole evolving
and emerging cosmos is embraced by him. The universe is an extension of
his resurrected and glorified body. So, now human death too is a
redeemed reality, a resurrected reality. We are born, live, and die unto
Christ’s resurrection. We are buried, entombed, enshrined and sepulchred
in Christ’s resurrected body and nothing can exhume us from it. True
life is life towards resurrection and therefore true life is absent
without resurrection. Death is the window to resurrection. Resurrection
is the micro chip, the compact disk of life, that is, the interpretative
key of life. Everything we are curious to know about life contains in
the resurrection of Christ.
The resurrection of Christ is not an isolated, individual phenomenon,
something that happened to a single individual. It is a cosmic event. It
has cosmic repercussions. Resurrection is a biospiritual reality, a theo-seismic
eruption, a universal spiritual outburst. Resurrection is the cosmic
Tsunami that shakes, stirs, tupsy turvies, our fixed, fixated, stymied
and stagnated understanding of God and life.
The resurrection is the grand renewal of the universe. In it, the
healing of our minds, the broadening of our cognitive, intellectual,
emotional, ethical and spiritual horizons was accomplished.
It is the healing of our emotional blocks, frozen feelings and
ego-centeredness. There is no reason to be afraid of in God’s universe.
God is in charge of everything and nothing can stop us from loving and
being loved. Death has no power over those who love.
After the resurrection of Christ, there is no such a thing as
ordinary time. All time is extraordinary, supernatural and consecrated.
Time is resurrected, rejuvenated, redeemed and emancipated. So now we
live, move and have our being in resurrected time for time is also a
resurrected reality. With the resurrection of Christ, there is no reason
for anxiety, worry and restlessness. We must feel sorry for those who
worry. With the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ, the whole
creation is redeemed; our lives are on a trajectory of resurrection.
Resurrection is the enfleshment of hope.
Resurrection is the surest assurance of God’s infinite love. Even the
tiniest act of love is ultimately recognized and restored by God. No
love is ever lost in this universe Creation is eastering forth. The
resurrection of Christ is also the resurrection of whole creation. Every
creative act is an act self-donating and self-giving. Creating is
resurrecting. Resurrection is the revelation of God’s creativity par
excellence. As Saint Augustine says, “Resurrection is the greatest
miracle of God.”
We now live unto the resurrection of Christ. Christ lives in us now
in order to facilitate our own resurrection someday. What happened to
Christ at the resurrection is also going to happen to us in the future.
It’s our true fate. We are born, live, and die to be resurrected one
day. Eternal life is our destined life. Eternity is ultimate human
The one who loves will never die. To the one who loves whether the
world will end today or tomorrow is an absolutely non-issue.
When we live in love, we live in God and therefore we will live
forever. But eternity is not prolongation of time (time continuing ad
infinitum). Infinity is eternal now and it never comes to an end. The
whole of eternity contains at this moment and to experience it is to
experience eternal life.
The whole creation, for the meantime, is in preparation for the
return of the resurrected Christ and we are eagerly waiting for the
early return of its redeemer.
When I survey the wondrous cross
Today is Good Friday and Christians the world over commemorate the
supreme price paid by our Lord Jesus Christ, for humanity’s wide range
of frailties, cruelties, pride, greed and malice.
Almost every Christian has his thoughts focused on the Cross of
Calvary – the altar of sacrifice where the Sinless Lamb of God, laid
down his life as a ransom of our souls. It is with these thoughts in
mind that I invite you all to stretch your thoughts across the miles and
go even unto dark Calvary to witness this great sacrifice, which changed
the lives of so many who witnessed it. So may I place before you some
thoughts for your silent contemplation, as you keep your attention
focused on the Cross of Calvary – the emblem of Triumph and Victory to
Crucifixion was Rome’s punishment for slaves and criminals and was
the most agonizing form of death, where nails were driven through the
hands, head and feet and the victims were left on the crosses, hanging
for days in agony of starvation, insufferable thirst and excruciating
convulsions of pain. Death usually followed in four to six days, but in
Jesus’ case, it was all over in six hours.
Having gone through the most terrible nightmare of being arrested,
under the cover of darkness and being tried in the Sanhedrin, taken to
Pontius Pilate, to the Wicked Ruler King Herod and being made to suffer
all ignominy of being ridiculed, slapped, spat upon – Christ the Sinless
One remained speechless.
Pontius Pilate was just as cruel and merciless as the Roman Emperors
of his day, but one of the strongest pictures in history that Jesus made
was the impression he created in Pilate’s mind. There would have been
something about Jesus’ countenance and bearing so divine, so commanding,
that could not make Pilate to take His eyes off Jesus, although he was
dressed in robes of mock royalty, a crown of thorns on His head, and
blood streaming down His face.
Herod’s appeal for the release of Jesus seemed futile. He wanted to
chastise Jesus and send Him away, until he was shocked by the threats of
the mob, saying that it would cost his position as Governor of Judea, if
he did not consent to the crucifixion of Jesus that he would be the
enemy of Caesar. Isn’t it the same strategy with the world – We would
rather preserve our earthly positions than stand up and speak up for the
Truth – because we know that the result would be our own destruction, at
the hands of ruthless men. And now once again we stand on the arena of
the place of the skull called Golgotha to witness this great spectacle
of supreme love and sacrifice.
Jesus was scourged with a whip made of leather, weighted with pieces
of metal and lead, which tore the flesh off his back. After this heavy
torture, the soldiers took off the purple robe of mock royalty and put
on his own clothes and led him away to be crucified. Even at this
juncture, they ridiculed him saying “Hail King of the Jews” and stuck
His head with a reed and spat upon him.
Sometimes it is hard to understand as to why the Son of God had to
bear such inhumanity, when He had blessed the multitudes so much with
love, sympathy and peace of mind.
Where had all these virtues gone? Was this the gratitude Jesus got in
return? Don’t these thoughts flit across our minds too – when we think
of the treatment given to us by our fellow-men, our co-workers or those
in authority over us? This indeed is food for thought.
Jesus was made to carry His own cross. He fell underneath its weight
and as they were going, the soldiers forced a man named Simon to assist
Jesus to carry His cross. An ordinary man from Cyrene, elevated to the
high position of carrying Jesus’ Cross.
Jesus is crucified and is set up on the cross in the middle, with two
other malefactors, on either side. They were two criminals who were
guilty of murder, robbery and treason. Jesus was equated to them, the
lowest of the criminals and this due to miscarriage of justice. Barabbas,
a common thief and murderer released and Jesus the Sinless Lamb of God,
relegated to death on the cross. Amid all this confusion, we hear the
voice of Our Saviour Loud and Clear. “Father forgive them for they know
not what they do”. This is when nails were driven into His hands and
feet. They offer Him wine mixed with gall, to deaden the sense of pain
and stupefy Him.
Doesn’t this bring us to mind Jesus’ own words on the mountain
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute and shall say
all evil, in falsehood against you. Rejoice and be glad for year reward
is in kingdom of heaven. Isn’t this very much prevalent among us –
people accusing others, insulting others in falsehood?
Above Jesus’ head were inscriptions of Hebrew and Latin and Greek
“lesu Nazarinus Rex Indorum – This is Jesus King of the Jews” even at
this painful moment, the chief priests, elders and soldiers scoff and
jeer at him. They took Jesus’ seamless garment and just beneath His
cross, they cast lots for it that it might be fulfilled by the prophet
“They parted my raiment and on my garments did they cast lots”.
Time moves on and one of the malefactors, hanging on a cross beside
Jesus hurled insults to him saying “If you are the Messiah, save
yourself and us”. But the other thief who was penitent for his sins
rebuked the other and said “Have you no fear of God, we have got what we
deserved for what we did, but this man has done no wrong”. Then looking
into Jesus he said “Jesus remember me when you come as king”. Jesus’
reassuring words to him were “Verily I say unto you, today you will be
with me in paradise”.
The next few words Jesus uttered were to His beloved mother. Even in
that direst agony and pain, Christ’s concern for His mother was
unflinching. He hands her over to His beloved disciple John, where she
finds her abode and is cared for until the end of her days.
A sword had pierced the Blessed Mother’s heart, to watch her own dear
son on a bitter cross. Her thoughts of Jesus in His infancy would surely
have gone through her mind, just as any other human mother.
She would have washed those two little hands – now outstretched and
nailed to a cross and the two little feet which came running to her for
comfort being bruised and nailed to the self same cross. To those of us
who have been blessed with the highest honour of motherhood, have also
to bear the unbearable sorrow to see a loved one suffer. The reason why
Jesus said “Women of Jerusalem weep not for me but for yourselves and
your children”. Jesus’ words to His beloved mother is truly an
eye-opener for the children of the present generation, who are quite
comfortable after relegating their parents to Senior Citizens Homes.
Perhaps the darkness symbolizes God’s withdrawal, so that it be an act
of complete atonement for human sin. The world will never know what the
Son of God suffered during those last awful hours. It is at this time
that Jesus cried out “Eli, Eli lama Sabachthani” - My God, my God Why
hast Thou forsaken me.
In life’s vicissitudes, we have uttered these words many a time and
we find solace and comfort only through God’s Word and God’s Love.
Jesus’ last words I Thirst, It is finished and Father into Thy hands of
commend my Spirit are words of Triumph and Victory, which gives us
encouragement and a zest for Living Our Lives Anew.
Jesus’ thirst was not physical, but it was thirsting for the souls of
humanity who have gone astray. Jesus uttered the words “It is finished”
as a proclamation that His task on earth was accomplished. It is
finished! Christ Our King, Wins the victor’s crown of Glory, Sun and
Stars, recite his story, floods and fields His triumph sing Lord, whose
praise the world is telling, Lord to whom all power is given – By thy
death hell’s armies quelling, Bring thy saints to reign in Heaven.
The earthquakes, the veil of the temple rent, Christ’s pierced side
pours out water and blood, to wash our sins away, through this gruesome
and bitter death. Our eyes are still on the crosses silhouetting against
the sky of the dying day an the night settles on the blackest foulest
crime in History. These are the aspects I see when I survey the Wondrous
Were the whole realm of Nature mine, that were an offering far too
small love so amazing, so divine-Demands my soul, my life, my all.