Good Friday

Friday, March 29th


Is 52:13-53:12
Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Heb 4:14-16; 5: 7-9
Jn 18:1-19: 42


“…so shall he startle many nations, because of him
kings shall stand speechless.”
Isaiah 53:15

Good Friday is simultaneously the most painful and most powerful celebration in our Church year. As we accompany Jesus, we struggle to understand the mystery of suffering — especially innocent suffering such as his. Many explanations have been offered for why Jesus had to suffer. One of the most insidious is that somehow God willed Jesus’ crucifixion to make up for our sins. While Jesus’ death did overcome the sin (singular, not plural) of the world, it was not because God willed or caused it. Human beings caused it. Specifically, in the first century (as today), religious and political leaders used violence to preserve their own power.

Johannine scholar Sandra Schneiders, IHM puts it this way: “The crucifixion was a classic case of scapegoating, and Jesus is the paradigmatic scapegoat who enters freely into the dynamic in order to subvert it at its root and definitively conquer the Ruler of this world [Satan] on his own [violent] turf….” In this way Jesus exposed “the futility of this strategy [violence] for self-salvation.” God’s role was “to accompany Jesus in his self-giving and, by raising him to life, giving him back to those who killed him.” Thus, Schneiders concludes, God’s love “cannot be neutralized nor abrogated by our violence. Murder is our work from which this murder will finally free us.”


Jesus, help me notice the violence in my own heart and deepen my acceptance of your unconditional love.

Personal Challenge

Today I will visit and consider strategies
for subverting violence as a means of resolving conflict.

Sister Christine Schenk, CSJ
Cleveland, OH

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