Good Friday                                                                                                                                                                          14 April 2017

His Greatest Suffering?

You can never get used to it completely.  But one thing a priest is called on to do almost constantly is to minister to people who are in pain, some of whom are dying.  It is a grace to do that, but it is very difficult as well.  That ministry does help you see the agony of Jesus in a different light.  He underwent great suffering for us.  He embraced our humanity fully!  In undergoing what he did he united himself with humanity through great human suffering, and perhaps the worst kind: that which we inflict on one another.  How fitting that to redeem you and me he went through all he did.

The suffering of Jesus was tremendous.  He was flogged with a horrific instrument of torture.  A crown of thorns was driven into his head.  He was made to carry a heavy cross the long journey to Golgotha.  He was stripped of his clothes.  He was nailed to the cross.  Tortured by soldiers, he was jeered by passersby.  He lived on in agony until he at the appointed time, and then gave up his spirit.  But, tell me, what agony of Jesus was the greatest?  In what did he suffer most?

I think that perhaps Jesus suffered most the mental and emotional and spiritual anguish that were his when he was abandoned by his friends.  They all ran away and out of fear refused to stand by him in his hour of need.  From their professions as fishermen or tax collectors he had called them to follow.  He spent 3 years with them teaching, slowly manifesting himself, sharing with them his ministry and his charisms, sharing with them his bread, his prayer.  That they might have his presence still when he was gone, he shared with them his body and blood.  But still when he was arrested and condemned, fearing for their lives they fled.  He was left alone.  Abandoned by almost all!  The pain he experienced in the face of that truth must have been grave!

Have you ever pondered how many still abandon Jesus today?  Think for a moment about Mass attendance in the United States.  Perhaps 40 years ago it was thought that 75% of Catholics attended Sunday Mass.  Then it was 60%, and a little later 50.  Today it is estimated that about 25% of all Catholics attend Mass each weekend.  What a slap across the face of Jesus, as Catholics choose to ignore his instruction to eat his body and drink his blood, and his invitation to partake so that they might have life in them.  A direct slap across the face it is!

One of my own worst fears is that too many Catholics who still believe have started slowly to do the same thing.  That is when people give themselves easy passes and skip Mass right now.  I have to cook for the family picnic tomorrow!  Aunt Sue is coming to visit and I have to entertain. There’s an important football game on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday is my day for camp chores.  The kids have a dance rehearsal.  There’s a hockey practice when we usually go.  I don’t like the music.  I’m tired of the priest.  He’s old and doesn’t say anything anyway.  Maybe they’re all true.  But is that really the point?

Setting aside for no sound reason the Lord’s invitation to share in his Eucharist is a slap across the face of Jesus.  It is a blow delivered still by those who abandon him today.  He suffered through the abandonment of disciples at Calvary.  His suffering then also came from the believers who walk away from the Eucharist and this intimate encounter with the holy, eternal God act now.  For their action is very much the same as the acts of those who scampered away 2,000 years ago!

How I pray that we as a Church wake up to the truth of what we are given and of what we sometimes refuse while many still have faith!

My Jesus, my faith is sometimes weak.  I have questions, I have doubts, I just don’t understand.  There are problems in this world I wish you would resolve.  There are roadblocks in my life I wish you would remove.  But through it all, I believe in you.  Jesus, I trust in you.  Make my faith strong!  Never, dear Lord, allow me to abandon you as so many have by setting aside your invitation to share in the Eucharist. 

You are the Bread of Life!  You have given me your body and blood that I may have life.  Above all let me treasure that gift and receive it worthily each week in the midst of the Church.  For those who eat your body and drink your blood in faith, the fullness of life is here among us.  With love for you and hope, again I pray, in Jesus’ Name.  AMEN!

Msgr. John R. Murphy

Visitation Rectory, Norfolk, NY

 

 

 

Past Homilies

September 8th 2013

September 15, 2013

September 22, 2013

September 29, 2013

October 6, 2013

October 13 2013

October 20, 2013

October 27, 2013

November 3, 2013

November 10, 2013

November 24, 2013

December 1, 2013

December 8, 2013

December 15, 2013

December 22, 2013

Christmas 2013

December 29, 2013

January 1, 2014

January 5, 2014

January 12, 2014

January 19, 2014

February 2, 2014

February 9, 2014

February 16, 2014

February 23, 2014

March 2, 2014

March 9, 2014

March 15, 2014

April 6, 2014

April 17, 2014 

April 27, 2014 

May 11, 2014

May 25, 2014

June 1, 2014

June 15, 2014

June 29, 2014

July 6, 2014

July 13 2014

July 20, 2014

October 5, 2014

October 12, 2014

October 19, 2014

November 2, 2014

November 16, 2014

November 23, 2014

November 30, 2014

December 25, 2014

December 28, 2014

January 4, 2015

January 11, 2015

February 8, 2015

February 15, 2015

February 22, 2015

March 1, 2015

March 15, 2015

March 22, 2015

March 29, 2015

April 3, 2015

April 5, 2015

April 19, 2015

May 3, 2015

May 10, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 24, 2015

May 31, 2015

June 7, 2015

June 14, 2015

June 21, 2015

July 19, 2015

July 26, 2015

August 2, 2015

October 18, 2015

October 25, 2015

November 1, 2015

November 22, 2015

November 24, 2015

November 29, 2015

December 6, 2015

December 20, 2015

December 25, 2015

January 3, 2016

January 17, 2016

January 24, 2016

February 14, 2016

March 20, 2016

March 24, 2016

March 27, 2016

April 3, 2016

 

April 24, 2016

May 1, 2016

June 5, 2016

June 12, 2016

June 26, 2016

July 3, 2016

July 10, 2016

July 31, 2016

August 14, 2016

August 28, 2016

September 4, 2016

September 11, 2016

September 25, 2016

October 9, 2016

October 30, 2016

November 6, 2016

November 13, 2016

November 27, 2016

December 4, 2016

December 25, 2016

January 8, 2017

February 26, 2017

March 1, 2017

March 5, 2017

March 12, 2017

March 26, 2017

April 2, 2017

April 13, 2017

April 14, 2017