My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The Church gets excited again on the outset of the Paschal Mystery which the Vigil of Good Friday announces tonight. What we are beginning tonight will finish at Easter Vigil in a couple of days. It is going to be one long celebration spread over many hours. This is our Christian perception of Easter. Easter is not on next Sunday. Easter begins tonight. Tonight is the beginning of Easter Triduum or Paschal Triduum from which we draw the fullness of charity and life as we prayed in the opening prayer. Over next many hours we will accompany our Lord is his first Eucharist, Passion, crucifixion, burial, rest in the tomb and Resurrection. All these events were accomplished for us and for our salvation. “Jesus had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.” He washed the feet of his followers to show them that human greatness is not in bringing fire and brimstone from the sky. It is not in preforming miracles. It is not in ruling millions of people. It is in serving according to the pattern of “the Son of Man who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus drew those twelve men, and ultimately all of us, into the lifestyle he exhibited himself. The lifestyle of humility, charity and commitment. This lifestyle is not encouraged by our society as it wasn’t encouraged by the society the first disciples were to face. That’s why Our Lord has given us the mystery of the Eucharist: his Word and his Body and Blood to penetrate deep and hidden spaces of our soul so that we, in spite of our shortcomings, can deep down desire and strive for Jesus’ lifestyle in our daily dealings.
“Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father.” One day our hour will come to pass from this world to the Father too. In the Bible we find what the last day of the Prophet Elijah looked like: “Suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared.” How many of you would be keen to get in? Wouldn’t you think that the flaming vehicle could take you to that infamous blazing place we all dread? Maybe that’s why God doesn’t send such vehicles to pick us up any more but “When the fullness of time had come God sent his Son.” His Son loved us with the same everlasting love and he entered our human condition so profoundly that now “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My Dear Fellow Christians entering the Paschal Triduum. I invite you to enter deeply into the mysteries we are beginning to celebrate tonight. I pray for each of you, and please pray for me, so that we may emerge from that Paschal Triduum 2016 with deep faith that here and now God the Father has put you and me in Jesus hands so that day after day he may lead and support us to make of our own lives a passing from this world to the Father as people deeply penetrated and profoundly transformed by the Easter mysteries.
Thank God it’s Good Friday.