Jesus Crucified – the Mercy of God par Excellence
First Reading: Is 52, 13-53, 12
Second Reading: Heb 4, 14-16; 15, 7-9
Gospel: Jn 18, 1-19, 42
Today is Good Friday. It is a ‘good’ day because this day God manifested His absolute goodness and infinite mercy for us in the most sublime way on the Cross. This being the Year of Mercy, from a mercy perspective, this day can be called The Mercy Day/The Mercy Friday. For, this is the day the Lord died for our salvation. This is the day the infinite mercy and the absolute goodness of God culminated in its perfect completion on the cross. Jesus, on the cross is God’s mercy par excellence!
The distance from Gethsemane to Calvary; the journey from the Garden to Golgotha, and the Way of the Cross, were all full of absolute mercy and goodness of God. The power of his integrity and goodness, propelled by his mercy and love, trembled and befell his antagonists in the garden of Gethsemane. They trembled and fell, for they sheltered themselves in darkness; their strength was in their weapons, and they were compulsively by animosity. Jesus’ revelation of himself as “I am he” (Jn 18, 5), comes as a ‘lightning’ shock in the darkness of their heart. Jesus’ revelation of himself comes with a double-dimensional ‘mercy.’ First, Jesus is ever mercifully concerned and caring of his ‘flock’ – his disciples – lest they be apprehended in the confusion of the darkness. Hence, he came out with the imperative: “Let these men go.” It resounds the famous liberation statement of mercy: “Let my people go.” Second, he is merciful to his antagonists that they do not have to struggle searching for him in darkness.
Jesus remains as the stronghold of mercy at the interceptor of opposite poles; as merciful care and protection, and as redemptive mercy. He was merciful to friends and enemies alike. For, he knew of himself: “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me” (Jn 18, 9).
In his absolute goodness and mercy, Jesus, touches and heals the cut off ear of Malchus, the slave of the high priest. He remains compact in his essence of mercy and love, and is moved to act in goodness even at the point of death. He is not afraid of death. He is ever concerned of life, and he promotes life in all love and goodness.
People who came with weapons in a mode of aggression to attack, conquer and destroy are confronted and touched by the mercy of God. God is ever merciful, however wicked we may turn to Him.
His silent submission to his persecutors was a powerful expression of his mercy and forgiveness. His compassionate look at Peter who denied him thrice, was a powerful communication of his mercy and forgiveness to him. His comforting words to the women of Jerusalem, was the expression of his lasting mercy and compassion for all.
Jesus remained merciful in the least merciful situation of the Cross. The earth rejected and discarded him, and so, he was lifted up on the cross. The heavens went silent. Yet, he uttered words of mercy and goodness. He promised paradise for the ‘good’ thief.
His care and concern for his mother and his love and trust in his disciple are expressed from the cross. He remains merciful and good to all.
Jesus’ prayer: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing,” was the most profound expression of his infinite mercy. He finds them ‘ignorant’ – not knowing – the truth, the path, the life, and pleads for their innocence. He ignores their wickedness and asks for their forgiveness. So mysterious is his love and mercy, totally indescribable and beyond comprehension.
Jesus on the cross is the living sign of God’s mercy. Jesus crucified and pierced is the eternal stream of Divine mercy ever flowing to the whole of creation. The death of the Messiah is the supreme manifestation of God’s infinite and unconditional love and mercy.
God is ever merciful. He is mercy Himself. He is mercy eternal. What about you? The sign of the cross, Jesus crucified, and the death of the Messiah pose a challenging question to you: “Are you merciful?” “Are you merciful to yourself and others?”
We are in the Year of Mercy. The Holy Father, Pope Francis reminds us that to be merciful to others, we need to be merciful to ourselves first. Drawing constantly closer to the prodigious love and mercy of God poured out to us through the sacrificial offering of His only Son Jesus, like the ‘prodigal son,’ is the only way to be merciful to all.
God’s mercy doors are ever open beyond all time-frames. The Pope and the Church invites and exhorts us to enter into the mercy of God through the love and compassion of Jesus crucified.
God’s mercy is ever ubiquitous and omnipresent. It is present with us and amidst us. A life graced by the Sacraments; sustained by the daily devotions; inspired and motivated by the Word of God; and strengthened and confirmed by works of charity and goodness, would be the signs that we are in God’s mercy and are merciful ourselves. Let this Good Friday fill us with God’s mercy and make us merciful to all.