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Homily for the Holy Friday



Higashimatsuyama Catholic Church
April 3, 2015; Holy Friday – The Passion of Our Lord

This is the day we should especially meditate on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ deeply. We don’t need a long homily because today’s liturgy is rich in content. I will tell you only a few points about today’s liturgy to help you with your meditation.

On Palm Sunday of this year, the Gospel according to Mark was read. All four Gospels describe the Passion of Jesus in detail. It is thought that the Gospel according to Mark was the earliest among the four Gospels. The Passion of Jesus left a deep impression on the eyewitnesses. Mark recorded the testimonies of eyewitnesses as faithfully as possible. On this Holy Friday every year, the Gospel according to John is read. The Gospel according to John was the last among the four Gospels written. It shows Jesus’ firm attitude on His Passion. Jesus said:
“My kingdom is not from this world.” “It is finished.”
By these words we can feel Jesus’ strong will to do God’s will.
People surrounding Jesus, such as the disciples, Pilate the governor, the priests, the soldiers, and the crowds fell under the control of their mad feelings of hatred, doubt, and jealousy under the tumultuous circumstance. Only Jesus kept His mental balance calmly. Just by watching this scene, we can have the impression that Jesus is truly the son of God. It seems that Pilate the governor, was deeply impressed when he met Jesus. Pilate couldn’t find any crimes in Him. He tried to release Jesus, but he yielded to threats of the crowds. “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor.” When Pirate heard these words, he passed Jesus into the hands of the Jews for his own protection. 

What did Jesus’ death mean? The Church finds the reason in the book of Isaiah of the Old Testament. Isaiah left us the Songs of the Servant. “My servant carried our diseases. He suffered for our transgressions, got the punishment, and was laid on iniquity of us all. (Today’s first reading : Isaiah 52:13-53:12)
The second reading from the letter to the Hebrews says : “He learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:8-9) Jesus’ Passion was for the salvation of all people. Paul the Apostle says that Jesus’ Passion is a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus for all who believe. (Romans 3:24) Jesus’ Passion was His suffering to save us sinners, and His death was for our atonement and redemption.

In today’s Grand General Intercessions, there is “a prayer for people who don’t believe in God”. We don’t have many people who believe in God in Japan. We desire to proclaim our faith to as many people as we can. For that, it is necessary for us to reform and renew ourselves. Today we are going to pray as follows : “May people know Your mercy even under difficult condition, and attain the joy of believing in the only true God, the Father of humanity, by seeing the good deeds of believers.”
Let us pray that we can make this testimony.




[All the Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition (NRSVCE), copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]


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