Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Good morning. The Gospel for today from John doesn’t make mention of the exchange between the two thieves crucified alongside Jesus; this exchange between the thieves and Jesus is found in the Gospel of Luke. We recall that in the Gospel of Luke the ‘Good Thief’ makes a request, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." This verse from Luke’s Gospel always gives me cause to pause and consider my own relationship with God. This man, unlike his counterpart hanging at the other side of Our Lord, presents himself in a very humble, unassuming posture and in recognition of Jesus’ Deity he asks what each one of us asks of Our God, to share in the glory of heaven. Yet, dare we request such a thing? Is there even one among us who merits such? How often, like this thief, do we ask out of desperation or in response to what happens to be going on in our lives? Upon further reflection, I found myself considering the words of David in Psalm 8, “O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! You have set your majesty above the heavens! Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have drawn a defense against your foes, to silence enemy and avenger. When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place-- What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?” Indeed, who are we to presume to ask? Oh, sure we can perhaps suggest being innocent of any behavior like that of the thief, as if there were some type of gradation of offenses against God. Humility is the essential key to this whole conundrum. The opposite of humility, pride is the stumbling block and cause for the problem in the first place; it was pride that got the whole ball rolling with Adam and Eve. I so often see this thing with pride being the cause for couple’s sense of hopelessness in their marriage. Pride and the unwillingness to back down or compromise is the source of so many divorces and it begins with lacking the humility to ask for the help we need to make things better. The answer isn’t in being better communicators, or learning to better manage our finances, or any of those things the weekend marital retreat gurus suggest being the answer. No, the answer rests with seeking God, and in making His presence an ongoing part of our marital relationship. Humility is indeed the key to opening the door to having a truly fulfilling and loving marital relationship, the key to having a relationship that comes with having God fully in our lives. Jesus made it very clear that pride gets in our way and that we must have humility like that of a child to see our way, and the Psalmist David indicates that it is these childlike ways which will defeat our foes, that will enable us to overcome our prideful ways. How ironic that today we find the secular feast of “Earth Day” colliding with the most Holy Day of Good Friday. How ironic that many find themselves in worship of that very thing we wouldn’t have but for the One who created it, the One they choose to ignore. I cannot begin to express how disturbing it was for me to happen upon the Google® Earth Day icon this morning. That the folks at Google® consciously made a choice to choose the earth over God tells me a great deal about what the folks at Google® are most proud of. Yet, as I got to thinking about it, how appropriate that is, for Good Friday is indeed a day to remind ourselves of the need to be humble, and after all, the Latin root for the word humility translates as being “earth.” We can choose to celebrate Earth Day, but it would behoove us all to not have it get in the way of being mindful of what we should be most proud of—God. After all, God is the source of the earth. So, this “Earth Day” be especially mindful of from where it comes, and take time to cultivate its source, as well as the source of love and compassion. Let us humble ourselves before the Cross this Good Friday and ask for the humility we need to love more fully each day. Make a good day!

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