Good Friday; 2023
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt.16: 24 - 25).
“Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “we can.” (Mt. 20: 22).
Good Friday, a day to make a decision as to whether we will follow Jesus, take up our cross, and become a martyr for the sake of the gospel. We won’t be asked to climb Golgotha or be nailed to a tree of ignominy, but the theme of humility will be the same. The two disciples argued who would sit at his right hand when they arrived in heaven. Jesus answered with the above question. However, the cup of sacrifice, the scourging and ultimate death for the sake of the gospel and all it means will be theirs. If we reach out today with a quest for justice and belief in all that Jesus handed to us we certainly will drink the same cup; a cup of salvation.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41: 10).
“But if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” (1 Pt 2: 20 - 21).
Of all that we do, throughout Lent, through our prayers, fasting in our own manner, and give alms to whomever we encounter, we lack one thing; the answer to find and see the suffering of our fellow brothers and sisters who have not heard the call to “Come and follow me.” The apostles to whom Jesus asked the question of Can you drink from the cup I will drink? are given a choice to pick up their cross daily and follow him. That cross may come in many identities and to each the grace to pick them up will find us standing with the Savior at the Place of the Skull.
Crucifixion comes as a punishment. Ours should come as a reason to share Christ with the world.
Ralph B. Hathaway