"Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian Faith (CCC 463)." This is what defines us as Christians, that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. God has come close to us. Even though one would think that we would be grateful for a God who loves us so much that he became man for us, there seems to be a perpetual temptation to push God back up into the clouds, to turn Him into an abstraction, something vague and nebulous. We sometimes seem more at ease with a God who is distant and impersonal. I think this is why we sometimes find it easier to talk about "God" than to talk about "Jesus." "God" seems like a safe term. But "Jesus" or "Father" or "Holy Spirit" start sounding awfully personal.
Good Friday is personal. Last night, at the Mass of the Lord's Supper, we heard Jesus ask his disciples a question after he had washed their feet. "Do you realize what I have done for you?" This is a personal question. "For YOU?" This same question ought to echo in our hearts today. Today, we ought to hear Jesus asking us, "Do you realize what I have done for you?"
Do you realize that I--who knew no sin--became sin FOR YOU?
I was betrayed by one whom I had chosen as a friend FOR YOU.
Denied by another friend, FOR YOU.
Arrested, mocked, beaten, and scourged . . . FOR YOU.
I carried the weight of the Cross . . . FOR YOU.
I was stripped naked and humiliated . . . FOR YOU.
I endured the sorrow of my Mother seeing me humiliated and tortured . . . FOR YOU.
I had thorns pressed into my head, nails driven into my hands and feet, a spear driven through my side . . . FOR YOU.
I bled and died . . . FOR YOU.
The question that Jesus asked at the Lord's Supper is so important! "Do you realize what I have done for you?" Do you realize how much I love you? Do you realize that there is nothing that I would not do for you? Do you realize that I would do anything to save you? Do you realize that there is nothing you could ever do to stop me from loving you? YOU. FOR YOU. I love YOU.
In a short while, we will approach the Wood of the Cross and kiss it. May this kiss be a true act of love and devotion. May this kiss be one of sincerity and of tenderness. May it be our humble and simple response to the personal question that Jesus asks each one here today: "Do you realize what I have done for you?"