Church of Jesus Christ of the Universe
7 April 2023
Isa 52, 13 – 53, 12; Ps 30; Heb 4, 14-16; 5, 7-9; Jn 18, 1 -19, 42
Today we have the Passion reading according to John. We have read the first reading of the prophet Isaiah where He perfectly describes what Jesus accomplished to show us His Love. Before He died, He said, “It is finished” (John 19, 30). He came to do what the Father had commanded Him and to whom He had replied, “Here I am”, and, “It is finished”; everything had to be fulfilled, as we have heard.
We worship Him on the Cross. You know that many religions find it unacceptable to adore a God who died on the Cross. Instead, it is obligatory for us to worship Christ on the Cross. If we cannot accept the Love that accomplished that extreme act, we cannot fully understand it. We will not understand how important we are to God, who loves us to that extent. It is an obligatory step. We do not enter the Resurrection if we do not pass through the Cross. Indeed, we cannot grasp such a great love that annuls itself in this way; however, when we understand this Sacrifice, we truly understand God’s love.
We know that life is God’s greatest gift, and yet Jesus sacrifices His life for us. He knew they would kill Him. He was sure that if He allowed Himself to be caught without saying anything and without reacting, He would be crucified; He knew He was going to die. The normal human reaction would have been to defend His life, to run away. I think that before certain difficult, painful transitions, we naturally think, ‘Who would truly want me to lose my life? Who wants this to happen to me? Who would ever want me to get sick?” Yet, in this conscious obedience to the Father lies the transition to life.
We have not heard it in Scripture, but there is a passage where the Apostles ask Him to run away and save Himself. He replied that He was going to save Himself by going to the Cross and that, if He did not do it, He would not save Himself. The Cross represents the greatest love that the Earth has ever seen and will never see again.
Love always leads us to sweetness and tenderness. Jesus demonstrated all this in His time here on Earth; He demonstrated His true Love by going to the Cross and giving His life for us and for those who have done wrongs, He who had not committed anything wrong. We know this, but let us try to let it descend to our hearts to understand the greatness of this Sacrifice. I will relate it to what I said yesterday: if we do not fully embrace Jesus like this, we may be baptised Christians, but we will not encounter LIFE. To encounter Life and welcome Jesus, we must know Him, and the Cross is an essential part of Him. There is no Jesus without the Cross, and there is no Cross without the Resurrection. We cannot stop at the Cross; all phases of the Easter passage must be gone through. We cannot go directly to the Resurrection.
The love of the Cross is pure love that only wants to love and give. This Love asks for nothing in return and never seeks to be repaid. Jesus loves and takes on our sins, and that is all. He enables us to choose freely. This is Love. He leaves us free but gives us the possibility to choose between good and evil and between life and death.
We have heard that all our sins and limitations are with Him on the Cross. Therefore, I ask God for me and you to make us aware that we have to believe that our sins are all nailed on the Cross and that we do not have to fight against our limits and our sins because Jesus took them upon Himself. When we believe this, the dynamics of the resurrection begins to work. By continuing to fight against our limits, we risk spending our entire lives dealing only with ourselves without going any further. Instead, we have to believe in His great Love that took on our limitations and sins and died for each of us.
When He was among us, He asked us to love our enemies and to pray for our persecutors. We regard our weaknesses and those of others as our enemies, but the commandment we have been given is, “Love them”. Just love them as best you can. Then, we will grow to the point of being able to love as Christ loved: we too will give our lives for the limitations of our neighbour; we will be willing to take on the limitations of others. Then we will walk in love. We will walk faster towards fullness if we listen to Him, share our thoughts with Him, try to direct everything towards Him and take every decision beginning from Him and going through Him. We will spend more time with Him than with our ego, and He will make us dream of a more beautiful and better world. This is the guarantee that we are transformed and will go beyond this world.
On this day, Christ descended into Hell and separated good from evil. Until His death, all was mixed up. He descended into Hell and gave us the first immense gift, which is Purgatory. He separated Hell and those who belong to Hell; He took those who were called to go beyond the Great Barrier, those who had to go to Purgatory for a time of atonement; He took the blessed and sent them to Heaven. That is the gift He gives us today. We say that He is now in the silence of the grave. He has not risen yet, but He has already descended into Hell. Even in the grave, He continues to work for man, and He always thinks of man. He also descends to our inner darkness.
Let us experience this from tonight until tomorrow, knowing that once again He descends into our souls to divide good from evil. He frees us from the things we are still trapped in, from our inability to choose freely and from the weaknesses, thoughts and ideas we still struggle with. He frees us from all this tonight if we want it, and He prepares us to enter the resurrected life tomorrow.
When you think about your age you may say, “I have spent many Easters, but I have not risen. I am always the same.” Yet, that is not true. If we experience this at every Easter, at every Mass, because every Mass is an Easter passage, then we can rise every time and come out of it as better people. It is a path that prepares us for the time when we must finally do this passage because, as I often repeat: we will all have to die. If we do not prepare ourselves for this transition, it will be very scary.
Therefore, let us prepare for the Resurrection with the deep peace that comes from knowing that God’s greatness chose to pay for us. His Love is so great that He will never abandon us. I am telling you this so that you will be conquered by this great love. How can we think of moving away from a God who loves us so much? How can we remember to approach Him only occasionally, when we need Him, and not always and for everything? That would mean that we have never encountered him.
Thus, tonight, let us stay again with the Most Holy Virgin Mary. She was capable of waiting for His Resurrection for all of us. She was the only one who believed and prayed to the end. Let us also unite in the belief that God is at work, right now, for us and for all humanity to free the prisoners. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
 See John 18, 1-19, 42
 See Isa 52, 13-53, 12
 He refers to his reflections of 6 April 2023, Holy Thursday
 See the Message of St. Francis of 17 September 2012, “The Pure Love of God”, published on our website in the category Messages
 See Mt 5,44; Lk 6,27-28