Entering Sorrow & Sadness

Entering Sorrow & Sadness - Good Friday

We call today Good Friday. Hopefully we reflect on why we call today Good. After all today is the day that God, in the human flesh died. The effect of our sin in the world is on full display, betrayal, abandonment, denial, mockery, beating, spitting, insults, gears, mob violence, and their full effect is the death of God. When we really enter into the reality of this day our hearts ought to be filled with sorrow and sadness. We can even have sorrow and sadness for our own sins.

And this is the proper response, but the reason that we call today Good is because it was not the end, Jesus conquered sin and death. Now for us, on today and other days where we are weighted down by sin and sadness, we know that we don't have to enter into the sadness alone, that Jesus can be with us in the sorrow and sadness that we feel. This is the key, when we enter into the sorrow and sadness of this day or the sorrow and sadness in our souls, we don't want to go alone. If we go alone we are overcome by its weight. We may lose sight of the hope, but if we open up our hearts and express the sorrow and sadness to God, it becomes prayer and Jesus is with us in that sorrow and sadness. He is there to strengthen us as we bear the weight of what we see and experience in the world, when we reflect on what we ourselves have done. Jesus is there to help carry us as long as it takes, and then He will be there to help redeem us.

For those who sin against us, we can seek consolation from Jesus, seeing how others sinned against Him, and He took the cross, embracing it, to lay out the path for their redemption. Even as they sinned, Jesus carried out the actions that would redeem and save them from their very sins. On the cross Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." Not easy. Not easy for us to pray for those who sin against us, who make decisions that impact our livelihood negatively, who damage and destroy what we have built and love. We still are to feel the sadness, we do not deny it, but offer it to Jesus to console His heart and say, 'Your passion is bearing this fruit in my life, may their conversion and repentance bring rejoicing to heaven."

For our personal sin, as we may be tempted toward shame and regret, we remember Jesus's agony in the garden. How Jesus knew the sins of the world for all time and took them upon Himself. That for each and everyone of our sins, they can be atoned for. So we look to Jesus in the garden, we see Him in agony, tears and sweating blood at the horror of what we do to God, one another, and creation. We see the strength and power of Jesus. We see His love and willingness to atone for all sins, even those of the hard of heart that don't receive the fruits of this love into their souls. For them their is sorrow that the grace meant for their justification adds to their condemnation. For us seeing this love may it impact us deeply, that we hear the words of Jesus, "Go, and sin no more." And let Him help us to live that.

For me I was able to have a powerful experience going to the Holy Land, and going up Mount Calvary. I was preparing to be ordained a transitional deacon. I had many worries and fears about my shortcomings and perceived failures and inadequacies. My spiritual director had encouraged me when I go there to Calvary to express all of them and leave them there at the feet of Jesus. The effect on me was to leave them there and see how Jesus had taken all of them to the cross and called me anyway. That does not mean that I still don't feel them, but it means that I do not fear them. I continue to surrender them to Him when I feel them. For me I had a powerful experience when flying on the plane back to the Unites States, there was a certain consolation that all of them will be taken care of and even used to give glory to God.

My encouragement for today, on this day that we call Good Friday, is to not be afraid to enter into the sorrow and sadness, but don't enter it alone, let it become prayer, that Jesus may reveal how He is with you to redeem you.

May God richly bless you!

-Fr. Jeremy


Again here is a video from last year, volume is a little low as I was just beginning to understand how to create films:




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