Today's Gospel: John 18:1—19:42 - Good Friday of the Lord's Passion The image of soldiers arriving with lanterns, torches, and weapons makes the soul gasp a little, wrapped as the scene is in thoughts of betrayal, darkness, and fear. Even after falling on the ground at the words, these torturers do not understand His answer of “I AM.” Peter, keeping warm at the fire with the slaves and the guards, must be shivering, and not just from the cold. What will happen next? What will happen to the Lord? Will he lose his own life? Danger and terror are in the air. The cock crows. Pilate tries to avoid the decision, to turn it back to the Jews. Jesus tells him, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” But Pilate, still not understanding says, perhaps with sarcasm, “What is truth?” What supreme irony that the kingship of Jesus be mocked. First, He is scourged as though a common criminal. Then, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Creator and Sovereign of the universe is belittled. “And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed Him in a purple cloak.” “Hail, King of the Jews!” They scorned him and “struck him repeatedly.” I wince at the thought, but then remember that I am the one responsible for this suffering, this passion. It is for me, and for each of us, that He endured this horrible torture -- voluntarily and with an unimaginable love. Pilate had written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, “The King of the Jews.” When challenged, he stays with his decision to leave the inscribed truth. Perhaps at some level he did know. The truth of the inscription and the love of Joseph of Arimathea give faint, sweet comfort on this darkest of days. Jesus has died.


How can we better live our lives in the full awareness of the infinite love of Jesus, as demonstrated by His passion and death?


Oh my Jesus, I am sorry for what my sins cost You. May Your cross be ever before me.
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