The Passion According to John

“It is finished” (John 19:34).
 
American author J.D. Salinger introduced the precocious Glass family in his stories. They appear regularly on a radio quiz show called “It’s A Wise Chlld.” In one episode, one of the children says that instead of giving a speech at Gettysburg, Lincoln, considering the number of casualties at that Civil War battle, should have just stepped forward on the platform and shook his fist.
 
The fact of Jesus’ death by crucifixion must have been such a shock to his followers that it is no surprise the first formal texts about his death took decades to form the core of the four Gospels. What was there to say in the dark interval between that terrible loss and the mysterious event of the resurrection?
 
Luke, in his Acts of the Apostles, has Peter say succinctly to the crowds: “You put the author of life to death."
 
How could such a thing happen?  God sends his beloved Son into the world to show us how to live, and the “world” rejects him. 
 
There is little need for a homily at today’s Good Friday services. We have the Passion according to John to focus our hearts on the mystery of God’s love for us while we were still sinners.  God rejects our rejection and offers us risen life with Jesus. But we must respond.  By opening our hearts to so overwhelming a love, we will open our lives to Easter.