Good Friday - Word from John of the Cross
When Jesus had died on the Cross his dark night came to an end. When did his dark night began is hard to say. Certainly, it was apparent at the Garden of Gethsemene. There was his betrayal by Judas; but even before then Jesus was persecuted by his own after he healed the man who could not make it to the pool because others got in front of him (Jn 5:1-16 ).
Whenever this dark night for Jesus began, it affected him in his most intimate center. When this happens to us, it feels as though death would be a relief from the constant torment, a torment that cannot be reasoned away nor consoled by a dear friend or counselor. This was something like Jesus underwent in his dark night.
From an empirical point of view, Jesus suffering and death were no different from that of any other person's suffering and death. His death may have been provoked by him, the crowds, or just simply a mistake. In any case, it was just another human being's suffering and death.
From the point of view of faith, Jesus' suffering and death is the fulfillment of scripture, of God's plan for his Son and the human race. For John the Evangelist, Jesus' death was not a simple dcath of a man, but a triumph of the Son of God planned by God. For John of the Cross, Jesus' death achieved the reconciliation between God and the human race.
Whether you see in Jesus' death a victory over the world planned by God the Father; or, the reconciliation and union of the human race with God through grace, you are seeing the event of Jesus' death through the eyes of faith. This faith comes co us at Baptism and grows stronger or weaker as we invest our life in the reality of Jesus in deeds such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and accepting the crosses our own life hands us with faith, hope and love. God has given us the grace to see Jesus' death as salvific but he does not force it upon us to develop that grace. That he leaves to our freedom and our desire to be renewed in being born anew as children of God as John in his Gospel says: But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God"[ Jn 1:12 ].
Lord Jesus, to merit our return to communion with God, our Father, you accepted being emptied for our sake at your Incarnation and again at your Crucifixion. Grant, we ask, that we too may accept those crosses of our self-emptying in imitation of you and in order to participate in the divine life you have merited for us. We ask this in your name. Amen.