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His love forgives everything

Archbishop Thomas Wenski's homily on Good Friday 2019

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this homily during the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, celebrated on Good Friday, April 19, 2019, at St. Mary Cathedral, Miami.

There’s a Haitian proverb that says: Di “wi” pa monte mon. Roughly translated it means: Saying “yes” doesn’t get you up the mountain. In this proverb we see reflected the harsh reality of our human condition weakened as it is by original sin. In other words, since that first “no” uttered by Adam and Eve, it is difficult for us to be coherent in our decisions and commitments. We say “yes” but too often we live a “no”.

The history of our human race is the history of the innumerable times we have said to our God, “No!” This is what is at the root of every sin: It is to turn our backs to God and to live a “no” even though we had said at one time, “yes”.

The “no” which is the inheritance of original sin, the “no’s” that are the sum of our personal sins, had to be substituted by the “yes” of Jesus. He is the only Son of God who became our brother – a man like us in all things but sin. He became our brother so that in him and through the gift of his Holy Spirit we might become children of his Eternal Father.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski venerates the Cross during the Good Friday service at St. Mary Cathedral.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski venerates the Cross during the Good Friday service at St. Mary Cathedral.

Jesus says “yes” to the will of his Father. In fact, this was the whole purpose of his life – to do the will of the Father (which was to save us). For this reason, he came to earth and made his dwelling among us. Jesus lives for God; but he lives for God in a world that is – since that first “no” of Adam and Eve – turned away from God, a world in many ways turned against God. Now, if you’re living turned toward God and the world is turned against God, then you got to expect to find resistance and opposition. And Jesus found resistance and opposition. But he accepts to do the Father’s will – and accepts to do it to the end – to the point of giving his life in ransom for ours. He obeys his Father and goes up the mountain – Calvary – where he offers himself in sacrifice for our salvation.

Jesus does the will of his Father – and in doing so, he also teaches us to do likewise. He teaches us to pray: Father, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And what is the will of our Father? That we love one another. Jesus loved to the end. And from the altar that was his cross he teaches us what love is.

For Christ, love is not a mere sentiment. It is not some fleeting emotion. It is a decision, a commitment. It is saying “yes” and at the same time “going up the mountain.”

As we contemplate the crucified one, we see that love means to give of oneself, it means to sacrifice oneself. The one who loves always wishes to embrace his beloved. Christ, opening his arms on the cross, embraces all of humanity. Such is his love – his love endures everything; his love suffers everything; his love forgives everything.

Al hacer la voluntad de su Padre, Jesús nos enseña que debemos hacer lo mismo. ¿Y cuál es la voluntad del Padre? Que nos amemos. Jesús ama hasta el extremo – y desde el altar que fue la cruz nos enseña lo que es el amor verdadero. No es una emoción vaga y efímera – es una decisión, un compromiso – es decir que si y a la vez subir al monte. El que ama siempre quiere abrazar a su enamorada, y así Cristo desde la cruz abre sus brazos para abrazar a toda la humanidad. Tal grande es su amor – su amor aguanta todo, sufre todo, perdona todo.

This is the great mystery we celebrate today on a Friday afternoon we dare to call Good.

In our everyday reality we see how men, how we, seek after power – and this hunger for power has caused so much misery, so much pain in our world. Here we see that love is stronger than hatred, that life is stronger than death, that good does conquer evil. This is the history of our salvation – Christ saves us not through the love of power but by the power of love.

Jezi fe volonte Papa l; epi li vle pou nou fe volonte Papa l tou. Epi, ki sa ki volonte Papa l? Pou nou youn renmen lot. Epi, Jezi montre n sa renmen a ye depi lakwa. Pou Jezi, renmen se pa yon emosyon, yon santiman vag: se yon desisyon, yon agajman. Renmen vle di, di “wi”; men, yon “wi” k ap monte mon lan. Le n gade Jezi yo kloure sou kwa, nou we renmen di sipote tout bagay, li vle di, soufri tout bagay; li vle di padonnen tout bagay.

St. Rose of Lima says: “Besides the cross, there is no other ladder to heaven.” The road to glory passes through the way of the cross. For this reason, today we approach the cross and kissing it we cry out: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. By your holy Cross you have redeemed the world. 

Archbishop Thomas Wenski begins the Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord by lying prostrate in the sanctuary of St. Mary Cathedral.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski begins the Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord by lying prostrate in the sanctuary of St. Mary Cathedral.


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