Deacon John Cinya’s Homily for Good Friday 2019

By Deacon John Cinya, 8 May 2019
Deacon John Cinya during Good Friday commemorations at St Patrick's Church, Blacktown. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

 

Reverend Deacon John Cinya, Deacon, Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown.

Homily for the Friday of the Passion of the Lord in Year C 2019 at St Patrick’s Church, Blacktown.

Readings: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, Jn 18:1 – 19:42

19 April 2019

 

I have immigrated to Australia as a refugee, after experiencing violence and torture that cause sufferings, pain and death to millions of lives in South Sudan. Continuously, millions are still suffering and dying either displaced within the country or as refugees in the neighbouring countries. This suffering is felt by Pope Francis and many countries which are trying to help to bring peace in the country. Last week the world was surprised to see a direct action of Pope Francis kissing the feet of South Sudanese leaders in Rome after their two day spiritual retreat for peace and unity in the country. [1] The suffering of the people of South Sudan could not be ignored, and the whole world is also feeling the agony caused by the conflict and war that has been going on since 1955.

As St Peter’s successor, enough is enough; the Holy Father has asked the leaders as brothers – to remain in peace with a visible suffering. He bowed down before them in order to kiss their feet. It is a forceful image which cannot be understood except in the climate of forgiveness. The main idea is because the leaders have forgotten the suffering people of South Sudan. So, the Holy Father in relationships with the Christian brothers and sisters in South Sudan felt for their sufferings. He touched the hearts of the people that brought him too low for reconciliation and peace. Pope Francis, the servant of God was not afraid to humble himself in order to bear witness to the truth for his voice to be heard as an imitation of our Saviour Jesus Christ who died for us.

For us Christians, the message of the Holy Father has come close to us too on this Good Friday. We have listened to the story of St John giving us the Passion of Christ. The story revealed to us not only the pain and sorrow, but a narrative of a humiliated and violent death. We find it difficult always to comprehend when watching someone so loved to suffer, especially someone so good and innocent – in our family, faith community and in the country such as ours Australia.

Good Friday is the day which brings us close to the foot of the cross as a meaningful symbol of repentance, reconciliation, peace and love, and sacrificial offering of self for others – “It is better for one man to die for the people” (Jn 18: 14). [2] Jesus has humbled himself, moreover he was despised and rejected by his own people. He suffered and familiarised himself with infirmity for our sins; and without a doubt, he is the one from whom we conceal our countenance. He has suffered by deeply stricken struck down and afflicted for our human weaknesses and unending diseases. He incurred injury and wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our sinfulness; upon him was the punishment that heals us. [3]

Without a doubt, we hold firm with heartfelt the way of Christ’s dead. Truly, we can still ask many questions, what is good about this Good Friday? Is it the condemnation, scourging, crowning with thorns, mockery, coated with spittle and slaps, heavy cross and the long journey to Calvary, the frightening atmosphere of horrible Friday that ended with darkness in the middle of the afternoon, nailing to the cross, and dead on that dishonourable execution by hanging that brings to its finished? [4]

Good Friday is the time as Christians have come to the climax and pivotal point of human history with God. In spite of the violence details of the Lord’s suffering and death, this day is still good. God’s loving care is given to us for better and forever. We are healed, made whole and redeemed by his passion.

On Good Friday, it is only in the cross that we see the face of all those who are sufferings of God’s love. There is no greater love than that of a person who is willing to die for another, and the cross tells the story of the love.

On Good Friday, the cross is the symbol of the remission of our sins. When Jesus died, he took all our sins on himself on the cross, and so he conquered sin and the devil’s power forever. Whenever we see the cross, we should realise that Jesus bruised and crushed, died for our iniquities.

The cross is the symbol of humble self-emptying for others who are vulnerable. The cross leads them and all of us in our life’s journey of pain and sufferings. As Christ carries his heavy cross, he encourages, strengthens and supports us all the way through the eternal life.

The cross is the symbol of the risen Christ who promises us to love. He said, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” [5] Jesus knew that every message is completed, and he crowned and rewarded us with God’s glory. It is the time for us to bear our daily crosses – a pain. Sometimes, the pain come from our own human sources. Such as creating fear of hatred, domestic violence (a husband killing a wife, a son killing a mother or a father, a brother killing and a brother, a friend killing a friend), drugs and alcohol addicts, anti-social behaviour in the community, abusing the old and the young, refusal of refugee and asylum seekers, and the list goes on. This is a pain and is the cross. But the pain we suffer is not Christ’s cross unless we offer our suffering with his cross for our salvation. There is a need to recognise the true meaning Christ’s cross, so that we can always suffer for the pain of others. It becomes a sanctifying of sharing our blessings with others. Because we are standing with Jesus in baptism and receive his Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist- always his love is with us.

Finally, Good Friday is the time for us to pause and think of the meaning of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Let us reflect on how his wounds bring healing to many and how his death grants salvation to everyone. Therefore, the cross is the symbol of hope. In a few minutes to come we will venerate the cross with a kiss or some other gesture of reverence as an instrument of suffering that unlocked for us our salvation.

 

[1] See https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-04/spiritual-retreat-south-sudan-leaders-vatican-choose-life.html

[2] St Pauls Sunday Missal, Complete edition, 2012.

[3] St Pauls Sunday Missal, Complete edition, 2012.

[4] St Pauls Sunday Missal, Complete edition, 2012.

[5] St Pauls Sunday Missal, Complete edition, 2012.

View images from the Good Friday commemorations at St Michael’s Church here and St Patrick’s Church here.

 

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