Good Friday Homily
Sister Anne Shepard, OSB
Could this death have been prevented? Could Jesus have lived longer and died of old age?
This death was not a result of a natural disaster or a medical, terminal illness. It was not the result of a random act of violence or an accident. Rather, this death was a deliberate exercise of capital punishment. The demise of Jesus was a result of one who chose to follow his conscience and do what he really believed the Creator God wanted him to do. He was criticized because he treated women like equals. He had as a model a gentle and bright mother. He was snared because he healed on a day of the week that was not in the rule book for the healing schedule. He was asked to cave into the status quo and accept power, money and land and he said "no thanks." The people he chose to serve on his official cabinet were ordinary citizens: people on the street, a range of costal farming and fisher folks, business people, siblings, merchants. If they came in as elite, they didn't stay that way for long. When threatened with physical violence, he didn't resist or fight back; rather, Jesus had neither patience nor respect for retaliation.
The powers of his day did not appreciate the simplicity or the direct services that Jesus and those in his band provided. The goodness was catching on, and the word of another way of living was spreading. Jesus and his followers broke bread, shared it, told stories, washed each other's feet and then kept inviting others to a life of goodness, non violence and compassion. Jesus was radically ordinary.
Some authorities in our day don't like the ordinary over the extraordinary: people thinking and acting on their own, living in community or praying daily and regularly. However, like the story we just experienced being proclaimed, God's goodness spreads and prompts us to stand up to the evils of the day with courage and with consistency. It may cost us our lives, but Jesus assures us today and in days to come, it is worth it.