Good Friday Homily: It is Finished!

When we think of the word “victorious,” our mind goes immediately to celebrations that take place in life. We think of what transpires following a basketball or football game when the victorious team celebrates. We think of what takes place when a new born child arrives to a family that has struggled to get pregnant. We think of the celebrations that occur when someone is declared cancer free.

Those are victorious moments, filled with glorious celebrations, and moments of triumph.

Nothing, my friends, about this moment that we have arrived at tonight seems victorious. At first glance, nothing about that moment on Golgatha’s hillside seemed like a victorious moment.  Continue reading “Good Friday Homily: It is Finished!”

It is Finished

The scene was dark and disturbing. It was a complete contrast from how the week began. A week filled with so much hope, expectation, and promise, ended here on this hillside. A week that began with shouts of “Hosanna!,” would end at a place known as “The Skull.”

There weren’t many who gathered at this hillside where three people, two revolutionaries and the one from Galilee, were crucified. Among the witnesses were the Roman soldiers and religious leaders of the community who wanted to make sure the crucifixion of the one in the middle – Jesus of Nazareth – was carried out. Also there were some of Jesus’ followers, women and men, who risked their lives to be close to Jesus in his final hours. Continue reading “It is Finished”

We Cannot Stay on the Mountaintop

It was a big moment.

After some time spent together and witnessing amazing acts of healing and teaching, Jesus’ disciples are having an important conversation with Jesus. This wasn’t the usual conversation. Jesus asks his disciples a very direct and personal question: “Who do you say that I am?”

The question came after Jesus asked them about what the people saw in him. It was Peter who would speak for the entire group, as was the case many times in their three-year journey with Jesus. He announced that Jesus is, in fact, the long-awaited Messiah. The One who would redeem the people and establish God’s kingdom.

This was a big moment for the disciples and Peter. It signified that they were beginning to understand Jesus’ identity and the work he came to do, even if they didn’t understand fully what this meant. Jesus celebrates Peter’s affirmation by saying he would build his church upon his confession. He also takes the opportunity to further explain what his Lordship meant. Jesus said he must go to Jerusalem, be rejected, crucified, and raised to life three days later. Peter refused to hear this, which led to Jesus’ rebuke of Peter standing in the way of Jesus’ movement towards the cross.

Fast forward now six days later. That conversation and moment may still be fresh on the disciples’ minds as they approach Mount Tabor. This is the traditional setting for what Matthew describes for us in Matthew 17:1-9. What takes place is a high moment in Jesus’ ministry, and one that would leave his disciples amazed. Continue reading “We Cannot Stay on the Mountaintop”