Archbishop Banda’s Good Friday, 2018
Yesterday, at the close of the Last Supper celebrations, we accompanied our Lord into the garden of Gethsemane through the Kidron Valley to pray. Until midnight, we watched with the Lord in prayer.
Today, we stand at the foot of the Cross at Calvary; we now commemorate His passion and death, the events which usher us into His Resurrection. These events remind us that Good Friday is incomplete without Easter, and Easter is not possible without Good Friday. The two flow into each other. This movement in this single event of the Easter Triduum helps us to understand that all things happen for a purpose. Only with the eyes of faith, can we come to gain more insight into the mystery of God’s love for humanity.
A look at the Passion Narrative, we see the human pain of loneliness in Jesus as He endures His cross. No friendly gesture, nor familiar face, but a cruel environment and unruly crowd. Without doubt, a loving presence of His friends could have made a difference and consoling especially in that moment of evil and hostility. When all were chanting – crucify Him. What has He done – crucify Him. What is the problem – crucify Him. What is the alternative – crucify him.
God could have intervened in this brutal death of His Son. But God allowed Himself to be mercilessly tortured to death at the hands of mankind. This was to fulfill His plan of salvation. He so loved the world that He spared no effort, even sacrificing His only beloved Son, for the sake of humanity. Such is the love of God for humanity – where God endures rejection, pain, and even death. Only to show His superabundant power in the Resurrection. It is said: “Nangombe pabana taya.” This is to underline that rejection, pain, suffering and death are temporal. It is Love that endures forever.
Therefore, love even your enemies. I know it is not easy. However, the wisdom of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta holds true that: “If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love”. May the suffering of Jesus give us strength in overcoming our sufferings, our shortcomings, our sins and our weaknesses. May the Cross be for us a sign of hope and salvation as we die to our sins trusting that God will save us out of death and grant us new life in the Resurrection.