Watch Good Friday Service
Excerpts from the English translation of Lectionary for Mass ©1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation, (ICEL); Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010. Chant Settings for the Adoration of the Holy Cross by Fr. Samuel F. Weber, O.S.B. © 2012 Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN 47577-1010 U.S.A. All rights reserved. Musical setting of Psalm 22 composed by Adam Bartlett © 2012-2014. Lumen Christi Simple Gradual © 2014, 2015, Adam Bartlett. All rights reserved. Music Reprinted and Streamed with Permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A-704305. All rights reserved.
Hear Bishop Peter’s Homily
Bishop Peter Muhich
April 7, 2023
He laid upon him the guilt of us all.
One of the temptations that we might have during Holy Week, as we observe these solemn Liturgies, is to think of them and the events that they proclaim as in the past. Today, especially, it might be tempting to see ourselves a bit removed from Jesus’ crucifixion. Afterall, we live halfway around the world and 2000 years later. Other people condemned him to death. He died at the hands of the Romans and some of the Jewish authorities. Others drove the nails into his feet and his hands. It is tempting for us to see ourselves removed from that situation.
I think it’s a very good thing that in our country, we have special permission to divide up the passion and to read it the way we just read it so that we all take a part. That helps us to realize that this is about us too, because the scriptures clearly proclaim that Jesus died for our sins. If that is true, and the church is always taught that, then we killed Jesus. It was our sins that caused his suffering and death. We are not removed for we are all sinners. So today is a sobering day for us once we realize, of course, that he died for our sins, and that should resonate deep within us. We are not removed. We share the guilt of his crucifixion.
Now, we can respond in two ways to that. We can respond like Judas who betrayed him. Who realized that he betrayed him, an innocent man, and he went off in despair and hanged himself.
Or we can respond like Peter who denied him three times and went out, realizing what he had done, and wept bitterly. But somehow, he repented of his sin and was able to come back into God’s mercy admitting what he had done, discovering that God loved him enough to forgive all of his sins and then become Christ’s chosen instrument to lead the church after his ascension. So much so that the spirit filled him, and he was able to preach on Pentecost this very truth to the Jews that were gathered there, three thousand strong, that they had killed Jesus, nailing him to a tree, that there was a way back for them. There’s a way back for us and it’s the message of repentance.
When you and I repent of our sins, the Holy Spirit has room to work and can enter into the situation of our guilt and shower upon us God’s infinite divine mercy. So today is not just a sobering day for us, it is also a day filled with hope where we realize that Jesus did this out of love for us willingly. Willingly he went for the cross, to the cross with our sins, that we might be freed from our sins and live a new life in him. Today we realize once again our part in his crucifixion and death but we repent with Peter and realize that we can also be part of being remade by Christ’s death and resurrection and live a new life.
The Spirit already lives in you and me if we’ve been baptized. We’ve been strengthened in his presence with the sealing of confirmation. And of course, every time we receive Jesus in the blessed sacrament and celebrate the Eucharist, the Spirit surges within us, recreating us. Helping us to live a new life. And so today is a mixture of sadness and hope because Christ died for you, and he died for me. Not just because we are sinners but because of his great love for us.
In just a moment after the formal intercessions for Good Friday, we pray for the whole world and the church, and all of the needs that we have as a people of God. We will have the chance to venerate the cross once again. Expressing our repentance, filled with hope for we have known the mercy of love of God poured out for us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our guilt was laid upon him, but by his stripes we were healed.