Yes, I know Spring is just around the corner, but we are still in Lent. And I would like to talk to you about one of the holiest days in this sacred season: Good Friday.

I shall not dwell on the distressing details of our Lord’s Passion; you know them all too well. The bloody sweat in Gethsemane. The bloodless kiss of Judas. Caiaphas blasting Jesus for blasphemy. Pilate washing his hands of Him. A murderer released in His stead, and a crowd clamoring for crucifixion. The whips lashing His back, and the thorns piercing His brow. The cross on His shoulder and His shoulder on the cross. The darkness that covered the Earth and the darkness in Jesus’s soul. The last cry of Jesus: “It is finished.”

I shall not dwell on any of these because, believe it or not, there is something more important to consider: a vexing three letter word. Why? Why?

St. Paul tells us why. He says the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me. Every human being that ever lived can repeat these words. You and I, we can all claim that He died for me.

But still the question, why me?

St. Paul saw the problem. He tells us in the letter to the Romans, at the appointed time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for us, Godless people.

It is rare that anyone should lay down his life for a just person. Though it is barely possible that for a good person someone may have the courage to die. It is precisely in this that God proves His love for us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

And St. John echoes St. Paul when he tells us, “God so loved the world that he gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

But what is so lovable about us sinful folk that the Son of God should leave the glory of heaven, become human like us, be born in a stable, walk our dust for three decades, sweat our sweat and die our death?

Why should God love sinners, love man and woman who reject God with a curse, or pass God down the street in their neighbor, is ultimately hidden in the mystery that is God.

And we cannot explain why the Son of God drew our love by crucifixion. He could have saved us in so many simpler, bloodless ways. A single breath of Bethlehem’s breeze. The hidden years in backwater Nazareth. His baptism by John. His compassion. Your sins are forgiven.

Then why Calvary? Frankly, we do not know, and we do not know because we cannot fathom or begin to comprehend the three slender syllables of why?

In the first letter of John, God is love. God not only loves, God is love. That alone begins to make sense of Calvary. Out of a God-man pinned to a cross for sinners, for you and me. If God offers you crucified love, offers God’s son on a cross for you, the least you can do is accept it. Welcome the mystery, and move on from there.

The problem for us is the very word, love. It is so misused that it has lost meaning. Television and radio fill our ears with the word love. We have forgotten what Christ-like sacrificial love really is. The kind of love that was God’s when He gave His own divine son to die on a criminal’s cross to save me.

Some time ago, I gave a retreat for prisoners. Not the ordinary prison population, but people living with HIV/AIDS. On the altar there was a banner: “Love is all we have for now. What we don’t have is time.”

When it’s a question of what it means to be human, to be Christian, what makes the difference is love.

St. Paul put it another way to the Corinthians. He said, “In the end only faith, hope and love are left. But the greatest of these is love.”

Christ-like love is the one gift that can make our world more human, more livable. We must live Christ’s command: love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.

If we fail in this, we are living almost as if Christ had not made a difference.

And when the final judgment is passed on to me it will rest on one four letter word: Did you really love?

With that question goes the second line of the banner: What we don’t have is time. That’s true for all of us. Live this day as if it were your first day, not your last day. Each new day is a chance to be more Christ-like and to share the greatest gift He gave to us – Love.


3 thoughts on “Fr. Bob’s Greeting – March 2024 Enews

  1. The Story was overwhelming and meant so much. I feel that Jesus DIED for each of us. He had unquestionable LOVE FOE ALL. When reading Father Bob’s Conversation at 6:42 am, I could feel the Love from Jesus and what it meant to me. He didn’t need to go through so much torture but God and Jesus wanted to get the message of Love across…and for me he did.

  2. I have time, i.e., created by Him. I hope to have time in Purgatory, if and only if necessary; it is the place for the saved, but not yet ready for Heaven. Failing this, I’ll have time in Hell. N’est-ce Pas?

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