Peace be with you!

My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.

Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!

*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*

*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"


Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday Homily 2015

         To be honest, often times I don't like to think to about Good Friday, between the beating, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the blood dripping, the carrying of the cross, the nailing to a tree and watching someone die is not something I enjoy to think to about. I would much rather think about Easter, between the celebration of new life, the joy, the bells ringing during the Gloria, the flowers, and the baptismal font. There is the great food and the gathering of family and friends to look forward to; I would rather stay in this place. Maybe you prefer to celebrate Easter than Good Friday too. I have come to realize that there is something wrong with that way of thinking; I am trying to skip Good Friday and go right into Easter. I am trying to skip the Cross and go right to the empty tomb. Essentially I want to ignore the suffering and go right to the glory.
         In reality Easter means nothing without Good Friday, in fact it means nothing without Holy Thursday either. You and I can't celebrate the resurrection of Jesus if Jesus never suffered and died. You and I can’t celebrate the resurrection if Jesus never gave us his body and blood in the Eucharist. Our faith would be based on pretty shaky ground if we celebrated Jesus just rising after taking a nap. No Jesus rose after dying on a cross.
         I think it is easy for us to go right to Easter, to go right to the empty tomb, and to go right to the glory, we know the next chapter of the story. The disciples, the soldiers, the guards, the chief priests, the Pharisees, Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, not even Judas or Peter knew the next chapter of the story. Mary, the mother of Jesus, the two Marys, and the Beloved Disciple who were at the foot the cross they did not know the next chapter of the story. You and I do know.

         In the midst of the Passion and Death of Jesus, we are fortunate enough to see the victory to see the glory of cross. For others the cross of Christ is a symbol of weakness, condemnation, and death. But for us as Christians, the cross of Christ is a symbol of strength, honor, and life. The cross of Christ is the means of our salvation, it is the root of hope, light, and is the guarantee of eternal life. We are able to see that Christ’s dying on the cross destroyed death and that his raising restored life.
         At the beginning of this homily I mentioned that “Essentially I want to ignore the suffering and go right to the glory.” During this day, I couldn’t help but think about the suffering of my father. In January, my father Nabil passed away. For 45 days he was in a coma, I watched as he suffered or what I thought was suffering. The week of his death, I was so mad at God, why was my dad and my family suffering in this way? I couldn’t handle hearing one more person say “Nabil, open your eyes.” I just wanted him to die so that he could experience the glory of heaven, his resurrection, his Easter.
         And then I stopped thinking about heaven or why he was suffering, I learned to just be with him in his suffering. I thought of Mary watching her son’s Passion and death and not being able to do anything. There was nothing I could do for my dad to make him stop suffering. I couldn’t help him get over it or to take it away. I had to live through it. Rather, I chose to live through it. Maybe my dad needed to have another family member come see him or for another health care worker to care for him before he died. Maybe my dad needed to work something out with God or with himself before he died. I don’t know why he was in the coma for as long as he was, I only knew that I needed to be there and to live through it with him.
         Today we celebrate the cross of Christ. We celebrate the wood that bore our Savior, the wood that bore our sins, and the wood that bore our salvation. As we venerate the cross, we gather together in the memory of all of the living and the dead. We remember that suffering is not about getting over it, suffering is not about avoiding it, and suffering is not about taking it away. Suffering is about living through it. Know that unjust suffering caused by abuse, discrimination, or violence is not to be lived through or tolerated, but should be stopped and one should reach out for help.
         On the cross Jesus was stripped of his clothes, his arms were stretched out and his legs and arms were nailed to a tree; he was as vulnerable as one can be. He was in the total care of God the Father. When you and I carry our own crosses due to the poor choices we have made or due to the sufferings that accompany being human – we are vulnerable as we can be. We are called to live through those crosses and to be in the total care of God the Father. And who knows, once that next chapter of life begins, maybe those crosses or those moments of suffer, will be seen as moments of strength, honor, and life and will be celebrated and adored.

Good Friday Homily
April 3, 2015
St. Peter's Church
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad that you are blogging again!
Grace and mercy...