Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

The phrase “finding God in all things” or “men and women for others” are the hallmark phrases of Jesuit education. But there are many aspects of Jesuit Spirituality that are kept hidden from Jesuit college promotion such as the wisdom of the Third Week of the Spiritual Exercises. Obviously, promoting the Third Week of Spiritual Exercises is not a good marketing strategy because the Third Week is basically about the death of Christ. How many Jesuit universities would dare to advertise that one of their goals of education is preparing students for death? Nonetheless, most of the Jesuit Universities still require their student to take a number of courses in philosophy, under which the students are supposed to discuss death. As in Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates makes the astounding claim that philosophy is basically preparation for death.

Indeed, as the followers of Christ, we need to be prepared to face death because death is Jesus’ final enemy. Good Friday is the climax of the battle of Jerusalem. On this day Jesus wrestled and conquered his ultimate enemy, death. Jesus did not need to die if he did not want to. As God, nothing could happen to Jesus without His willing it. He chooses to die on the cross not because he is suicidal but rather there is no better means to save us. His death is necessary if the saving of mankind were to be accomplished. As a result, through His death, we have someone who actually dies with the power to raise us up and to atone for our sins. This is why Jesus’ death and resurrection is central in our Catholic faith.

St. Ignatius Loyola said when asked what he would do if he found out that he was going to die in fifteen minutes, “the same thing I have been doing.” What St. Ignatius knew is how the Cross of Christ transforms the meaning of a good death, and therefore the meaning of a good life. On this Good Friday, imagine that you are in the last fifteen minutes of your life. What would be the things that you would want to do in your last fifteen minutes?

April 3rd, 2015