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  • Nico Quintos

One of this country's best-known preachers, when very young, was asked to preach at the funeral of an influential businessman. He went immediately to the Scriptures to see what Jesus himself had said at funerals. He quickly noticed NOT what Jesus said but what he did.


Jesus went to a funeral three times. And in every instance, he broke up the funeral. He threw out the mourners from the room and raised Jairus' daughter from the dead, giving her back to her parents. At another funeral in the village of Nain, he touched the coffin of a young man during the funeral procession and said, "Get up!" and gave him back to his mother alive. And Lazarus, the friend for whom he wept, Jesus called forth from the grave and returned him alive to his sisters, Martha and Mary.


Jesus exercised power over death during his own life on earth at three funerals.


Jesus, who died for our sins on the Cross, has risen from the dead. The Father made him Lord of the living and the dead. And so, when we are united with the Risen Lord when we die like him, when we die to sin, God raises us to life in the Spirit.


We are united with Jesus through baptism. Every Easter, we renew our baptismal promises. In baptism, we die with Christ; we die to sin so that we might rise with Him. Our lives should be marked by a constant process of renewal and conversion, day by day, turning away from patterns of doing and thinking that block our relationship with God and one another and embracing the way of God, the way of love.


We are united with the Risen Lord, which means carrying the Easter hope and joy into every aspect of our lives. It means seeing the world not as a place of death and despair but as the creation of the loving God who has power over death. Are we bearers of hope in our families, workplaces, and communities? Do we treat each person with dignity as children of God?


At the end of our lives, Jesus makes our funeral procession a victory march through death to life eternal in our true home with our Heavenly Father.


Magdalen told Peter and John that the tomb was empty! Magdalen and all the apostles came to see that Jesus, the Crucified One, had been raised! He is the Lord of Life! Every preacher, famous and unknown, rejoices in proclaiming this good news.

  • Nico Quintos

Today, we stand in the shadow of the cross. Jesus suffered and died for our sins. And sadness is the dominant mood. Churches around the world are stripped of decorations, with an empty altar and the tabernacle door wide open, as if we are all mourning.


We feel betrayed by Judas. We share in Jesus' agony in the garden. We weep with Peter after his denials. We feel helpless and powerless during Jesus' trial. We are hurt with Jesus as he is nailed on the cross, and we mourn with Mary at his burial. And yet, paradoxically, we call this day "Good" Friday.


It is ironic that the events we commemorate are filled with suffering and sorrow, yet we refer to this day as "good." The term "good" in Good Friday reflects the outcome, the result, the eternal significance of the event on Calvary. Jesus had two options: either inflict on us the punishment we so deserved because of our sins or assume it. Jesus chose to assume it, to take upon Himself the weight of our sins. That's the goodness of this day. It lies in the ultimate act of love and sacrifice—Jesus laying down His life for us and opening the path to salvation. 


It is called Good Friday because, on this day, Jesus redeems us, offering us a new life by dying to our former selves and our sins. It is called Good Friday because, on this day, Jesus makes us good.


We live in a world filled with suffering and sorrow, a world where death abounds in the midst of life. Every day, we hear about death because of abortion, drug overdoses, suicides, hunger, sickness, or war. Yet, the outcome of Good Friday, the result of Jesus' love and sacrifice, solidifies our hope that life will prevail over death, that life is good, that life is worth living.


As we venerate the cross today, we embrace the complex emotions this day evokes—sorrow for our Lord's suffering, gratitude for his unbounded love, and hope in the new life he offers.

 

This Friday is called "good" because God is good. NQ

  • Nico Quintos

In the art field, artists, writers, and musicians have put to death in their works old forms of expression to give birth to new ones. Pablo Picasso in painting, T.S. Eliot in Poetry, and the Beatles in music.


In transportation, the passing of some means of transportation paved way for new and better means. From Horse-Drawn Carriages to Automobiles, from Sail to Steamships, from Railroads to Airplanes, and now, Electric Vehicles are introduced.


In our personal growth, some old structures, attitudes, and patterns of behavior have to die before we can assume a new way of living. 


Jesus says: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit."


The concept of needing to die to live more fully speaks to the necessity of letting go, of surrendering those parts of ourselves that are barren and unfruitful so that we may be transformed into a new creation, abundant in grace and goodness.


Just as the seed must give up its form to bring forth a new plant, so too must we allow certain structures, attitudes, and behaviors within us to "die." These may include our excessive attachments, self-seeking attitudes, our prejudices, our fears, and any number of habits that keep us from loving God and our neighbor fully.


But what does this process of dying to oneself look like in practical terms? It can take many forms, but at its core, it involves a sincere examination of conscience, a willingness to repent, and a commitment to change. It may mean challenging our preconceived notions or making sacrifices for the sake of others. It requires humility, courage, and, above all, trust in God's grace to bring about the transformation we cannot achieve on our own.


This dying to self is not a one-time event but a continual journey. Each day presents new opportunities for growth and new challenges to our willingness to let go and trust in God's plan. It is precisely through this process of dying and rising, of Good Friday and Easter, that we become more like Christ, who Himself was the grain of wheat that fell to the ground, died, and produced the abundant harvest of redemption for the world.


What needs to die in me so that I can bear more fruit? Where am I being called to grow, change, or let go? Pray for the grace to surrender those parts of our lives that are unfruitful, trusting that in dying to ourselves, we will rise to new life in Christ. NQ

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