So, when we do just that, we are left with some very interesting comparisons and contrasts, aren’t we?
Today Jeremiah shows the strain of bearing up under the attacks of his foes, those who have opposed his prophetic approach to the plight of Judah (the southern kingdom). While his opponents prophesied good times and relief, Jeremiah upbraided royalty, priests, and nation for their false worship and oppression of the poor and weak. He claimed that the Babylonians would soon attack, thus serving as God’s instruments of purification. “Let me witness the vengeance you take upon them,” cries Jeremiah.
How different from Jesus who not only goes to the cross “silent, like a lamb before its shearers,” but also forgives his enemies (gospel of Luke)! Today’s psalm relates more to Jesus’ final hours, doesn’t it?
It also connects with the portrayal of Jesus in what are called the “synoptic” gospels – Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Here the governing image comes from the Fourth Song of the Suffering Servant. Jesus suffers silently and undergoes anguish.
Let’s look for a moment at the gospel of John for the unexpected.
In the gospel of John, we recognize the same sort of bold yet humble rebuke from Jesus that we hear on Good Friday when the soldier slaps him: “If I have said anything wrong, tell me; if not why did you strike me?”
In John’s gospel, Jesus does not suffer silently, in fact his passion seems to take a back seat to his commanding presence. In fact, Jesus reveals the glory of God on the cross as he “reigns” there as King (INRI) and “hands over” the Spirit when he dies!
Amazingly, this is the conquering Christ whom the Church proclaims on Good Friday in the narrative of John’s Passion.
I would just like to underline how the sacramental system of the Church leans away from WWJD (What would Jesus do?) and more toward WICDN (What is Christ doing now?) How might this affect our celebration of Good Friday? What will it mean to encounter the Risen Christ then and in every liturgy? Happy Triduum!
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