Good Friday, Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City
According to ancient tradition, on Good Friday, after the adoration of the Cross, in the late evening, a sermon is pronounced in the Cathedral Churches before the image of the Virgin of Sorrows, to whom the Christian people addresses its "condolences" for the death of her Son. This is the beautiful text pronounced in the Cathedral of Mexico City on the evening of Good Friday 2015. Mary, woman, Come home. Jesus, on the cross, told me that you are my mother, and to you he said that I am your son. I am torn by the pain, but I cannot imagine how great yours is. Mother! Allow me to take you in my arms. Shared pain is communion. I loved him too. I also love him. Come, come home. His words gave me life. Since that day, precisely at four o’clock in the afternoon, when the Baptist announced that he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is true! How much misery they loaded on his shoulders! At that moment, we did not understand the weight that he took upon himself. Yet, even then, he already looked at us with those eyes from which the light never disappeared. They were full of grace and truth. His eyes spoke of God. They were so much like yours. "Where do you live?" we asked him. "Come and see," he answered. In fact, we began to see. Nothing was ever the same after that. That is how the light flooded us and now somehow continues to be with us, despite the world’s darkness. We were with him all evening. Come on, Mary, come home. He brought us to the place where he was living. He came to dwell among us. Come, Mary. This is your home.
On the lake, one day, he called us. He said he would make us fisher of men. We did not really understand, but the force of his soft and majestic voice captured us. A daring and silent freedom entered into my heart, and it has never left me. His word is at the same time binding and liberating. Even when he mysteriously announced to us that cup he would have to drink, and we foolishly asked him for privileges, his confidence led us beyond our clumsy ambitions. He made us live in love. That festive love of Wedding at Cana: do you remember? That dazzling love on the mountain. That distressed love in the garden. That smiling love at the multiplication of the loaves. That intense love, when he washed our feet at the Last Supper. That persisting love, when he said, "Woman, behold your son." Do you know? He allowed me to rest my head on his chest...
Come on, Mary, let us pray together. Pain puts love in tune with prayer. Was it not from your lips and those of Joseph, the carpenter, that as a child he heard these prayers, the supplications of Israel' Did he not stammer them, as he imitated you and learned from you, he, who was always intimately united with the Father? How these phrases sound in his mouth, as if all humanity were expressing itself in him! No one has ever spoken like him. "Tears have been my food, day and night, while they ask me, ‘Where is your God'‘" Tears are my bread... Do you know this, woman? I saw him cry. I remember him on the mountain, looking towards Jerusalem. How he loved her! It was the same when Lazarus died. Standing before the tomb. Shaken by his awareness of death. And he raised him up! He also wept in the Garden. I even saw blood on his face. But, do you know? Shortly before during dinner, I also saw a tear running down his cheek. When Judas, the traitor, left the house. He taught us that those who mourn are blessed. For they will be comforted. Mother, I want to comfort you, and instead it is you who are comforting me. How can you smile at me so sweetly, while your eyes are full of tears? You are crying. I am crying. The city is crying. The fatherland is crying. All are mourning the many reviled disciples of your Son and mourning the many innocent people in the world. Yet, he was the most innocent of all! And "they continue asking me, ‘Where is your God'‘" Where is your God, Mary? Where is your son? Where is your child' What did they do to your son? What have they done to your child' What did they do to your God' "Oh! all you who pass by the way look and see whether there is any suffering like my suffering, which has been dealt me when the Lord afflicted me on the day of his blazing wrath." There can be no pain like yours, woman. Even if the sky opened, if the veil of the temple was rent, and if the earth trembled and shook, can these things be compared with your pain? All the sins of the world fell on him. Yet, your pain is different. In yours, there is no guilt whatsoever. Your son was born not of blood, nor of the desire of man. Your pain is pure. Only your pain is pure. Like his. When we suffer, there is in this at least a bit of responsibility. In your suffering, there is none. You do not know the grief for your own shortcomings. Therefore, you can also be an immaculate gift, and your tears bind you to the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish. He did not commit any sin. Yet, "He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed." Even your pain is full of grace. Your tears too save us.
Forgive me, mother. "We looked for peace, but there is no good, a time of healing, and behold trouble!" I cannot stop crying. "Tears are my bread..." My bread... "My food is to do the will of Him that sent me," he said. And he always acted in the presence of his Father. "Lord, show us the Father and we shall be satisfied", begged Philip. And he answered: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." And in truth, what our ears have heard, what our hands have touched, is what the Father gave us. The one you carried in your womb, whom you nursed and loved as a child, mother, the one who has sown in your heart with things you have always kept...! And now, Mary, where can we find the Father? "They continue asking, ‘Where is your God'‘." "Tears are my bread..." Bread! The noble wheat bread. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it does not bear fruit." Thrown into the soil, it fell in the garden, just as if the Father himself were preparing good bread with him. And then, he sprung up from the ground like a new plant. We saw this! He still captured our gaze. Life did not stop sprouting in him. The bread! Once again, he spoke of himself as bread. He told us that, unless we eat his flesh and drank his blood, we will not have eternal life. He told us that he was the living bread from heaven. At the Last Supper, he broke the bread, and told us that it was him. He bathed life with his tears. He told us to do this in memory of him. At that moment, he offered himself even before death! Then, when he was raised up before our eyes, we saw that he, whose bones were not broken, was drawing all to himself. Finally, the soldier pierced his side... and blood and water flowed out. In him was life. He was life. By his wounds, you have been saved. "Destroy this temple," he proclaimed, challenging them when they questioned his authority. "In three days I will raise it up." They all scoffed at him. But, do you know, woman? He was speaking about the temple of his body! That beautiful body that the Spirit wove in your womb. They have already destroyed it. We saw this with our own eyes. It was mercilessly desecrated. They executed him as a criminal. Yet, he accepted all of this without saying a word. Like a sheep he was brought to the slaughter. The Lamb of God! This happened at the hour when the Passover Lamb was sacrificed! The temple of the world witnessed the sacrifice. We saw it. He no longer looked like a man, did he? Yet, he is the most beautiful of men. From his lips flowed abundant grace. Behind the massed crowd insulting and pushing him, the nails and the thrust of the spear, and the cruel butchery, there is a hidden consolation that in fact encompasses all life and all of God‘s love. You warned him, did you not, Mary? You felt the breath of life that came from him in the instant when he yielded up his spirit! This is why your pain is so full of hope!
"Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, my savior and my God." Let us rest, Mary. Saturday is coming, with its dutiful rest. We will stay home. The tears that are our bread have tired our bodies. We could hardly go on. Bleary-eyed from pain, even our soul is exhausted, left in a deathly drought. "Hope in God, for I will yet praise him." Before Lazarus‘ tomb, having cried, his voice then thundered out powerfully. Hope in God, Mary, you will still praise Him. He is the salvation of our tired faces. He will redeem our toil, erase the sins of men, restore their dignity and send them His Spirit. We need you, Mary, for his absence is the beginning of the renewal of all things. The seed has died in order to give us life. Life died in order to make us His children. The truth fell silent, so that we may see with new eyes and believe. A new bread is being prepared. Now, the Church, our mother, is being born. She is also born with you, faithful as divine love. Let us sleep a bit, now as the dawn of the last day is breaking. "Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, my savior and my God."
Rev. Canon, Father Julián Arturo López Amozurrutia, Canon Theologian of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City.