During this podcast, Deacon Keating will offer his insights on the mystery of this Good Friday.
Here a few of his comments:
Deacon James Keating:
John is the one who gives us that famous line. It is finished. It is finished. What is finished? This creation, creation is finished. Everything after the crucifixion, the resurrection, everything after that is creation, a sort of groaning as Paul says, to catch up to what Jesus has already done, that perfect man, that perfection of God. And again, perfection is not as we understand it perhaps mathematically with no errors or faults, but scripturally, perfection is what Jesus said it was, be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. And then he contextualized that within the sense of welcoming your enemies, welcoming the other, welcoming those who are not you. And of course, that’s what Jesus was literally doing on the cross. He was welcoming those who were the enemy, who were not him, in other words, were against him, and this is what perfection is for the Christian.
On the cross, Jesus was the perfect man because he was the man who was forgiven, welcoming of the enemy, welcoming of the one who was literally killing him, and still not calling down his angels to destroy them, but actually welcoming the one who is killing into his own heart. As scripture says, “God has the sun shine on the good and the evil”, and that’s what Jesus was doing from the cross. He was saying, “You’re still welcome in me even as you’re killing me because I am love itself.”
And so as we meditate on Good Friday and on the crucifixion, we’re also meditating on our own dignity as Christians. We have, again, through the Holy Spirit, we have that spirit of perfection in us, the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of welcoming those who are not ourselves. In other words, to no longer live as extensions of our egos, but to literally be hospitable to the other, even the other who would hurt us through the process of forgiveness.
Obviously, great mysteries here that the Holy Spirit must tutor us in real life. We can always think about them and write about them and speak about them, but when it comes to living them, we really need the incredible combustible power of the Holy Spirit moving our will to actually welcome the enemy and forgive those who are hurting us. But it’s all there on the Cross. The perfect man, the forgiven man, the man who is in perfect harmony with God, all of those things Jesus is trying to gift us with as well.
Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.