When did we see you naked? Good Friday Homily

When did we see you naked? Good Friday Homily April 7, 2023

Last Wednesday, I visited a man who told me about the terrible pain he feels in his bones.  Recently, he woke up with blood everywhere under his bed sheets – he explained that his bladder had exploded and blood leaked out everywhere.  The pain was unbearable.  He was rushed to the hospital.

He said that even though he’s in his 90s, he still longs for his mother, especially when the pain becomes unbearable.  He has been bedridden for several months now, and he is growing both tired and weak.  Yet, he thanks God that he is here, and is grateful for the visit.  When looking into his eyes, you see a man at peace who is more “on the other side” than on this side of heaven.

This gentleman does not get many visits, nor can he take pain killers because he is among some of our parishioners who are in prison.  He suffers quietly in the concrete floor prison infirmary cell, unknown to the world, and disconnected from his family.

“He was spurned and avoided by people, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.  Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.  Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days.”

The Suffering Servant described by the prophet Isaiah in our first reading, and the suffering servant Jesus Christ described tonight in Saint John’s Gospel, is a suffering servant that continues to manifest himself in our midst.  So many who suffer in loneliness or silently, and who have no one to comfort them.

I think of Jesus stripped of his clothes: left vulnerable and exposed to the world.  “Lord, when did we see you naked and clothe you?  Hungry and fed you?”

Jesus invites us not only to meditate on his pain and suffering on Good Friday, but to discover those in pain and those suffering in our midst.  How can you and I provide consolation?  Our hearts go out to Jesus in his need tonight.  We can respond in a concrete manner by allowing our hearts to break open with charity, and reach out to those in need in our midst.  Jesus is not hiding far away – he is here, waiting for us to recognize him in the lives of those who walk to Calvary here and now.


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