GOOD FRIDAY 2018 HOMILY – QUENCH THE THIRST! Reading: John 19:28-30
Jesus said, “I thirst.” The thirst of Jesus on the cross can be heard and responded to in two different, depending upon the relationship we desire to have with Him. It can he heard as a tortured man's cry for water after having been deprived of it for hours while undergoing abuse and torture. This would be the way of hearing that is common to the Casual Christian who feels sorrow for the Lord's suffering. And then there is the hearing of these words by the Committed Christian. This Christian hears Jesus thirsting and simply cannot stand by idle...they want to do something to quench his thirst. This interpretation is not my own, but comes from someone who spent her entire life seeking to quench the thirst of Jesus: St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
If you go into the chapel of any convent of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters which were started by Mother Teresa, you will notice that their chapels are very sparse and bare. But there always will be a large crucifix on a wall next to the tabernacle. And under the arms of the cross you will see the words, “I Thirst”. Mother Teresa said that those two words express the totality of her spirituality and are the very reason for the existence of the Missionaries of Charity: to hear and respond to the thirst of Jesus, which she interprets to mean a thirst for love.
Mother Teresa would often tell her Sisters to add their first names to those two words and experience what Jesus really meant by them. “Teresa. I thirst.” Put your own name there and realize that He thirsts for your love. Not the love of the impersonal large anonymous crowd of humanity for whom he died, but the love of each and every individual human being within that crowd. And so, I would think that this should make us stop and ask: How can I, living in 2018, quench the thirst of Jesus on the cross? Well...Mother Teresa is only too happy to tell us!
She would say that Jesus is really and truly present to us today in two very personal ways, but ways that require faith to see Him because he is hidden. Two different forms of Presence but only the One Same Jesus.
· He is present in the Eucharist, the reality of the Blessed Sacrament, hidden under the appearances of bread and wine.
· And He is present in the persons of the Needy and Poor, hidden under the distressful disguise of a suffering human being.
Mother Teresa taught that we can quench the thirst of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament by receiving Holy Communion mindfully and worthily, with faith and devotion instead of by habit and routine. Then once he is within us we can tell him of our love and entrust ourselves to his care. We can commune heart to heart, person to person, in a divine romance of the soul. And she spoke always of how we can quench the love of Jesus in the Needy Poor by ministering to them in whatever ways we can. She taught us to expand our understanding of what it means to be “poor” and to remember that loneliness, sadness and rejection are expressions of poverty that everyone can encounter no matter where they live.
She told us that all we need to do is hold up a hand and look at our five fingers to remember Whose thirst we are quenching when we seek to relieve suffering, because Jesus gave us 5 important words: “You did it to ME”.
· Do I really believe that Jesus thirsts for my love? That he loves me so much he embraced the cross so that I can be with Him for all eternity?
· Do I hear the cry of Jesus, “I thirst”? How do I respond?
· Am I Casual Christian or a Committed Christian? Which one do I most truly want to be?
The hope of Good Friday and the Promise of Easter Sunday is that there’s always the possibility of growth and change.