In section: Prayers and Reflections


"Jesus does not resurrect for himself but for us. He wants to show us the way to resurrection," writes Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche.

Jesus dies because he loves. He loves his disciples but he also loves those who are killing him. Jesus is madly in love with all of humanity. He knows that by giving himself completely, he is offering life to others.

The death of Jesus is paradoxically fruitful. Jesus does not choose to die; rather, he chooses to love and it is this total, absolute, and gratuitous love that leads to his death.

I don’t think we can look at Good Friday without remembering Holy Thursday. On Thursday, at the Last Supper, Jesus takes bread and says, "Take this, all of you, and eat, for this is my body.” We recognize here Jesus’ desire to live within us, to be with us in our vulnerability. Then he kneels and washes the feet of his disciples. Only in the light of these two acts, these two gifts, can we understand Friday's death on the cross. The gift of love precedes Jesus’ death.

And finally, love is stronger than death. This is the mystery of Easter morning. Jesus does not resurrect for himself but for us. He wants to show us the way to resurrection - not only the resurrection of the body at the end of time, but also a progressive resurrection, like a slow and patient maturation in our daily life.

We need to recognize that Jesus invites us to be transformed men and women. We are called to let the seed of grace grow in us so that our ways of looking, our perceptions, our imaginations, our bodies, and our feelings are transformed. Little by little, we need to learn to look at others as God looks at them.

This is what faith is. Most of the time we look at others from our wounds, our fragilities, our fears. Our resurrection involves a very slow transformation in which the Holy Spirit gradually transforms our minds and our hearts so that we become genuine daughters and sons of God.

Jean Vanier

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