We are right in the middle of the most sacred time of the Church year - right in the heart of it - and it's tempting to want to skip to the end - just like at Christmas.
There is always the temptation to get past all the suffering and death, and get to the good stuff - celebrating, candy, ham!
But tonight, we have the opportunity to sit with our Lord in the very darkest depths of suffering - the darkness of human sin. On this Good Friday we see the result of all our selfishness, pride, and greed. We see that sin has a price - and, before we celebrate because we have a God who loves us enough to pay that price Himself - we stop and take a hard look at how much that cost.
Look at the crucifix - that is love.
That isn't a distant God who winds up the world and then abandons it. That isn't a God who just came to teach us to be nice to each other.
Our God went right into the pit of despair that we made by our sins. Think about the story of the Passion that we just heard: the whole range of sin is on display. Jesus is betrayed by his friends; there is political and religious corruption; he is condemned though dishonesty; and, in the end, unconditional love was met with torture and death.
His suffering wasn't just the horrible physical pain inflicted on him that day - it was the weight of our sin, yours and mine. He took the full consequence of our rejection of God on Himself.
That is our God and that is what love looks like - sacrifice. "Without sacrifice, there is no love." (St. Maximilian Kolbe) If we are to have life, it is only through the cross - by laying down our lives out of love for God and love for our neighbors.
One of the last things Jesus said from the cross was, "I thirst."
Yes, he was almost definitely physically thirsty after all his suffering. And he was also ready to drink the last cup of wine for the Passover meal, completing the sacrifice that we receive in the Eucharist.
But Jesus' greatest thirst was for us. He desires our love to the point of death, and he desires us still. He is thirsting for us now.
Let's sit with that love and that thirst. Let's look at the cross, remember what he suffered for us, and say to him:
"Here I am, Lord. I'm not yet perfect, I'm not as holy as I can be, but I believe in your love. You died out of love for me. Please help me to live out of love for you."