Good Friday: Utmost Poverty, Utmost Love

“Crucifixion” by William H. Johnson

Even though he was full of divine power, Jesus believed that changing stones into bread, seeking popularity, and being counted among the great ones of the earth were temptations. Again and again Jesus opts for what is small and hidden and poor, and accordingly declines to wield influence.

His miracles always serve to express his profound compassion with suffering humanity. Never are they attempts to call attention to himself…. It becomes plain to us that God has willed to show love for the world by descending more and more deeply into human frailty.

The more conscious Jesus becomes of the mission entrusted to him, the more he realizes that that mission will make him poorer and poorer. And finally he hangs on a cross, crying out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Only then do we know how far God has gone to show us his love.

For it is then that Jesus not only reached his utmost poverty, but also showed us God’s utmost love.

–Henri Nouwen, Letters to Marc About Jesus

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