Emulate sacrifices of Calvary, says Bishop of Kohima
Kohima, April 3 (EMN): Along with the rest of the world, Mary Help of Christians Cathedral Kohima, commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary on Good Friday.
Parishioners sang hymns and chanted prayers while participating solemnly in the procession, which was guided by altar servers and volunteers who held a large wooden cross and pictures depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross.
Led by Rev. Fr. Jaison CJ and novices, each station was narrated in different Naga dialects besides English, Hindi and Nagamese by 14 participants before the faithful converged to the church from the campus.
The final blessing was invoked by Rev. Dr. James Thoppil, the bishop of Kohima, at the conclusion of the way of the Cross.
While delivering the sermon during the Liturgy of the Word, Thoppil reflected the passion of Christ while highlighting His seven last words from the Cross during the closing moments of His earthly life.
Making reference from Luke 23:34 (Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”, the bishop said while the crucified convicts would shriek and curse and spit at the spectators, Jesus, innocent of any crime against God or humanity was betrayed, arrested, scourged and condemned, did not.
From the cross, Thoppil said Jesus’ thoughts reached above His pain and rejection, adding that instead of being consumed with His own pain and misery, Jesus asked forgiveness for those responsible for the evil done to him – and by extension, for all who ignorantly go the way of sin and death.
“Jesus prayed for those who condemned Him, mocked Him and nailed Him to the Cross – and for all of us who from all the nations and down through the years would crucify him by their sins,” he said.
Thoppil further asked the faithful if they would follow the example of the repentant thief who, seeing the death of Jesus ‘was converted or go out of the Church unmoved and hard-hearted, returning to the world of sins and infidelity like the unrepentant sinner who died in his sins in the presence of the Lord of mercy and forgiveness’.
Referring to Matthew 27:45-46 (My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?), Thoppil said Jesus’ word of desolation teaches that “there is no despair so deep or evil so overwhelming or place so far removed from joy, light, and love. “Let us never lose hope of the mercy of a loving and forgiving God in spite of the number and gravity of our sins,” the bishop reminded.
Sharing that “Jesus’ cry was more than just welcoming the ending of pain or the joy of deliverance death brings,” he asked if Christians could die uttering the words like Jesus joyfully and gratefully in all sincerity who died by doing the will of God.
Thoppil reminded the believers to live in such a way to hear the welcome words of God, the Father, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). “On this day, without blaming each other we shall go home pondering the seven last words of Jesus, trying to live them in our daily lives and thus share in the victory of Jesus in this life and life to come,” the bishop concluded.
During the ritual, Novito Frederick and Secunda Kongari read from the Scriptures while passion reading was led by Mathew Tsathong as the narrator with catechists as people.