Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord ~ 7 April 2023 ~ Bible Readings for This Liturgy: I: Isaiah 52: 13- 53: 12; Responsorial: Psalm 31; II: Hebrews 14:14- -16, 5:7-9; Gospel: John 18: 1-19:42
This sacred and holy of days is, in many ways the dark night of the soul of the Body of Christ, the Church. It is the only day in which the joyful graces and gifts of the Holy Mass are not celebrated. In the midst of the Holy Triduum, we remember, we recognize Jesus is in the Tomb. Our sanctuaries are stripped. Only in the Altar of Repose is found the Holy Eucharist, the Body, and Blood of our Savior, our Lord, Jesus.
Attending the solemn time of our Good Friday Service, hearing the Scriptures proclaimed, and then sharing the prayers of Good Friday common throughout the worldwide Church prepares us to come and venerate the Holy Cross. Then the gentle reception of Holy Communion of the Body of Jesus fuels our anticipation of the Easter Vigil and our risen Lord.
To help us better know the truths and realities of this sacred time let us take the time, with Mary our Blessed Mother and prayerfully share the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. With Mary let us come to and focus on her Son bringing our spiritual roses for Him who suffered for us. And may our prayers also minister hope, peace and healing love to all who suffer, are imprisoned, persecuted or simply alone.
Christ’s Agony in the Garden: His Passion is here. Knowing well all it will bring He seeks the help of His Father, and His friends. His friends fail him but God sends His angels to comfort and bring strength. It was in a garden this all began with disobedience. It is in this garden the conquest of sin and death is affirmed.
Jesus Scourged at the Pillar: Betrayed and arrested Jesus endures the mockery of worldly justice. Condemned He is scourged in the brutal Roman way of intense punishment and humiliation the world had honed. Yet in the beating and scourging, by His strips we are healed.
Christ Crowned with Thorns: The King of the Jews, the King of Kings faces continued rejection and mockery from the forces of the world, of darkness. The Roman soldiers weave a crown of thorns and force it hard upon the head of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. As His head is crowned may we each bow our heads and hearts to receive the mind of Christ.
Jesus Carries His Cross: This earthly journey of love and faith Jesus began at Bethlehem is coming to a close. Struggling up the hill called Calvary Jesus carries His cross. But His Body is beaten and the abuse He has experienced causes Him to stumble and fall. The soldiers force a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene to help Jesus with the heavy wood. We are rarely aware of all the crosses others may bear. But may we be willing to help them with their crosses and to allow others to help us as well. And then may we better learn Jesus walks with us.
Jesus Christ is Crucified: First resting in a simple wooden manger in Bethelem Jesus now must rest on a hard wooden cross. The forces of evil rejoice in their proud ignorance of assumed victory. Creation and God’s angels weep as this great sorrow and darkness are experienced. But even in the darkness there is heard the promise and hope of forgiveness and God’s paradise soon to come. For all who trust and follow the Crucified it is realized, God is Forgiveness.