Good Friday: The Day Of Salvation
Readings: 1st: Is 52, 13- 53, 12; Ps 30; 2nd: He 4, 4-16, 5-9: Gos: Jn 18, 1-19, 42
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today the church celebrates Good Friday. It is the Friday within Holy Week. As I reflected on today’s celebration, I remembered a certain man. If one encounters this man in the morning and greets him “good morning sir!” Depending on his mood that morning, the most probable and surprising response one might get is: “What is good about the morning?”
Like this man, most of us have asked: “What is good about Good Friday? What is good about a day that an innocent man was condemned to death? What is good about a Friday when God was crucified, and a day when hopes were shattered. What is good about a day that we are expected to leave the church in silence and sorrowful? These sentiments are natural.
The first answer to this question is that without this day, perhaps, there would have been no salvation for humanity. Had Christ not died, there would have been the no hope of salvation for us (Jn 16, 3; Rom 5, 8). So, it is good because, it is a blessing in disguise.
On this day, the devil was put to shame, and the power of death was defeated. Hence, Paul asked: “Death where is your sting, death where is your power?” (I Cor 15, 55). On this Good Friday: “Justification has been merited for us by the passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God. His blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men” (CCC 1992).
Second, it is on this day that the barriers preventing all the saints of the church from entering the holy of holies were torn apart (Mt 27, 51). Thirdly, Good Friday is the Climax of our journey of salvation. In fact, some scholars consider this day more important than Easter Sunday. This is because, they feel that without this day, the Christ event of Easter Sunday would not have been possible.
The term Good Friday, and the activities that surround it could be likened to the line in the Exultet of the Easter Vigil. It describes Adam’s fall as: “a happy fall.” So, just as the fall of Adam set God’s salvific plan in motion, the sacrifice of Christ on Good Friday is the climax of that same salvific plan of God for suffering and enslaved humanity.
On this Good Friday, we must remember the sufferings of Christ. This would help us to understand the degree of love that our Saviour has for us. Christ himself reminds us that: “No one has much love than the one who gave his life for others.” On this Good Friday, it is good to accompany Christ with our sentiments and shed tears of compassion before the cross.
However, we must not be stocked just in the memorial and contemplation of a passed act. Today’s celebration must help us realize that Christ continues to suffer in many of our brothers. There are many Christ that suffer hunger, cold, solitude y discriminations. Perhaps, we do not take note of them. So, our contemplation must help us see them.
Also, Christ is suffering and dying in each of us because we are still tied to many things that imprison us. We continue to be slaves of our sins, habits and weaknesses. So, we have not achieved the happiness we have aspired for. Therefore, this Good Friday, Christ calls us from the cross to a total change, and to be generous with our lives as he was with his for the sake of our salvation.
Peace be with you!