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 Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at 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 when an innocent man was condemned to death? What is good about a Friday when God was crucified, and a day when hope was 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, Christ put the devil to shame and defeated the power of death. 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, today, the barriers preventing the saints from entering the holy of holies were torn apart (Mt 27:51). Thirdly, Good Friday is the climax of our journey of salvation. Some scholars consider this day more important than Easter Sunday. This is because they feel that without it, the Christ event of Easter Sunday would not have been possible.
The term Good Friday, and the activities surrounding are captures in 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.” This Good Friday is suitable to accompany Christ with our sentiments and shed tears of compassion before the cross.
However, we must not be stock 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, and discrimination. 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. The reason is that we are still attached 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 need. Therefore, this Good Friday, Christ calls us from the cross to a total change. He calls us to be generous with our lives as he was with his for the sake of our salvation.
Peace be with you!