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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

GOOD FRIDAY

 

 

On this day the churches are bare and empty in the liturgy we read St. John’s account of the passion, we pray for the needs of the Church and the world, we venerate the Cross and we receive the blessed Eucharist. We think of the death of Jesus on the cross. His death was a result of the courage of his convictions. He was not afraid to do the will of his father. He lived his life with a message of compassion, of equality and love. Jesus was often critical of those who lorded it over those who were less well off or who had little or even nothing at all. The cross of Good Friday is a sign and a symbol that all of us recognise, it is a sign of the completeness of the love that God has for each one of us. We need to show that we are a caring people showing the love of God to all those whose lives are loveless, to all who have nobody to care for them we have to show them that ours is an all loving and caring God. Today when we go up to venerate the cross we should allow the cross to move us to be better people. Consoling, comforting and challenging the people we meet with the values of Jesus and the Cross. The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. I am sure that the apostles and all the others who accompanied Jesus to Calvary would be completely amazed at the idea of all of us gathering here in 2012 to celebrate the events of the first Good Friday. It is an amazing thought how the faith has come down through the ages in every generation, right until the here and now of today.

In the silence of this day we will feel the emptiness of dying, and we will experience something of what it is like to be without God in our lives – the light that is Christ (lumen Christi) has gone out, and the encroaching darkness coming to replace it. The Liturgy of Good Friday takes us to this dark place. The image of the suffering servant, the cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” at the beginning of Psalm 22, and the reading of the Passion according to John – these things strip our minds of any trivialities and focus us on the great things god has done for us especially on the CROSS.

Today we stand at the cross for others who cannot be here. We stand here for those who cannot begin to fathom this day, for those whose own pain keeps them from being here and there are many who are suffering intolerable pain because of the abuse that has been inflicted on them by clergy and others who should have known better. We stand at the cross for those who do not know Jesus, and those who openly scorn him. We stand at the cross for those who have been exploited by others and for their exploiters. We stand at the cross for those who think life is an opportunity to get all one can. We stand at the cross for those who are in prison for their crimes, for those who fight on the field of battle, for those who are tormented by memories of war and terror. We stand at the cross for those who are dying at this moment that they may enter into the light of Christ in eternal life. We stand at the cross for those who cannot pray, for those who no longer believe, and for those who have lost all hope in God and man.

We kneel at the cross for ourselves and for the sins of the whole world that the Lamb of God will take away our sins and grant us peace. The Cross is stark in its portrayal of a suffering God, and yet full of meaning in its depictions of us and our lives yes we are all there in the cross.  Let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory. We should glory in the Cross of Christ for in it and in him is our salvation

How splendid is the Cross- of Christ!

It brings life, not death;

Light not darkness;

Paradise, not its loss.

It is the wood on which the Lord,

like a great warrior;

was wounded in hands, and feet and side,

but healed thereby our wounds.

A tree had destroyed us,

a tree now brought us life.

Theodore of Studios



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