GOOD FRIDAY is the most solemn day of the year, when faithful Christians morn the suffering and death of our dear Lord, and thank God for the salvation we have received through His Passion,
All through the night Jesus has been locked in the dungeon of the high priest’s house. Early this morning he was bought before a Pilate who transferred his case to Herod. Herod sent him back to Pilate who, sometime in the mid-morning, bowed to the pressure of the Temple leadership and the crowds, and condemned Jesus to a horrible death by crucifixion. In the late morning Jesus was taken by the soldiers through the city and up the hillside of Golgotha. By noon he is nailed to the cross where he hangs in agony for some three hours. He dies around three in the afternoon. He is taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb hastily before sundown.
Today is a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence. Whenever possible, Christians are urged to keep today free of work, of social engagements, of entertainment, and to devote themselves to communal prayer and worship.
At noon, the hour He was crucified, we gather quietly in our parish Church to celebrate the Liturgy of the Passion, the most important service on this day. In this Liturgy we first reflect on Jesus’ death on the cross by listening to the singing of the Passion according to St. John. We then pray for the needs of the world. To personally show our love for Jesus Crucified, we one by one come forward to venerate the crucifix with a kiss. Our hunger from this day of fasting is satisfied with Holy Communion distributed at the end of this liturgy.
Consider too how the apostles gathered that night together in fear and prayer reflecting on all that happened. In the same spirit we gather at 7:00 pm for Stations of the Cross and other prayers and meditations on the Passion.Our teens will dramatize the Stations as we pray. They do a wonderful job, and it is very moving. This service is not only for those who could not be at the Liturgy of the Passion at noon, but also for those who wish to wish to add another time of devotion as we in spirit weep at the tomb of our Savior.
I often reflect on how people morn the death of their loved ones, and take care to attend the funerals of every acquaintance. But on the Day that their Savior died for them, how many Christians act as if it were “just another day”, and make no effort to come to Church to attend His funeral – He who is their Friend, their Savior, and their God! How pathetically sad. Let it not be so with us. Comfort your Savior in His suffering by keeping this day with prayer, reflection, and penance, and make every effort, if at all possible, to gather with God’s family in church to worship God the Son who died for you!
Msgr. Douglas A. Raun
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish
1502 Sara, Rio Rancho, NM