The afternoon of Good Friday presents the immense drama of the death of Christ on Calvary. The cross erected over the world still stands as a sign of Salvation and Hope.
On this day we remember when Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin and give us eternal life. The priest reads the passion of Christ in the Liturgy of the Cross Adoration. That day the Holy Mass is not celebrated.
In the churches, the images are covered with a purple cloth like the crucifix and the tabernacle is open as a sign that Jesus is not there.
The purple color in the Church’s liturgy means mourning. The image of the Virgin is dressed in black as a sign of mourning for the death of her Son.
Today the Eucharist is not celebrated throughout the world. The altar looks without a tablecloth, without a cross, without candles or decorations. We remember the death of Jesus. The ministers lay down on the ground in front of the altar at the beginning of the ceremony. They are the image of humanity sunk and oppressed, and at the same time penitent, begging forgiveness for their sins.
They are dressed in red, the color of the martyrs: of Jesus, the first witness of the Father’s love and of all those who, like him, gave and continue to give their lives to proclaim the liberation that God offers us.
How can we live this day?
This day the Church commands fasting and abstinence. It is customary to pray the Way to the Crosd and meditate on the Seven Words of Jesus on the cross. They participate in the Liturgy of Adoration to the Cross with much love, respect and devotion.
It is about accompanying Jesus in his suffering. At three o’clock in the afternoon, we remember the crucifixion of Jesus praying the Creed.
Words to Meditate by mons. Javier Echevarría (2004).
Today we want to accompany Christ on the Cross. I remember some words of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, on a Good Friday. He invited us to personally relive the hours of the Passion: from the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Olives to the flogging, the crowning of thorns and death on the Cross. He said: Linked God’s omnipotence by the hand of man, they take my Jesus from one place to another, among the insults and pushing of the plebs.
Each one of us must see himself in the midst of that crowd, because our sins have been the cause of the immense pain that befalls the soul and body of the Lord. Yes: each one brings Christ, being ridicule from one place to another. It is we who, with our sins, cry out for his death. And He, perfect God and perfect Man, allows it. The prophet Isaiah had predicted it: mistreated, he did not open his mouth; like a lamb taken to the slaughterhouse, like a dumb sheep before the shearers.
It is only fair that we feel the responsibility for our sins. It stands to reason that we are very grateful to Jesus. It is natural that we seek reparation, because to our heartbreak manifestations He always responds with total love. In this time of Holy Week, we see the Lord as closer, more similar to his brothers, men … Let us meditate on some words of John Paul II: Whoever believes in Jesus carries the Cross in triumph, as undoubted proof that God is love … faith in Christ is never taken for granted. The paschal mystery, which we relive during the days of Holy Week, is always current (Homily, 24-Mar-2002).
Let us ask Jesus, this Easter, to awaken in our souls the conscience of being truly Christian men and women, because we live face to face with God and, with God, face other people.
Let us not allow the Lord to carry the Cross alone. Let us welcome with joy the small daily sacrifices.
Let us take advantage of the capacity to love, which God has granted us, to achieve purposes, but without remaining a mere sentimentality. Let’s say sincerely: Lord, no more! No more! Let us ask in faith that we and all people on earth find out the need to hate mortal sin and to abhor deliberate venial sin, which has caused so much suffering to our God.
How great is the power of the Cross! When Christ is the object of ridicule and mockery for the whole world; when He is in the woods without wanting to tear off those nails; When nobody would give a penny for his life, the good thief —one like us— discovers the dying love of Christ, and asks for forgiveness. “Today you will be with me in Paradise” What strength does suffering have when it is accepted together with Our Lord! He is able to remove – from the most painful situations – moments of glory and life. That man who turns to the dying Christ finds the remission of his sins, happiness forever.
We have to do the same. If we lose the fear of the Cross, if we join Christ on the Cross, we will receive His Grace, His Strength, His Efficiency. And we will be filled with peace.
At the foot of the Cross we discover Mary, faithful Virgin. Let us ask Her, on this Good Friday, to lend us Her love and strength, so that we too know how to accompany Jesus. We address Her with a few words from Saint Josemaría Escrivá, who helped millions of people. Say: My mother – yours, because you are Hers by many titles -, that your love binds me to the Cross of your Son: that I do not lack Faith, nor the courage, nor the audacity, to fulfill the will of our Jesus.
Source: ACIPrensa.com / Catholic.net / Opusdei.es