THEME: “I THIRST” – FOR YOUR LOVE
(Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrew 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42)
Good Friday commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Based on the details of the canonical gospels, the Crucifixion of Jesus was most probably on a Friday (John 19:42). As a result of this, Christians since the first century observe every Friday as a special day of prayer and fasting. But it was not until the fourth century that the Church began observing the Friday before Easter as the day associated with the crucifixion of Christ. The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place in the afternoon. The ceremony is sombre. The pulpit and the altar are bare; and no candles are lit. The purpose is to create an awareness of grief over the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son. To many Christians, Good Friday is a day of sorrow mingled with joy. It is a time to grieve over sin and to meditate and rejoice upon God’s love in giving His only Son for the redemption of all.
LET US NOW REFLECT AND MEDITATE ON THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF JESUS
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Jesus’ forgiveness of others was radical and to a degree never seen before. While hanging on the Cross and enduring the cruelty of others, Jesus spoke Words of forgiveness. He forgave them in the midst of His persecution. This shows the depth of His tender mercy. It reveals He died not in anger or resentment, but in willing sacrifice.
Can you say these words? Can you call to mind the person who has hurt you and pray that the Father forgives them? Leave judgment to God and offer mercy and forgiveness.
▪ “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
What a consolation it must have been for the good thief to hear these Words. This man was privileged to be among the first to receive this gift of salvation won by Jesus on the Cross. Jesus offers us the same assurance. He offers salvation to us beginning today. And He offers it to us in the midst of our own suffering and sin.
Can you hear Him offer you this gift of mercy? Can you hear Him invite you to share His gift of everlasting life?
▪ “Woman, behold your Son.”
What a gift! Here, dying on the Cross, Jesus entrusted His own mother to John. And in so doing, He entrusted her to the Church and each one of us. Our Blessed Mother accepts this responsibility with great joy and devotion. She embraces us and holds us close; dear to her heart.
Do you accept Jesus’ Mother as your own spiritual Mother?
▪ “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus was not abandoned but He allowed Himself to feel and experience this complete loss of the Father in His human nature. He felt the deep experience of despair. Therefore, He knows what we go through when we despair. He knows what it feels like. And He is there with us in those times.
▪ “I thirst.” (Jn. 19:28)
What a meaningful statement. He thirsted physically at that moment for water to quench His dehydration. But more than that, He thirsted spiritually for the salvation of all of our souls. Jesus’ spirit still longs for this gift of salvation. He longs to call us His children. He thirsts for our love. (‘Whatsoever you do, to the least of my brethren that you do unto me’)
▪ “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.”
These are the Words we need to pray more than any. These are the Words of complete surrender to God. Prayer is ultimately about one thing. It’s about surrender. It’s about trust. Say these Words over and over today and let this perfect surrender of Jesus also be your surrender. Surrender means God is in control.
▪ “It is finished.”
It’s significant that He said “It is accomplished” as His last Words. What does this mean? What is finished? This spiritual statement from Jesus is one that affirms that His mission of the redemption of the whole world is accomplished. “It” refers to His perfect sacrifice of love offered for all of us. His Death, which we commemorate today, is the perfect sacrifice which takes away the sins of all. What a gift! And what a sacrifice Jesus endured for us!
My dear sisters and brothers, it is because we look forward to Easter that we endure Good Friday. It is because we desire the Crown that we accept the Cross. As we virtually venerate the cross, let us continue to reflect on Christ’s victory on the Cross and repeat with deep gratitude those words which the Church proclaims as we unveil the Cross: “This is the wood of the cross on which hung the Saviour of the world: come, let is adore him”.
FOR THE SAKE OF HIS SORROWFUL PASSION, HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD!