Good Friday is a co-equal cornerstone of the Church. If the faith of Christianity blossoms in the joyous celebrations of Easter, then Good Friday is its necessary prelude. It is a difficult day to grapple with; we see the anguish of the crucifixion foretold in today’s reading from Isaiah, replete with wrenching language: marred, smitten, crushed, pierced. In our own daily travails, we may at times feel the world is taxing us in similar ways. The psalm challenges us to put our whole trust and being in the hands of God, a God who chose to take our own frailties and foibles upon Himself, as the letter to the Hebrews strives to remind us.
The Gospel reading from John outlines the whole trial, Passion, and death of Jesus, a passage that continues to shock and provoke us if read and listened to carefully. Good Friday is one Holy Day that will never succumb to the secular imposition of crass commercialization that threatens so many others on the calendar; the story, widely known throughout our culture, remains too stark a rendition. As Christians, we believe that the brutal punishment senselessly being meted out to a just man (which alone would make the reading difficult), is in fact being meted out to our God, a burden He freely bears for our benefit. The poet Dante writes that the worst type of betrayal is betrayal to one who is a benefactor to you. I myself ruefully reflect on the selfish or self-serving petty cruelties that my own wants or desires have caused me to inflict on others. If nothing else, this humbling passage is a call for the most intense reflection and repentance.
Lord God, You are the Truth that the powerful Pilate would not see, yet You were evident to the humble St. John and St. Mary Magdalene. On this Friday of your Passion and death, help us to feel the rays of Your Truth bring light to our hearts even in this darkest hour. We earnestly beseech You through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Michael Carter, ‘11, Edmundite Novice
First Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18:1-19:42
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website