Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

It is Good Friday.  Today we remember the Passion of Jesus Christ.  The day God died on the cross a horrible death to redeem all of mankind for all ages.  Death entered the world through sin and through death salvation would enter the world.

Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered greatly.  He was beaten, spat upon, mocked, humiliated.  He was made to carry a heavy cross for miles.  All this happened today over 2000 years ago.

How can we call it "Good Friday?"  Well there are many interpretations for this.  Some say it is a way of saying "God's Friday,"  others say it is meant to highlight the "good" of the salvific act on the Cross.  Nevertheless, the words are irrelevant.  What we must focus on are the events that took place.

God the Son became man, born of a Virgin and died on a Cross for all peoples.  Good Friday can be summed up as, "God loves us so much He would go through hell to bring us to heaven with Him."   How true are these words.  God did go "through hell" for us all.

Christianity is the only religion that has a deity that basically treats humanity as if it were His deity in a sense.  All other religions have the concept of God as this untouchable being all humanity has to fear, revere and never disobey.  However, in Christianity, God becomes one of us in all things but sin.  He teaches us directly, lives among us and dies for us.

I think this is one of the main reasons apart from God's providence on why Christianity spread so fast around the globe.  Natives of other foreign lands when they heard of the Gospel found in this God a genuine love and concern for all mankind.  Their gods requested sacrifices and violence, but the Christian God was the one who sacrificed Himself for mankind.  This is a strong message.  It separated the mythological gods from the One True God.  

Who would you worship?  A god that wants you to sacrifice children, men and women to appease him/her/it or a God who became human, lives among humans and suffered and died for humans?   I think the latter is more attractive.

The act on the Cross is True Love.  God loves us so much He would do the impossible to show it.  Atheism often mocks the idea that God cannot be all powerful because He cannot die - well He proved them wrong.  He did die!  God did die on the Cross... but He came back to life.   This shows that God is God and can do anything.  He is not bound by any laws or rules.  He is not bound by His own creation.

Today the Catholic Church holds the Passion of the Christ service.  It has 3 parts, the Passion read in the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and the Communion rite.  We read the Passion as it happened.  Then we venerate the Cross and receive Holy Communion from the Altar of Repose.  This is not a Mass.   No consecration of bread and wine takes place.

The entire Good Friday rite is simple but is beautiful.  It creates a sense of mourning - a sense of something serious took place.  Red vestments are used to show the shedding of blood.

Jesus died for all of us.  We should meditate on this.  We should recall the sins we often commit and remind ourselves that we caused Christ to suffer.  God is hurt and offended by our sins.  We must remember how much God loves us and return that love to Him by avoiding the things that harm our bodies and souls.

While Jesus carried a cross He fell a few times.  A man - Simon of Cyrene-  was taken from the crowd to help Jesus.  We can picture ourselves as Simon helping Jesus with His suffering every time we do the right thing.  When we confess our sins in Confession, when we repent and try not to sin again, we are Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus carry the Cross.

Which one are we going to be?  The Roman soldiers beating Christ up or Simon of Cyrene alleviating Christ's pain?

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