What Is Good About Good Friday?
Rdgs: (1st: Is 52, 13- 53, 12; Ps 30; 2nd: He 4, 4-16, 5-9: Gos: Jn 18, 1-19, 42)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
There are certain expressions that can present lots of difficulties at times. This is most especially when they sound or look ironical. In order words, saying one thing and meaning the other. Hence, we hear expressions like “beautiful nonsense”, “shameless boldness” and the likes. Also, I am reminded of one of my lecturer who some of us believed to be melancholic. If you encounter this man in the morning and innocently greet him “good morning sir!” The most probable answer you might get as his response and of course, with a very harsh and scaring tune is: “What is good about this morning?” As a result of this, most students used to pray not to meet him in the morning.
Like this lecturer of mine, most of us have asked this question: “What is good about this Good Friday? What is good about a day that someone was innocently condemned to death and crucified? A day that we are not to celebrate; a day we are asked to abstain from all the goodies of life; a day when God was crucified; a day when the hopes of those who looked up to Jesus as the Christ and Messiah were shattered; a day that everyone is expected to leave the church mournful and silent; and a day when the altar of the Almighty God is reaped of its beautiful decorations and laid bare. This question also reminds me of an inscription I once saw on the body of a rickety vehicle which reads: “do not mind what is written on me, just enter and you will be fine!” This brings us at least few inches close to the answer to this question. Good Friday is the Friday within Holy Week. The first shot at the question is that without this day (not doubting the power or the ability of God the Father to use any other means to accomplish his mission) perhaps, there would have been no salvation for humanity. This is because, had Christ not died, there would not have been washing away of our sins (John 16, 3; Rom 5, 8). So it is good because, it is a blessing in disguise. It is actually on this day that the devil was put to shame and the power of death was defeated. Hence, Paul asked: “death where is your sting, death where is your power?” (I Cor 15, 55). According to the Catholic Catechism: “Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men” (CCC 1992).
Secondly, it is on this day that the barriers preventing all the saints of the church from entering the holy of holies is torn apart (Mt 27, 51). Thirdly, it is on this day that the journey of salvation is actually instituted. In fact some scholars consider this day more important than Easter Sunday, for they feel that without this day, the Christ event of Easter Sunday would not have been feasible. The term Good Friday and the activities that surround it could be likened to one of the lines in the Exultet song during the Easter Vigil Mass which describes the fall of Adam and Eve as: “Oh, what a happy fall.” So, just as the fall of Adam and Eve helped in fulfilling the salvific plan of God, so also does the sacrifice and death of Jesu Christ on Good Friday not only help in fulfilling the salvific plan of God, but is, in itself the fullness and the highest point in this plan. It is a day when the “drama script” written by God is fully “directed and acted out” by Christ his Son. Even though on this day there appeared to be the absence of God by human reckoning, instead, God was fully present and somewhere beaming with smiles as his son accomplished his mission for the salvation of humanity. Indeed, it is a Good Friday!
Peace be with you!