Indeed What A Good Friday! Jesus has cancelled Our Debt!!
Readings: (1st: Ish 52: 13. 53:12; Ps 30: 2-25; 2nd: Heb 4:14-16:5:7-9; Gos: Jh 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), Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life!”(Jh 3, 16) Today marks the summit of the Paschal Mystery. It is a Good Friday because today the Lord has paid the costliest price ever to be paid for the salvation and redemption of humankind and he has fulfilled his mission on earth. Today’s victory over the Satan the prince of darkness is a total knockout. Indeed what a Good Friday it is, when Jesus Christ cancelled our debt and asked us to walk away free!
Given the importance and the Magnitude of today’s celebration, the church invites us to first listen to the words of the scripture and strive to understand the true and real meaning of Christ’s suffering. Internalizing the word of God today will help us understand and appreciate the mind of Jesus in offering himself for our salvation. We are also called to pray earnestly with the Holy Spirit for most of our needs and those of our entire world. Of course, there is no better day to do so than today when the greatest sacrifice was offered to God. The blood has opened the doors of heaven and God is all ears and ready to listen all our prayers. He is ready to listen because his beloved in whom he is well pleased has accomplished his mission through faithful obedience even unto death as our second reading from the epistle to the Hebrews tell us today: “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal life to all who obey him.” He is ready to listen to us because his only begotten son has triumphed over the powers of this world that torment us.
Furthermore, in today’s celebration we venerate the cross, because it is now a symbol of victory rather than of failure, a symbol of love rather than of hatred and a symbol of victory rather than of humiliation and defeat. Finally, today we are called to unite ourselves with our saviour, through the sacramental communion. In all of these, the summary is that Christ has paid the price and as we depart sorrowfully, we have the hope that He himself will fulfill by the power of the Holy Spirit to us the promise he made: “I shall rise on the third day.” Today’s celebration seems ironical in that even though we are sorrowful, we still rejoice and call it a Good Friday. While the sorrow we feel stems from our human nature, the joy we feel stems from the spirit of victory made possible by the sacrifice of our Lord. The absolute truth is that something good actually happened to us today. This sorrow will be short lived in fulfillment of the pronouncement of the Psalmist: “Weeping may endure at night but joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30:5). Humanly speaking, on Good Friday we weep but shortly on Easter day our joy will be complete when we shall sing the great Alleluia.
On this Good Friday, Christ has first re-written our report and record by justifying us for salvation. He has broken the gates that barred us from entering the holy presence of God and shattered the bars of iron that locks out from divine presence. The good news is that we are free because “whoever the son of man sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36). However, it is important to note that this freedom equips us with a key or ticket to enter this gate of salvation having been justified. This key or ticket is our faith. We must step into this salvation without looking back. Making the right choice is up to us. Second, He has re-written the record of the cross from the symbol of a curse and death to a symbol of triumph and life. Hence reminded the Galatians just as this Good Friday reminds us that: “Christ has redeemed us form the curse by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: cursed is everyone who is hung on a cross” (Gal 3: 13). This is the reason we venerate the cross today because it is now a symbol of our victory over the power of the prince of this world. We venerate it because it is on it that Christ forgave all our sins, “having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the power and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col 2, 14-15). Upon this cross we were restored to our rightful position and so there is every reason to venerate it. Also, the cross today has become a symbol of love rather than a symbol of hatred because it is on it that the greatest love ever was expressed: “But God demonstrates his own love us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us” and “…for God so loved the word that he gave his only begotten son…” (Rom 5, 8; Jh 3, 16)
Peace be with you all!