This singular moment so long ago contained in it the hope of the entire world…
Reflections on the readings for Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (April 2, 2021): IS 52:13 – 53:12; PS 31:2,6,12-13,15-16,17,26; HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9; JN 18:1 – 19:42
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today is the second day of the Triduum – the three sacred days that extend from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper through His Passion and, ultimately, the celebration of His Resurrection at the Easter Vigil.
On this, the most solemn day in the Church calendar, it is most appropriate that we celebrate a liturgy unique to Good Friday. In place of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the ceremony consists of three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion. There is no consecration of the Eucharist. Rather, the Blessed Hosts that are distributed are those reserved from Holy Thursday’s Mass. Today is the second day of the Triduum – the three sacred days that extend from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper through His Passion and, ultimately, the celebration of His Resurrection at the Easter Vigil. They form the climax of the liturgical year. However, it is Good Friday that offers the time of greatest suffering and sorrow in centering on the Crucifixion and death of our Savior. The gift of the Mass that we have on every other day of the year is absent. Instead, we contemplate the actual sacrifice of Christ’s life that happened, once and for all, on a particular day almost two thousand years ago. During the Gospel reading we hear about the anguish endured over the hours from His arrest to His last breath. And the suffering was not only the brutal physical pain, but also the torture of betrayal and abandonment, mockery and loss of all He had. Finally, He gave up His life. And this singular moment so long ago contained in it the hope of the entire world for life eternal.
“So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross Himself, He went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews’” (John 19:16-19). The King of the Universe, the Son of God, the carpenter of Nazareth embraced an ugly and agonizing death to rescue us from the grave. If only we let Him.
Suggested missionary action: Today, let us thank God for the gift of faith and ask His help in sharing it with all we meet. If we really live as followers of Christ, we will reveal His compassion wherever we go.
Give with heart this Holy Week. Put resources in the hands of missionaries in the Pope’s missions who are serving the poor and battling COVID-19.