Friday, April 10, 2009

"Good" Friday?

Today, we have commemorated the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ. We remember his enormous sufferings at the hands of the Roman executioners while at the same time recalling that while they were the vehicle for his death, our sinfulness is the real cause. Jesus suffered enormously from his brutal scourging to the crowning with thorns and, finally culminating in his crucifixion. His death came slow and painfully. Why, then, do we call this day Good Friday?

Without this day, our salvation could not have been won! God willed that his Son give his very life in reparation for our sins. Jesus, even though he knew the kind of death he was to endure, accepted and followed the will of the Father completely so that we might have eternal life. No one in history before or since has ever made this kind of sacrifice for mankind. Good Friday thus becomes the gateway to eternity. We must remember, however, that Good Friday is not complete without the Resurrection on Easter. We cannot have one without the other. The suffering must come before the joy but when the joy comes, it will be Divine.

There is grave sadness in the hearts of the penitents on this day. True believers understand that it is we who nailed Jesus to the cross. It is we who spit upon him and propelled the cruel whip into his back. It is our sinfulness that pressed the ugly, stinging thorns into his head. And it is we who pierced his side only to be washed clean by his very blood. But because he followed his Father's will completely, we can claim joy as well. For those who do not believe, it is a near impossible task to understand how we can truly say this and mean it, bringing it to life in our daily existence.

On this day, a dark day according to the world, we Christians experience the light of Christ's love. It is a light that burns through the darkness of sin and eternal damnation, bringing us to the very gates of heaven. We now anxiously await the moment the gigantic stone is rolled away from the entrance of that new tomb allowing for the risen Christ to come forth in a glorified body. With that act, our joy will be complete and the sting of death will be no more!