Good Friday (Fr. Vinner)
WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY?
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Today the church celebrates Good Friday. There are certain expressions that present lots of difficulties at times. This is especially when they sound ironical. As I reflect on today’s celebration, I remembered one man. If you encounter this man in the morning and greet him “good morning sir!” The most probable answer you might from him is: “What is good about this morning?”
Like this man, most of us have asked: “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 goods of life; a day when God was crucified, and a day when hope is shattered.
What is good about a day that everyone is expected to leave the church mournful and silent? 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 attempt at the question is that, without this day perhaps, there would have been no salvation for humanity. This is because, had Christ not died, there would not have been the 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).
Second, it is on this day that the barriers preventing all the saints of the church from entering the holy of holies were torn apart (Matt 27, 51). Third, it is on this day that the journey of salvation is actually instituted. In fact, some scholars consider this day to be more important than Easter Sunday. This is because, they feel that without this day, the Christ-event of Easter Sunday would not have been possible.
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, also the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday helped in fulfilling the salvific plan of God.
It is a day when the “drama script” written by God is fully “directed and acted out” by Christ his Son. On this day, there appeared to be the absence of God by human reckoning. However, God was fully present and was somewhere smiling, because his son is accomplishing his mission for the salvation of humanity. Indeed, it is a Good Friday!
FR. S.Vinner HGN