REMEMBERANCE Today is Good Friday
Christians all across the world will be contemplating prayerfully on the Passion and death of Jesus on Good Friday, today.
The suffering of Jesus is recounted in various ways through dramas staged and movies screened in various places to help Christians understand the painful experience he went through.
Two important spiritual services in Churches on this day are ‘The stations of the cross’ and ‘The Liturgy of the Passion of Jesus Christ”. ‘The Stations of the Cross’ is where people are lead through 14 points marked with the images that recall the various moments of Jesus’ passion from the moment of His condemnation to his death, with short reflections. ‘The Liturgy of the Passion of Jesus’ that takes place in the evening includes a reading from the Bible passage of the saga of Jesus suffering followed by a sermon. An important part of this prayer service is ‘the veneration of the cross’ where people come forward and kiss the cross.
Crucifixion we know was a severe punishment to criminals. They were nailed to a cross. There were many criminals who suffered punishment on the cross and so the cross became a symbol of suffering and shame.
But when Jesus was crucified unjustly and shamed like a criminal, the whole meaning of the cross changed. The cross became a sign of glory. It would be easier to understand this in the words of the scripture “Greater love has no man than this than he who lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13). The reason why we call this day ‘Good Friday’ is because we cherish the amount of sacrifice and suffering Jesus went through because of our sinfulness.
Even at the point for death Jesus taught us the importance of forgiving others when He forgave his executioners asking his heavenly Father to forgive them “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. Looking reverently at cross on ‘Good Friday’ we can say to ourselves “I asked Jesus how much he loves me and he stretched out his hands and gave his life for me on the cross.”
Archbishop Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras