by Sr. Noeleen Mooney MMM Ireland 07.04.2023
As we continue our Lenten Journey and approach Holy Week, I found myself thinking of the adjectives we use in relation to this very week. We talk of Holy Thursday, Holy Saturday, and in between lies Good Friday. Why Good? After all, this is the day when Jesus, Son of God, died on the Cross.
Reading the accounts of this in the gospels, leaves us in no doubt about the awfulness of it. What happened to Jesus was the result of human resistance to, and a frightening rejection of, all that he stood for. We are told that He accepted it fully, as a consequence of remining faithful to what He had given his life to – a loving service of God and all people. His final words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23.46) assure us that He did not lose sight of His goal.
The liturgy of Good Friday is different to other days, because the Eucharist is not celebrated. In the afternoon hours we gather silently in the church. We listen to the Scripture readings. Isaiah tells us of the “man of sorrows and familiar with suffering” – and this helps us to face the suffering and evil around us. St. John tells us his version of the whole story of the passion and death of Jesus.
This is followed by the intercessions. We pray for the needs of the world, including the Church, the Pope, civic leaders, all Christians, Jews, those who do not believe, and all in special need.
Then comes the Veneration of the Cross. Our sense of touch is engaged as we queue to individually pay our respects to the Cross. \even in these days, having a tangible ritual on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday draws many people, and touches our hearts.
Finally, we receive Holy Communion. This is food for the journey, which we know leads to resurrection.
Then, as befits Good Friday, we depart in silence. Maybe ‘Good’ is the best adjective.