Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the day when the Lord Jesus Christ, Our Saviour suffered and died for our sake on the Cross at the hill of Calvary just outside of Jerusalem. We remember this day when the Lord was condemned to die and picked up His Cross, enduring all the insults and torture, all the pains and struggles on the way of the Cross to Calvary.
And we call this day Good Friday despite all the terrible events and circumstances that happened that day in Jerusalem because we do not just focus our attention on what happened during those few terrible hours during which our Lord and Saviour laboured and endured all the sufferings. We have to see it as part of the greater purpose of the Lord’s efforts for our salvation, which is why we celebrate this Good Friday as part of the Easter Triduum and cannot be separated from yesterday’s Holy Thursday celebration of the Last Supper and also from the Easter Vigil and the Resurrection of the Lord.
For without the Resurrection, ultimately the suffering and death of Christ on the Cross is meaningless and empty. Without the Resurrection of Christ, then what happened almost two millennia ago in Jerusalem that day was just of a convicted man and criminal who was punished and condemned to die, and die a most humiliating and painful death on the Cross as how other dangerous criminals were punished by the Romans for their crimes. There would then be no reason for us to celebrate at all.
Instead, we know that today is truly a ‘Good’ Friday precisely because we know that the Cross and the death of our Lord was not the end of His earthly life, but rather the beginning of the Lord’s salvation for us all mankind. It marked the moment when the veil of sin and the tyranny of death were overcome, marking the reunion and reconciliation between God and mankind as symbolised by the tearing of the veil of the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem, signifying that God’s grace and holiness is no longer hidden and denied from us.
The Lord’s Cross has become a great bridge that spans the once great and uncrossable chasm that separated us from God, due to our disobedience and therefore sins against Him. Through our disobedience, we have been separated from God and His love, but then through the obedience of one Man, Our Lord Jesus Christ, mankind have been reconciled with God, and a new hope in a new life and existence in God has been born. This is why on this Good Friday we celebrate it as a truly good and blessed day for us all.
But, brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to take note that the sombre nature of today’s celebration and our emphasis on the sufferings and pains that the Lord endured on the Cross, as well as our veneration of the Cross of the Lord or the Crucifix is to remind us that Christ went through all that suffering and endured all of the pains He received for us all. We must not forget that all of His wounds and sufferings are caused by our own sins and our own shortcomings.
The Cross of Christ is a reminder of our own sins and our own rebellion against God, and by that same Cross, we have also been redeemed, through every drops of Blood that was shed from the Body of Our Lord and Saviour. The Lord gave us His life that we may live and not perish because of our sins. He has done all these for us because of His enduring and powerful love for each and every one of us, the love that exceeds even the darkness of our sins.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, through the Cross we have received this assurance of Our Lord’s love and providence, that we will enjoy His love and grace forever. No longer that sin and death will have any hold over us if we put our trust in Him completely and reject those sins that we have committed all these while. However, the allure of sin and the temptations of this world are indeed powerful, and many of us can easily fall again into those same temptations by which we have fallen into sin in the past.
Today let us all spend some time to reflect on our Lord’s Passion and suffering, His great love for us and how all of us need to change our lives for the better, rejecting the sins by which we have been separated from God. We have to be thankful on this Good Friday that the Lord had been so kind towards us, giving us this great and wonderful grace although we have been rebellious, disobedient and ungrateful over His many gifts, wonders and love.
As Christians, we are also called to follow the Lord and take up our crosses, carrying it with Him. What this means is that we must be ready for the sufferings and challenges that will be in our path when we commit ourselves to the Lord and live our lives faithfully as good Christians in our daily living. We must be prepared for the challenges and be ready to endure and yet remain faithful in the Lord. Now in particular, we know how we are living through this difficult moment and suffering, and many are despairing without hope, being sick and dying, separated from their loved ones and even having lost these loved ones.
We know that most people’s attention are now focused on the current pandemic that has been raging on for many weeks so far. We know how many people are living in fear and uncertainty, worrying about themselves and their families. Many have even become irrational in their actions, causing hurt to others in order to protect themselves, in hoarding goods essential for other people, in being racist and opposed to people of certain races and groups, blaming them for the current predicaments.
We know how this pandemic among other troubles we face have led us to worry and to fear of our future. But this is because we think that we are alone in our fight and in our struggles. For all these crosses that we have to bear in life, we must not forget that the Lord is in fact carrying His Cross together with us. The Lord is suffering with us all just as we suffer now. In fact, all of our sufferings are also His sufferings, all of our pains and struggles are also His pains and struggles.
Let us today entrust ourselves, our families and our whole world to the Lord, knowing that the Lord is suffering for us and with us, picking up and enduring His Cross and being crucified that all of us may survive and live. He has offered His own Most Precious Body and Blood on the Altar of the Cross as the offering to redeem us from our sins, and His perfect obedience had been heard, and by His wounds and hurts we are healed and made whole once again. Let us entrust our whole lives to God, and commit ourselves with a renewed spirit that we may truly be the people of the Cross, all those who have hope in the Crucified Christ, by Whose Blood and Sacrifice we have been saved.
Let us all fear no longer, be it the fear of diseases or pandemics, be it the fear of darkness and evil, be it the fear of uncertainty and sin, but instead, let us all be filled with God’s hope through the triumph of His Cross. We know that the Cross is not an end, but the beginning of a new glory and a new existence, freed from sin and evil, that as long as we fix our focus and attention on the Lord crucified, we know that in Him, there is sure hope for us all. May God bless us always, now and forevermore, and may He strengthen our faith that we may welcome the coming of Easter with true joy and faith. Amen.