The title ‘Good Friday’ does not seem appropriate. How can we call it good when we know what happened to Jesus? The readings tell us of a bloody, horrible crucifixion. The humiliation is overwhelming. It does not make sense. To try to explain, we have heard people tell us that because Jesus died for us, we are redeemed, which is good, but we feel a twinge of anxiety knowing that Jesus died for our sins. He had to suffer and endure all of this for us. How can we accept all this? How can we call it ‘good’?
The short answer: Jesus was in control. The entire time He knew what He was doing and why. Consider Christ the King. Jesus said He would lay His life down and take it up again. No one killed Jesus, He laid his life down for us. He even knew the time when He said, “It is finished.” Jesus, as King, dictated what would happen and when it would happen. He knew which questions He would answer, which questions He would offer no response. He knew the punishments He would have to endure. He knew which people would strike Him, humiliate Him, and would desert Him. Jesus laid down his life for us and then He rebuilt the temple in three days, that is, the temple of His body in the Resurrection. Jesus, as King, is in control.
Not only is Jesus King but also, He is the Priest offering the sacrifice. He sacrificed Himself as the unblemished lamb. Starting with Holy Thursday, He offered Himself in the bread and wine. Take this and eat, this is my body. Take this and drink, this is my blood. Do this in remembrance of me. His altar is the cross. The tabernacle His body. His arms opened wide on the cross to redeem all people. The priests continue to celebrate the sacrifice of the mass because of Jesus’ command, do this in remembrance of me. Jesus was crucified once but at every mass we take part in His crucifixion when we offer ourselves to Him.
God permits evil in the world, but evil never wins. Even in the darkest, most desperate times, God makes good come from evil. This Good Friday, as you listen to the readings, accept the scourging and mutilations that happened to Jesus, but then remember the ‘good’ that God brought about from the sacrifice of His Son.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen