1.Isaiah 52:13-53:12
2.Hebrews4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18: 1-19:42

                             " The crucifixion of Jesus"

Today we commemorate and reflect on the mystery of the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and its place in the divine plan of salvation. What we are celebrating today is of capital significance in the life of the church.

From the earliest times this has been a day of mourning, due to the painful crucifixion and agonizing death of our Lord. Many of the names given to it in the course of history draw attention to this mournful aspect. The official, name of Good Friday was attached to this celebration  1955 because it is the " Friday of Preparation for the Pasch." In the 3rd century, Good Friday was known as the Pasch of the Crucifixion. However, St. Ambrose called it " Day of Bitterness."

The symbol of the cross is found in the pre-christian and non-Christian cultures where it has largely a cosmic or natural significance especially denoting the four dimensions of the universe. However, among the non- Christian cultures in early history, the cross is an instrument of punishment for notorious criminals. As such, the early Christians until the 5th century generally avoided representing the body of Christ on the cross because both pagans and Jews saw an irreconcilable contradiction in the Christians belief that a crucified man could also be God. The early Christians were contended with displaying only the bare cross.

Thus, the cross which has been an emblem of atonment, an instrument of torture, a sign of punishment and evil, now becomes a symbol of victory, of redemption and of total destruction of evil. It represents a victorious concretization of supreme good and the finest symbol of the Christian religion.

It is pertinent to underscore that from the earliest days of Christianity, no Mass has been celebrated on Good Friday; instead the church celebrates the special liturgy in which the account of the passion according to John is read, a series of intercessory prayers are offered, and the faithful venerate the cross by coming forward and kissing it. And this liturgy concludes with the distribution of Holy Communion. In this celebration however,
- We listen to the words of scripture and strive to understand the true meaning of his suffering and death.
- We pray with his spirit for the needs of the whole world.
- We worship the cross as the sign of his triumph
-We enter into sacramental communion with him who is our savior and our life. In this connection, we can see that the parts of the Good Friday service corresponds to the division of the mass: Liturgy of the word, Intercessory prayers for the church and the entire world, Christians and non- Christians, 

Veneration of the cross, and Liturgy of the holy communion.
As we celebrate Good Friday, we are reminded that the human Jesus, struggling to come to terms with the reality of his predicament, echoes every human experience of suffering and of loss, moreover, it reflects the complexity and confusion of emotions that attend all those caught in the slipstream of pain, loss and death.

All who are suffering in whatever form this Good Friday, all who struggle to make sense of what, by any human estimate, seems to be senseless will find an echo of their pain in the suffering of Jesus because the contradiction of the cross is that what it represents, the suffering of Christ, continues to save and to heal and to comfort.

Contemplating Jesus on the cross brings comfort and resilience and strength to those who need it. And it reminds us that it is  through his suffering that everyone and everything is redeemed, that the power and the presence and promise of God are now accessible to us in our suffering and in our need. Contemplating Jesus on the cross reminds us that in our present frail and redeemed bodies we carry the saving power of God. Kiss the cross on Good Friday, not for God's sake but for your own.

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Chapisha Maoni