02Apr April 2, 2021. Good Friday

April 2, 2021

Good Friday

1st Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The humiliations of the suffering servant, who bore the sins of his people

See, my servant will prosper,
he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.
As the crowds were appalled on seeing him —
so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human —
so will the crowds be astonished at him,
and kings stand speechless before him;
for they shall see something never told
and witness something never heard before:
‘Who could believe what we have heard,
and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’
Like a sapling he grew up in front of us,
like a root in arid ground.
Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him),
no looks to attract our eyes;
a thing despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering,
a man to make people screen their faces;
he was despised and we took no account of him.
And yet ours were the sufferings he bore,
ours the sorrows he carried.
But we, we thought of him as someone punished,
struck by God, and brought low.
Yet he was pierced through for our faults,
crushed for our sins.
On him lies a punishment that brings us peace,
and through his wounds we are healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each taking his own way,
and the Lord burdened him
with the sins of all of us.
Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly,
he never opened his mouth,
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house,
like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers,
never opening its mouth.
By force and by law he was taken;
would anyone plead his cause?
Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living,
for our faults struck down in death.
They gave him a grave with the wicked,
a tomb with the rich,
though he had done no wrong
and there had been no perjury in his mouth.
The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering.
If he offers his life in atonement,
he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life
and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.
His soul’s anguish over
he shall see the light and be content.
By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,
taking their faults on himself.

Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute,
he shall divide the spoil with the mighty,
for surrendering himself to death
and letting himself be taken for a sinner,
while he was bearing the faults of many
and praying all the time for sinners.

Responsorial: from Psalm 31

R./: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O Lord, O faithful God. (R./)

For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken. (R./)

But my trust is in you, O Lord;
I said, You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and persecutors. (R./)

Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
all you who hope in the Lord. (R./)

2nd Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

We have in Christ a great high priest who understands us fully. By his sufferings he accomplished our salvation

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Gospel: John 18:1-19:42

With dignity and strength, Jesus goes the royal road to Calvary

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfil the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” (This was to fulfil what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.) Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.” Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha.

Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, “The King of the Jews,” but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfil what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

All Completed and Fulfilled

The dying words of Jesus were, “It is accomplished” “Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” This was the crucial moment that links us all with the divine mercy of God. “In the beginning was the Word.” Then at the end of his earthly life, the Risen Lord breathed on his followers, to share his own Spirit with them. The fourth Gospel links this gift of the Holy Spirit with the whole creative process as told in the Book of Genesis. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Gen 1:1); and “On the seventh day God had completed the work he had been doing” (Gen 2:2). “He blew into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7).

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? .. As the song says, it causes us to tremble when we hear those dying words of Jesus “It is accomplished!” Something wonderful was accomplished, completed, achieved to the uttermost, engraved forever on the memory of his followers. “I have come to seek and to save what was lost.” This was his stated purpose “not to be served but to serve.” His life ended on a rocky hill outside Jerusalem, with a final act of self-surrender to the Father, on our behalf. It was a unique moment whose fruits go on forever.

The moment of his death is sacred in the hearts of all who trust in him, as the foundation of guaranteed contact between us and the mercy of God. The self-giving spirit of Jesus as he left this world is poured out and handed on to us. It is through his sacrifice on our behalf that all is consummated. His cross offers us the grace and mercy of God, whatever our state may be. As Joseph Mary Plunkett wrote, back in 1916, I see His Blood Upon the Rose.

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

On the eve of his execution Joseph Plunkett found in Christ the key for coping with his own cross. The memory of the passion helped him find God’s presence everywhere, and especially when called to share in the cross of Jesus.

All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

Yet the saving power of the cross needs to be welcomed and absorbed by each of us and then adopted into our lifestyle. The Lord calls us in turn to bring his love and compassion to bear in our lives, reaching out to others as he did, to bring them into the warmth of God’s grace and mercy.

Jesus dies with the words “It is accomplished.” This Gospel beings with the words “In the beginning” and in John 20 we are told that the Risen Lord “breathed upon” the apostles. These details remind us consistently of Genesis 1-2, where “In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Gen 1:1); “on the seventh day God had completed the work he had been doing” (Gen 2:2); blew the breath of life into his nostrils, (Gen 2:7). The evangelist is teaching us “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17).

Not for God’s sake but for your own

Calvary sets in consoling relief the experience of all who suffer, whether the nightmare of physical pain or the emotional trauma of significant loss or the prospect of imminent death. The human Jesus, struggling to come to terms with the reality of his predicament, echoes every human experience of suffering and of loss and reflects the complexity and confusion of emotions that attend all those caught in the slipstream of pain and loss and death.

This Friday, in homes and in hospitals all over Ireland, those who experience pain and desolation in whatever form, all those who like Mary stand at the foot of the cross, will sense something of the complexity of emotions that were present on Calvary: the same confusion, the same disillusionment, the same desolation, the same anger, the same reproach. How many indeed this Friday will, in whatever shape or form, echo the great lamentation of Jesus as he died on the cross: My God, what have you done to me, answer me?

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 sufferings of Jesus because the contradiction of the cross is that what it represents, the sufferings 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. (from a Good Friday reflection by Brendan Hoban)


3 Responses

  1. Joe O'Leary

    This captivating performance may be regarded as Dutch impertinence, an offence against German musical tradition and the sacredness of the work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7ECsfEEF2M

    But the staging wonderfully invites one into the sublime world of the music and of the Gospel as the casually dressed singers seem to emanate out of the audience (and some non-singers are mixed in with the choir, further promoting identification across the categories).

    The dialogue is not stiffly given to two sharply divided choirs but becomes a real questioning into which we are drawn: “Come, ye daughters, help me lament, Behold! Whom? The Bridegroom. Behold him! How? Like a lamb. Behold! What? Behold his patience. Behold! Where? Behold our guilt. Behold Him, out of love and graciousness, Himself carrying the wood of the cross.” The boys singing the chorale are not etherially distant but up front and down to earth: “O guiltless Lamb of God, Slaughtered on the stem of the cross, Always found patient, Although thou wast despised. All sin hast thou borne, Else we must have despaired. Have mercy upon us, O Jesus.” The polyphonic lines are luminous and lively, and the entire movement has a cumulative dramatic force and unity.

    This is eloquent preaching of the Gospel, and suggests some brooding on the promise of a Christian future for the Netherlands: https://www.statista.com/statistics/519963/population-of-the-netherlands-by-religion/

  2. Thara Benedicta

    Key Message:
    There is a wound suffered by our Lord Jesus to clean each and every sin in our soul.


    Let us reflect the passion of Jesus in our daily life:
    1. Let us meditate on Jesus sweating blood in the garden of Gethsemane. Blood is oozing out from the pores of His skin. His hair, face, moustache are sprinkled and covered by blood. Blood sprouts from the veins of His neck. His hands and body are sweating blood. Tears are flowing from His eyes, drawing lines on face covered with His blood.
    a. Who is there to wipe away His tears and sweat of blood?
    b. Is there anyone with Him to convey two comforting words?

    Reflection:Is there anyone in our own family or institution or place of work being unnoticed? Is there any one who is not capable of expressing their own self? Are we suppressive? Is there any Jesus who is struggling for want of care and comfort our midst?

    2. Our Lord Jesus was betrayed by Judas: Jesus, who took care of His disciples like His little children, was betrayed by His own.
    Reflection: Are we betraying our family members by not giving enough time to them? Are we shouting at our own people unnecessarily? Are we taking care of our elderly parents with love?

    3. Our Lord Jesus was arrested: When Jesus replied “I am He”, all the soldiers stepped backwards and fell to the ground. Our Almighty Father’s presence in the “I AM HE” words of Jesus, was not ‘withstandable’ by anyone. Hence they could not even stand in front of God’s powerful words.

    Are we aware that the Son of Almighty God has paid for our sins by His wounds?

    4. Our Lord Jesus was deserted by His friends: When Jesus was arrested immediately His disciples left Him alone. They did not leave Him when He was surrounded by ‘Hosanna’ praises, but left Him alone when He had to carry the cross.

    Are we also running away from our responsibilities deserting our sick and the weak members of our family and friends?

    5. Our Lord Jesus tortured at the hearing by the high priest:
    Apart from the false accusations, Jesus is also tortured physically. The soldiers slap Him, hit Him and spit at Him. His eyes are blindfolded with a gag. His hair is pulled violently. They push Him and pull Him here and there violently with His hands tied. They ask Him “Who hit You? Guess now”. They trip Him and make Him fall flat on His face. And they laugh mockingly seeing how He is hardly able to stand up again.

    God who is worshipped by millions of angels and saints, who created Heaven and earth is undergoing such a cruel pain. He is put to shame. He is not able to lift up His head. Will we realise that our every sin costs Jesus so much to pay for it? He still undergoes the pain every time we sin. Like St.Thêrèse of the Child Jesus shall we take an oath to let sleep Jesus in our little boat and not undergo any pain till we are alive?

    6. Barabbas was chosen, instead of Jesus:
    In our lives there are lots of unnecessary Barabbas things – like addiction to alcohol, drugs, movies, excessive entertainment. There are a lot of interesting Jesus things available too – social work, caring for one’s one family, caring for the church, etc.

    Whom are we choosing -Jesus or Barabbas?

    7. Scourging of Jesus:
    Jesus was tied to the pillar and scourged heavily. Flesh was torn and hanging from His body. Few of His bones were also visible.
    For every kind of sin, our dear Jesus paid the price by a wound.
    a. Hands were tied to the pillar as penance for our laziness.
    b. Jesus was pulled by the hair as penance for our pride.
    c. The forehead of Jesus was wounded by slashes. Can we stop cursing others?
    d. His eyes were wounded, His ears were deafened, His mouth was torn due to the sins we committed with our eyes, ears, and mouth respectively.
    e. His chest was wounded for our sins of hatred.
    f. His back was wounded due to the sins of adultery.
    g. His legs were wounded due to our acts of injustice towards others.
    h. His feet were torn due to our sins of greed.
    At the end of scourging, His body was covered with blood and flesh hanging from His body.

    8. Our Lord Jesus was condemned to death: Jealousy pushed justice aside in Pilate’s court. Can we show justice in all our tasks?

    9. Jesus was spat on the face, mocked and crowned with thorns. As the major portion of our sins is caused by our thoughts, He paid the price by wearing the crown of thorns. Are we ignoring our thoughts of hatred, jealousy, covetousness and so on…?

    10. Jesus carried the painful cross on His shoulders as the burden of the entire humanity. Though He was totally bruised, covered with spittle, blood, being hit by stones, He never thought of putting the cross down. His love for us was much heavier than the weight of the cross for Him.

    11. Jesus felt abandoned while hanging on the cross. On behalf of the suffering servants He cried out ‘My God, My God, why did you forsake me?’ This is to explain while we are crying out in our troubles, God is working on a resurrection plan for us also. Whenever we feel that we are suffering too much or there is no end to our suffering, let’s recall our dear Lord hanging the on the cross, crying out.


  3. Joe O'Leary

    The most touching moment of the liturgy today was the veneration of the cross. Coming from nations as diverse as South Africa, India, Spain, Japan and the Philippines every worshipper had his or her own style. Some defied Covid restrictions by reaching up to touch the cross (one using a cloth); kissing was forbidden of course. Four men sank to their knees together and meditated in silence at the foot of the cross.

    Why do we not let the laity express their faith and their understanding of the faith? Why do we cramp liturgy into a dry format controled by clergy? Do we think the laity have nothing to say?