Good Friday

“He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins . . . by His stripes we were healed.”  It was to save us from our sins that Jesus suffered and died.  The Catechism tells us that sin is an offense against God.  God is all-holy; He is all-pure.  We were created in His image and likeness: we were created to reflect God’s love and His holiness.  God created us to love Him and to serve Him and to be united with Him forever.  Our First Parents lost God’s friendship by turning away from God and by disobeying His will.  As a result of the sin of Adam and Eve we have all inherited a fallen human nature.  Because of sin, the Gates of Heaven were closed: sin frustrated our destined union with God.

If Jesus had not become a man and suffered and died to save us from our fallen state, we would be without hope.  But God is love; He did not abandon us, but sent His own Son to pay the price for our sin.  The price that Jesus paid on the Cross was not just for the sin of Adam and Eve: it was for all sin.  He died for you and for me personally: He died to save us from our sins.  Jesus had each one of us in mind while He hung upon the Cross.  On this day Our Lord died to save you and to save me from our sins.  Jesus’ death and Resurrection opened the Gates the Heaven for us that we might be united with Him forever in Heaven as we were created to be.

Jesus Christ poured out His blood and died that we might have life: through His death we have access to life in abundance: because Jesus died for us, we are able to do more than merely survive in this world: through Jesus Christ we have access to the Father.  Through our Baptism into Christ’s death we have become sons and daughters of God.  Because Christ died for us, we are able to have that friendship with God: because of His death it is possible for us to attain the union with God for which we were created.  But we have to respond to what Jesus did for us.  We have to accept that abundant life that He offers to us.  Jesus said that if we would be His disciples, we have to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him.  We have to imitate Our Crucified Lord.  The Cross is the sign of our salvation.  On the Cross our Lord laid down His life for us: and we are also called to lay down our lives.

What does it mean to lay down our lives?  It means rejecting sin.  It means loving God more than I love myself.  Sin offends God and Jesus died to make reparation for our sins, but that does not give us license to go on sinning.  Jesus died out of love for us and calls us to respond to His love: He calls us to turn away from sin and love as we were created to love.  We reject sin not only to avoid the negative consequences of sin or out of fear of Hell; we reject sin out of love for Him Who first loved us and died for us.  If we truly love God, we want to avoid offending Him.  Laying down our lives means putting our fallen, selfish human nature to death and putting God first in our hearts and putting others ahead of ourselves.  Jesus said that if we love Him, we will follow His commandments and His command to us is to love.  We are to love as He loves us.

Today’s liturgy is meant to help us to enter into the Sacrifice that Our Lord made of Himself on the Cross.  Good Friday is the only day of the entire year that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not offered.  This absence of the offering of the Mass recalls to our minds the day that the Lord died and was buried.  May this solemn liturgy inspire our hearts with gratitude for all that Our Lord did this day to save us.  May our veneration of the Lord’s Cross inspire our hearts with greater love for Our Lord and strengthen our resolve to reject sin and follow Him ever more faithfully.