Friday, 29 March 2013

What makes Good Friday good?

by Randy Tudy

Did you ever wonder why the day when the whole Christendom commemorates the death of Jesus it is called Good Friday?  What makes it good?

Because it is birthday celebration.  What?

Before I proceed, let me tell you something about today.  At 5:00 this morning (March 29), I was awakened by a call.  The first words I heard from the phone were “Happy birthday, sir!”  Yes, it’s my birthday today.  I was thankful for that call because it pushed me to wake up, go to the bathroom, change clothes and get ready for the 6 am Via Crucis (Way of the Cross).

So, today is a (good) Friday for me.
Now going back to  the question, What makes Good Friday good?  There are several explanations to this but allow me to share a few, which are related to my personal celebration today.

There are two theological reflections to explain why the day of Jesus’ death is called Good Friday.

1. Birth of the Church.  Good Friday is the birth of the church.  This is how the Bible narrates in John 19:32-34:
So 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.
But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
Water is symbolic in this passage.  It refers to the Sacraments or the Church.  Thus, the death of Jesus marks the birth of the Church.
2. The Church is entrusted to her mother.  Jesus knew that his physical presence would affect in the short-term towards the apostles and disciples.  Though He promised that the Holy Spirit will guide them, he also made it sure that they were under the care of a human hands and heart.  This is the role of Mother Mary.  This is how the Bible explain in Jn. 19: 26-27.

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
In this passage, the beloved disciple represented the Church.  Jesus, in this episode, entrusted the Church to her mother.

Thus, Good Friday is indeed a good day because it is a celebration of the Church’s birth and the commemoration on the official role of Mary as the mother of the Church.
On the personal note, it is a (good) Friday because I am with the church in celebrating her birth while I also celebrate mine.  I am one with the Church in honoring her mother while I also thank my own mother for delivering me into this world.

May the celebration of Good Friday inspire us to follow Jesus and at the same time encourage us to be faithful in serving Him through the Church with Mary as our guide and protector.

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