April 7, 2023
Adapted from Josephine Lombardi, Living with the Liturgical Year (Available for purchase on Shop page).
Good Friday: Spiritual Drought
Good Friday is a painful day as we meditate on the events leading up to the death of our Lord. It is not unusual for Christians to place themselves at the scene. Do we relate to the crowd? To the women? To Mary, Jesus’ mother? To his apostles? To Jesus himself?
Many who have experienced the loss of a loved one find themselves relating to Mary and to the many others who loved Jesus. Grief can be lonely and isolating. The waves of grief come and go and can leave us emotionally paralyzed from time to time. The good news, however, is that Jesus conquered death: the loss of our loved ones is temporary. When Martha is grieving the passing of Lazarus, Jesus says: “Your brother will rise again…Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:23-26). Similarly, St. Paul discourages us from grieving, as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The separation we experience is not forever. Our pain can be healed; our hope restored.
While we honour Good Friday in the present, we live it within the reality of the paschal mystery: Jesus died, Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and Jesus will come again. This mystery consoles us in times of grief and reminds us that God can and will redeem our losses. By virtue of our baptism, we participate in the fullness of the paschal mystery, dying and rising with Christ. The grace we receive with this sacrament and others sustains us in times of struggle.
Good Friday reminds us that Jesus died for us, loving us with a sacrificial love. Through his death, Jesus conquers darkness and sin. Sometimes God can use what we perceive as a setback or a disappointment to bring about a greater good. God can redeem our suffering and disappointments with renewed strength, insights, and emotional healing. The key is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and his promise of eternal life. Love endures forever.