Good Friday always confused me. Like many people, Catholic and non-
Catholic alike, the question is “Why do we call it good?”
In years past one part of the liturgy has always stood out to me. The veneration of the cross. I would sit there in awe as I watched members of our parish walk up to kiss the wood of the cross. One woman struggled with her walker as she made her way to the cross and knelt before it. Another woman, widowed recently , venerated the cross and wiped a tear away as she returned to her seat. Yet another person I saw was a man suffering from Cancer and wouldn’t probably see another Good Friday. I’ve seen these scenes over the years…. And yet we call it “Good.”
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Lk. 14:27)
“Embrace the cross!” the priest said from the pulpit, but it wasn’t his words that struck a cord with me, it was his actions.
As the priest enters into this liturgy – he lays down, prostrate on the ground in front of the altar. It is a humbling action. As I watched this action a phrase rung in my head.
“Bring us God!”
I pondered as to why this was my reaction to this gesture by the priest. Was it that empty tabernacle again? Or was their something more I was to understand? I had just read Pope Frances homily from the Chrism Mass so it gave me a little insight as to why this action invoked such a strong and strange response. In his homily, Pope Frances instructs his priests to go out. To go out to the people where they are suffering and to also go out of themselves. And when they go to the outskirts:
“they [the people] feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: “Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem”, “Bless me Father”, “Pray for me”
Bring us God through the Eucharist, bring us God through reconciliation, bring us God through the word because without God we couldn’t survive the crosses of our lives.
So that is why we call it “Good.” With this one gesture of Christ dying on the cross for us He gives to us himself so we never have to carry our cross alone.
In fact it would be impossible to.