What a paradoxical phrase “Good Friday” can be for some of us, considering what we commemorate today: the brutal, bloody death of Jesus Christ. But today isn’t just a day of somber remembrance; it’s also an occasion of hopeful anticipation and deep gratitude.
As Christians, we find ourselves looking up from the foot of the cross at Jesus as he hangs there in agony, as the blood and sweat drip from his body, and he utters, “It is finished,” bows his head and hands over his spirit. (John 19:30). Taking in this horrific scene, we don’t see a conquered and defeated man, but we see the fullness of love itself, the most perfect expression of deep love there ever was. The Word made flesh offering himself completely, sinless though he was, for us! Today, we don’t mourn the death of Jesus; we mourn the fact that our sins led him to the cross. Christ willingly took on our sinfulness; he suffered and died for you and me. Without this sacrifice, we would still be unfit for the promise of eternal life.
We are called daily to imitate his act of sacrificial love with those around us. We must, in love, place the legitimate needs and wants of others before our own. This love is an extension of the cross. To love another in this way is to embrace the cross with the fullness of its splinters, thorns, and nails.
What a Good Friday it truly is! Today as we reverence the crucifix with a kiss, may it be a true expression of the love and gratitude we have for the sacrifice that was made for us and a reminder that we too are called to embody that same self-sacrificial love.