Good Friday Is Truly Good

+ Archbishop Felix Machado ,  19 Mar 2016

               How is Good Friday really “good”? Some faithful are puzzled with the expression“Good Friday” which refers to the day Our Lord Jesus Christ was made to suffermost painful and shameful death on the Cross. The Incarnate Son of God accepted to die on the Cross in order to bring “life” to every man and woman who hadlost that life to sin.

           “The Son of God, co-eternal with the Father, was not content only to be born as man from human stock but even died at the hands of the men he had created. It is great thing that we are promised by the Lord; but far greater is what has already been done for us, and which we now commemorate. Where were the sinners, what were they, when Christ died for them? When Christ has already given us the gift of his death, who is to doubt that he will give the saints the gift of his own life? Why does our human frailty hesitate to believe that mankind will oneday live with God?

           Who is Christ if not the Word of God? (Jn 1: 1). This ‘Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us’. He had no power of himself to die for us: he had to take from us our mortal flesh. This was the way in which, though immortal, he was able to die; the way in which he chose to give life to mortal men: he would first share with us, and then enable us to share with him. Of ourselves (as created beings) we had no power to live, nor did he of himself (as the Son of God) have the power to die.

           Accordingly, he effected a wonderful exchange with us, through mutual sharing: we gave him the power to die, he will give us the power to live.

           The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.

           He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners, the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness?How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself?

           Brothers and Sisters, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.

           The Apostle Paul saw Christ, and extolled his claim to glory. He had many great and inspired things to say about Christ, but he did not say that he boasted in Christ’s wonderful works: in creating the world, since he was God with the Father, or in ruling the world, though he was also a man like us. Rather, Paul in the 1st Letter to the Corinthians, 1:19-23,31 wrote: ‘For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the powerof God and the wisdom of God… Let him who boasts, boast of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ’” (From a sermon by Saint Augustine, Bishop).

           According to Pope Saint Leo the Great the Cross of Christ is the source of all blessings and the cause of all graces. Pope St Gregory preached: “How marvellous the power of the Cross; how great beyond all telling the glory of the passion: here is the judgement-seat of the Lord, the condemnation of the world, the supremacy of Christ crucified… (Since the Cross of Christ) the different sacrifices of animals are no more: the one offering of Christ’s body and bloodon the Cross is the fulfilment of all the different sacrificial offerings (in the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world)… God’s compassion for us is all the more wonderful because Christ died, not for the righteous or the holy but for the wicked and the sinful, and, though the divine nature could not be touched by the sting of death, he took to himself, through his birth as one of us, something he could offer on our behalf... By dying on the Cross Jesus did away with the everlasting character of death so as to make death a thing oftime, not of eternity: As all die in Adam, so all will be brought to life in Christ”.

           Do we understand, then, that the day the Incarnate Son of God died onthe Cross is truly a “Good” Friday? Of all the days of the year, isn’t Good Friday truly “good"?