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Thank God it’s Friday!

April 19, 2019

A reflection for Good Friday. The readings are Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9 and John 18:1-19:42.

Detail of Crucifixion with Mary and St. Dominic and Mary Magdalene by Fra Angelico, circa 1437-1446. Museum of San Marco, Florence.

This doesn’t usually happen to me, but the last couple of weeks, for some reason, I’ve found myself counting the days of the week until Friday. I guess a lot of us do that. We can’t wait for the weekend. And when we get there we say, “thank God it’s Friday!” We even have a little sticker that we can text to each other or post on social media, “TGIF”; thank God it’s Friday.

And then we get to this week, and to this day – thank God it’s Friday – this day that we call “good”. This day that should be called “black Friday” or “terrible Friday”. I guess the official name is “Friday of the Lord’s Passion.” Good Friday.

In my head I get it. This Friday is good because it leads to Sunday. Without the death, there is no resurrection. We honour the Friday as “good” because it leads to a victory.

Yet, our Church invites us today to sit with this day, to dwell in this day –  almost as if we didn’t know what is to come.

This day is good not because of Sunday, but because it is this day.

Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche Communities for adults with intellectual disabilities says* that our societies, our communities, are structured as pyramids, with very few at the top: the rich, the powerful, those with influence, those who are educated, those who are called to govern and guide. At the bottom are the poor, the uneducated , the sick, those with disabilities…

And Jesus comes, not to turn the pyramid on its head. Instead He comes to turn the pyramid into a body where each and every person has a rightful, valuable and important place from where he or she can contribute to the good of the whole body.

And Jesus takes the place of the ones at the bottom; of the poor, the lowly, the servant.

Jesus comes into our darkness. That is why this day is good.

This day is good for those who’ve ever been denied, betrayed or hurt by a friend. This day is good for anyone who’s ever been falsely accused. This day is good for those who are afraid to take responsibility for their actions, for those who are afraid to stand for the Truth. This day is good for those in prison, those falsely condemned. This day is good for those who’ve been condemned to death; for those who today, suffer on death row. This day is good for those who have been tortured and for those who are the torturers. This day is good for those who choose to walk by and ignore the suffering of others. This day is good for women and children, for widows and orphans. This day is good for the unborn and for those who are struggling through an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. This day is good for those who’ve been involved in abortions. This day is good for the poor, for those who suffer because of injustice. This day is good for those who suffer abuse and domestic violence. This day is good for victims of war and of famine; for victims of natural disasters. This day is good for refugees and those who are homeless. This day is good for those who suffer from depression and mental health issues. This day is good for those who are pushed around and bullied, for those who are marginalized. This day is good for those who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender identity. This day is good for their parents who struggle to love their children. This day is good for those who’ve ever suffered because of obedience, who’ve ever suffered in love. This day is good for all who are in darkness, for those who are hungry and thirsty. This day is good for those who feel lost and abandoned; for those who need direction. This day is good for all who have sinned and for all who have died.

This day is good for all who will one day, die.

This day is good because today, Jesus Christ, the one who is the Light of the World, the one who is the Bread of Life and Living Water, the one who is the Way, the Truth and the Light; Jesus Christ who is the Great I Am, today, He descends into your darkness.

Today, let’s not be afraid to embrace the Cross, to behold the wood of the Cross, to sit at the foot of the Cross with Mary and John and gaze on Love that is lifted high in his misery, his humility and his brokenness, because it is your misery, humility and brokenness.

Today, don’t be afraid to embrace the Cross, to sit at the foot of the Cross, not to celebrate its victory, but to contemplate its sorrow.

And tomorrow, Saturday, don’t be afraid to sit and wait, to watch and pray in the garden because as I recently read in a little book by Steve Bell**, the best place to be if you’re waiting to see a resurrection, is a graveyard.

If you do, you will taste and see how good the Lord is and you will be able to say TGIF, thank God it’s Friday.

*From Jean Vanier’s Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus.
** From Steve Bell’s Pilgrim Year, Holy Week.

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From → English, Reflections

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