March 30, 2018 – Friday of the Passion of our Lord –
Isaiah 53:23 – 53:12 – Psalm 31 – Hebrews 4:14 – 16; 5:7-9
John 18:1 –19:42
In these solemn days of the Paschal Triduum all of us who are involved in “liturgical ministries” have to be on guard to be sure that we don’t let the “mechanics” of what happens overtake us to the point were we miss the hidden essence of what’s really going on. These “three holy days” are really at the height of what “liturgy” is all about …if we let the myriad of symbols be all they want to be.
Today’s “liturgy” – because it’s not a mass – could leave some of us in a quandary. But it is filled with beautiful images – from both the scriptures and the actions which are done – that can draw us into the drama of the crucifixion and the great love that God has for us.
We don’t need to watch Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion” to gain insight into the mystery of the passion and death of Jesus if we let the “script” of today’s liturgy – both the words proclaimed and the action done – be all that they are intended to be. That’s why there is no need for commentary since the entire congregation is involved in dramatic words and powerful images. The Veneration of the Cross, if done with solemnity and grace, is one of the most powerful experiences of our Church’s liturgy.
All of this requires that we allow ourselves to be free of time restraints and other physical burdens. Most churches will be packed to the rafters on this day yet we still need to allow each person to enter into this mystery as if they were the only person for whom Jesus died.
The solemn reading of the Passion, along with the prayerful veneration of the cross and Holy Communion are different enough from our regular liturgies and thus should be able to draw us in to this great act of love.
“… no greater love than to lay down one’s life for friends.”
“What a friend we have in Jesus!”