Good Friday 2016

Cristo crucificado.jpg
By Diego Velázquez[1], Public Domain,

People sometimes ask why I add to some of my posts the year in which they were written. It is because we are bound by a linear understanding of time. Today is Good Friday, but it is a Good Friday unlike any other; and although I think all I’ve said about Good Friday in the past is still valid, this Good Friday brings with it its own challenges and graces.

This morning I look at the Crucifix and think of ‘the battle with the dragon black’, the tremendous vision of The Dream of the Rood, ‘the lovely tear from lovely eye’ of one of the Harley Lyrics, and know myself a charlatan. The Crucifixion wasn’t noble or beautiful. It was bloody, brutal and shot through with despair. We have made it beautiful with our words and images, our haunting music and our knowledge of what it achieved for us, but two thousand years ago it was simply a squalid exercise in corrupt power. Perhaps we need to remember that when we gather for the Solemn Liturgy this afternoon. The church will be stripped and bare, and our worship will reflect the spare forms of the ancient Church with its lengthy readings from scripture and sequence of prayers. One of those prayers will be for those who do not yet know Christ. In previous years I have always thought of it as the Church intends, as a prayer for those who do not yet acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour; but today I shall think of it more personally and be praying it for myself. No matter how great our love and devotion may seem to ourselves, no matter how many years we may have spent in his service, who among us can really claim to know Christ? That bruised and bloodied body hanging on the Cross is a reminder that God’s love and forgiveness are infinite. We can never exhaust them. We can only hope to go deeper and deeper into the mystery — which is my prayer for you and for me today.

Another link:
Some lectio divina for today on the link between the dates of the Crucifixion and the Annunciation:


4 thoughts on “Good Friday 2016”

  1. Thank you Sister Catherine for the reminder that all violence is brutal. The authorities who put Jesus to death were intent on disposing of a problem. God had a greater plan in sacrificing His Son on the Cross. Everything from His baptism in the Jordan to his Resurrection and final Ascension into Heaven was for our redemption, our acceptance of grace, love and peace as the way to live our lives for the benefit of everyone. Loving God with all our might and each other as ourselves is the most powerful and simple of messages, but is the beginning of all we need.

  2. As time goes by, I find my faith challenged. I want to have the faith I used to have but find myself walking more and more in the dark. I used to be able to sing, I “walk by faith and not by sight,” but even that beautiful hymn seems hollow to me.

    Thank you, Sister, for reminding me that at the crucifixion there were crowds. Some of the observers, a very few, understood what they were seeing, most did not. When we pray this evening, I, with very feeble faith, will rely on the faith of those others in the crowd who have the gifts of seeing and understanding.

    • That, surely, is what the Communion of Saints is all about, here and now. We all rely on the prayers of others — when we are in need, when we seem to have no faith, when we come to die. May God bless you, Robyn.

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