Good Friday of the Lord's Passion
IS 52:13—53:12/HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9/JN 18:1—19:42
How is this day different from all other days (mah nishtanah)? Can enough be said about what makes this day exceptionally “Good”? It is Passover, liberation--not for “the flesh,” as if we are confronted again with the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,” that terrible liberation into naked choice; but liberation into the freedom for Good, into “salvation for all who obey him”--setting us free to follow with joyful obedience in the footsteps of the One who wrought our freedom.
His footsteps lead to the Cross: that embarrassingly excessive (!) expression of God’s love for humankind. An object of torture made into the “Tree of Life” for those who approach it as the “throne of mercy.” An altar upon which the “Suffering Servant” made His perfect priestly offering, to bear the guilt and punishment that we could not. What a shame that God had to do this? No! On the contrary: we’re better off. O felix culpa: “O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!” Scandalous! How fortunate for us that we have sinned, inviting our Father to show us how unfathomably loved we are!
“For God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom” (Aquinas, STh. III q. 1 a. 1). Indeed. We live in a time of evils: pandemic, economic collapse, and all the consequences thereof. What is the Christian response? Jesus has made of us a priestly people by baptism into His death to continue His work in the world, sublimating the blood, sweat, and tears which we bear into a renewal of the world unto the Kingdom of God to come. What are you willing to spill on today’s altars so that others might be renewed? “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37).
Fr. Brian Zuelke, OP
Associate Chaplain, Campus Ministry