Daily Devotions for Holy Week

Good Friday

Written By Mary C. Earle

Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

A day of great solemnity, Good Friday calls us to do what the disciples could not. Good Friday calls us to join Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus and John at the foot of the cross. Good Friday invites us to enter that most excruciating moment of standing in our own impotence, unable to stop the dying. This day calls us to the steadiness of being present with Jesus and with one another in those harrowing moments of suffering and death.

It is always a “both/and”—we are called this day to wait for the moment when Jesus bows his head and gives up his spirit. And we are called every day to be present in that way to one another. Some will discover a gift for nursing or AIDS ministry or hospice work. Others will have the innate ability to be with others whose lives are torn to ragged shreds by violence or war or natural disaster. Still others will discover that deep-rooted compassion that comes with living through grief and tragedy, seeing anew the suffering that surrounds us at every minute, though hidden by the glitz of our culture.

A mystery is revealed to us this day—the mystery of divine love that permeates every moment of human life and experience. This day we are brought to the foot of the cross to see, as early church writers reported, God’s cheerfulness in this self-offering. The face of divine Love shines through Jesus’ dying flesh, and God’s own life, in Jesus, is united to ours.

“The Word became flesh and lived among us,” as the Gospel of John declares. (John 1:14) In a way far beyond our human capacity to know or to understand, God is in Christ, knowing our sufferings from the inside out, hallowing the blood, the sweat and the tears, converting the cross from an instrument of death to a tree of life.

God grant me the grace to stand at the foot of the cross, to adore You, O Christ, and to bless You, because by your cross you have redeemed the world. Amen.

Copyright © Mary Earle.