GOOD FRIDAY (10th April)
Today the Church stands before the cross of Christ. The significant part of the day is silence.
Almighty Father, look with mercy on your family for which Our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed and given up into the hands of sinners and to suffer death upon the cross; who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE PASSION GOSPEL
And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. Then the rulers also with them derided Him, saying: “He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be the Christ, the chosen of God.” And the soldiers also mocked Him.
And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, “I thirst.” Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar; and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon a hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said: “It is finished”; and he bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
A short period of silence.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have fallen asleep and then run away terrified, like the disciples in Gethsemane? Thank you that you forgive us for our weakness, when we opt out and run away from conflict and cost.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have shouted ‘Hosanna’ on one day, and ‘Crucify’ on another? Forgive us when we fail you because it is easier to follow the crowd.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have been harsh and judgemental like the Pharisees? Forgive us when we are quick to condemn, or hide behind legalism.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have been like the soldiers, hard and callous, just doing their job? Forgive us when we act blindly and unthinkingly, without considering the effect our behaviour has on others.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have slunk away ashamed from the horror of Calvary? We thank you that you forgive us when we let you down, and that your love is stronger than all the evil we could throw at you; Lord accept these prayers, offered in your name.
Standing at the foot of the cross, let us pray with confidence as or Saviour has taught us:
May the cross of Our Lord protect those who belong to Jesus, and strengthen our hearts in faith to Christ, in hardship and in ease, in life and in death, now and for ever. Amen.