Great and Holy Friday
— March 29, 2013
Matthew 27:45-50 – Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. (ESV)
Christ God put to death! – What mockery! The innocent Christ endured the crown of thorns, the scourging, being nailed to the Cross, thirst, vinegar and gall and finally death. Christ God put to death for our sins on top of the hill at Golgotha. He accepted and endured all of this willingly because of His great love for us. At the moment of His death he cried “It is finished” (John 19:30). At that moment we were saved.
At his general audience on Holy Wednesday in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI quoted St. John Chrysostom speaking about the crucifixion: “Before, the cross meant disdain, but today it is venerated. Before, it was a symbol of condemnation, today it is the hope of salvation. It has truly been converted into a fount of infinite goods; it has liberated us from error, it has scattered our darkness, it has reconciled us with God. From being enemies of God, it has made us his family, from foreigners it has converted us to his neighbors: This cross is the destruction of enmity, the fount of peace, the coffer of our treasure” (“De cruce et latrone,” I, 1, 4).