Good Friday – A Necessary Step on the Journey
In this reading from the Prophet Isaiah, used during Good Friday Mass, we are introduced to the prophecy of the suffering servant – one who willingly takes on the sin of humankind to restore our relationship with God. This servant is not of earthly majesty, power, or glory, but one who endures shame and suffering, puts up relatively little fight when His time comes, and accepts His fate with compliance. While I’d love to spend time discussing the theology behind this passage, I’ll get to the point – this suffering servant foreshadows the Passion of Jesus Christ.
On this Good Friday, we solemnly remember the Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. While it would be easy to use this as an opportunity to focus on the joy of the Resurrection celebrated on Easter Sunday, we must remind ourselves that Good Friday is a necessary step on the journey.
To borrow a phrase from St. Augustine, “the beauty of Scripture is that it is ever ancient, yet ever so new.” We need not look far to see how the suffering, pain, and death of Christ is present in our own lives. Present as it is, we seem to try everything in our power to avoid these things, sometimes at great costs. We do everything we can to avoid pain, we try to remove any obstacles that are in the way of our goals, and we avoid talking about things like death. We attempt to fill our lives with the material goods of this world to distract us from these “negative” experiences. While there is inherent good in striving for the good and striving for happiness, we sometimes lose focus on the reality at hand: that human life involves pain, we experience suffering, and we experience death.
The more we seek to avoid these things, the greater risk we have of distancing ourselves from God. When we experience suffering, or even the fear of suffering, we must remember that Christ too experienced this fear in the Garden of Gethsemane. Let us find solidarity with Christ on the Cross when we are experiencing deep pain. And let us also remember that it is only through death that we are brought to eternal life in Christ. This is the hope we rest in on this Good Friday, the hope that brings us joy, and the hope that restores our relationship with our loving God.