For the apostles, disciples and Mary this was a bad Friday. It is only with Christian hindsight that we can confidently call it a ‘Good Friday’.
Jesus the Christ, Our Lord, Redeemer, Saviour, true God and true Man, enters into His passion with a full revelation of His absolute and full humanity and of His absolute Divinity. His nature was truly Divine.
As He is taken from the Garden in the early hours of the morning, then later to the palaces of Annas and Caiaphas, then to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate, sent to Herod and back to Pilate and then to endure horrific torture, His humanity was completely and totally tested. As a man like us, He was utterly exhausted, had lost a lot of blood and would have lost consciousness on more than one occasion. It is difficult for us to imagine such suffering.
In his book ‘This Tremendous Lover’ Eugene Boylan alludes to Jesus using His Divinity to keep himself humanly conscious (end of allusion). He does so in order to fully experience the maximum pain possible but, more importantly, to experience the utter inner joy of doing the will of the Father. He pays the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile us to God and to destroy the power of death because of our sinfulness.
This sacrifice was not just the physical suffering. Throughout His life, He had prayed to His Father, called upon His Father in everything He did, remained One with His Father. At the moment of His death, it seems that His Father has abandoned Him. That He felt the absence of the Father was more horrific and more dark than all the other punishments and human abandonments combined. Yet we know that he was neither abandoned nor God-forsaken. The Father was there on the cross sharing Golgotha with His Son.
Today we would have been able to walk the Stations of the Cross with Jesus in the morning and Venerate the Cross in the afternoon. Spend some quiet time today and meditate on the crucifix. It would be useful to have a crucifix in front of you. As you contemplate the cruel death of Jesus see in the crucifix the Father sharing his Son’s passion.
Most loving Father, thank you that we never have to experience being abandoned by You. Today we realise that you are always with us, even in our suffering, darkness and pain. It was and is indeed a very Good Friday. Amen.