March 21, 2008 Year A
A Good Friday Reflection
By Dennis Hankins
Theme: It is Finished
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
The church of my youth was Pentecostal. But Southern Indiana, where I am from, is predominately Catholic. I have vivid childhood memories of Good Friday. All of the stores in our small downtown would close at noon on Good Friday and reopen at 3 p.m. Even though I was not Catholic and did not fully understand this ritual of closing for business for 3 hours, I was deeply touched by the environment in which I grew up. I knew there was something really significant about this day called Good Friday and these 3 hours specifically.
Of course in time I came to know the why behind all of this. And the years have brought me closer to that fuller understanding of this extraordinary day called Good Friday. But I am still moved by this day with a sense of awe mingled with bewilderment such as filled my youthful imagination those many years ago. I often wonder out loud about how the stores in my town closed for 3 hours on this day. Then I imagine what it would be like if businesses and banks would do this today. Of course this is not likely to happen in our day. Everything now stays open, and if not 24/7, then at least every day no matter what day it is. In fact folks complain if Mass breaches the unwritten 60 minute rule. This is because Sunday has been scheduled to accommodate soccer games, baseball games, basketball games, and this bazaar and that flea market.
More than ever we need to visit the day of our Salvation. There, do you dare look? Please, just one glimpse of unconditional love suspended on that cross on the brow of that hill, which is called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.
Dear friends, it is Jesus the Lord on that very cruel and crude cross. For our sake and for Barabbas' sake and for the sake of the two thieves on either side of him, for every sinner, Christ is crucified. Then the centurion pierced his side, and culminating this Holy day is the flow of water and blood from his riven side. And with the first splatters on the ground of this life giving flow the earth quakes and the veil in the temple is torn from top to bottom; the graves of the saints were open.
The scope and reach of redemption is complete, entire and lacks nothing. All that is necessary to be reconciled to God and to one another is finished. He who came not into the world to condemn the world lays down his life for the life of the world. It is the story of unmatched love; a love that is the very essence of who Jesus is.
To enter more fully into our inheritance is the call of this Good Friday. If we draw near to him he will draw near to us. And in the humility of our desire to be like him, we have confidence in our Lord's words from the cross, "It is finished." In our participation in the mystery of life in the Holy Trinity we have faith in our Lord's words from the cross, "It is finished." As we seek the ministry of reconciliation in the confessional we have hope in the words of Jesus from the cross, "It is finished."
This is Good Friday.
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, you endured the cross for me. Amen.