It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46
Today is Good Friday. This day did, and does, hold great meaning and significance to Christians around the world.
I grew up in the West Side of Cincinnati, a strong German-Catholic community. Good Friday, in the 50’s and early sixties as I recall, was a day revered and remembered with great solemnity. Many people made a pilgrimage up a long, steep series of steps to Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams. Stores and bars shut down from noon until 3 PM. Churches were filled with worshipers solemnly reciting prayers, the Station of the Cross once again reenacted, and statues were draped in purple cloth, awaiting the glorious Easter sunrise service (or midnight Mass) when they would be ceremoniously uncovered- symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus.
These rituals made a great impression on my young mind. Such a day Good Friday was! These practices were a binding cultural event, and very impactful and meaningful. They impressed upon generations of worshipers the power and significance of the sacrifice that Jesus made that day- to save us from our sins.
While the religious practices of those days no longer seem to have the cultural impact that they once did, the message has never changed. There cannot be love without sacrifice. That principle holds true in every relationship, and in every action we do as human beings. There is a high cost of love. Today, as we remember what Jesus did for humankind, think of the reason that He paid that price. He loved us to death.
Prayer: Thank you Father for sending your son to redeem us when we were lost. Thank you for the gift of love which you showed and continue to show, Amen.