Have you ever asked yourself? What is beautiful during Good Friday?
A friend of mine who has no firm commitment as far as his religious orientation is concerned posed this query, “Why do you call it Good Friday? I simply ignored the question, instead I looked at him in dismay and responded, Really? Of course, he knows what’s being commemorated on Good Friday. He’s a very learned man. He’s aware of why Christians celebrate Holy Week, irrespective of his religion. As a matter of fact, almost all of us regardless of our beliefs know that Good Friday is the day of Jesus crucifixion and death primarily for His love for mankind.
However, some of us including my friend do not have any idea why is it coined “Good Friday”, and not “Sad”, “Bad” or “Black Friday” since what happened during that day was truly disappointing and horrible. This is one thing hard to explain especially to reluctant and skeptics. However, based on Church’s teachings, we came to know and realize that it might have been called “Good Friday” simply because it was the time Jesus mission here on earth was accomplished. His sufferings and death turned out to be the fulfillment of God’s promise and love for us, that is to save mankind from the destruction of sin and to prepare us for our journey to eternal life, which is God’s Kingdom in Heaven. And that makes it good, not just good but VERY GOOD! In fact, we can even call it even the “Great Friday” or how kids put it, “Awesome Friday”! And that makes it beautiful! Jesus’ death gives us hope, the hope for the world, the hope for all of us to get to know Him more, our Savior who cares for us, who wants to grant us forgiveness and be reconciled with Him.
In today’s culture, we are still surrounded by the worst of humanity; we still live in a period where there is violence and torture, poverty and inequality. The persecution and the suffering of Jesus would mirror the sufferings of men even up to this time, the abandoned, the distressed, the lowly, the victims of crimes and calamities, and those experiencing all kinds of pain. God is in the midst of people who are spiritually and materially poor. As such, even if these people are experiencing sadness in their lives, effectively they’re not, because God is always there to comfort and rescue them particularly if they call for His help. These kinds of spiritual tenets and truths may be beyond human comprehension particularly if we have all the comforts in life. The love for material possessions leads us to forget God, in His goodness and mercy. That’s why on Good Fridays, Jesus is reminding us to stand up for the oppressed, the weak , the destitute and the abandoned.
Today, it would also be prudent for us to reflect on the 8 Beatitudes and compare it with what we’ve done in the past towards our brothers and sisters, taking into account our failures, limitations and shortcomings. As mentioned earlier, God is with the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. God will reward these people at the end of the day.
Some of us may argue: “if God is with the oppressed and the like, then why are they in such a miserable state?” Exactly, this is the substance and beauty of Good Friday. This is what it’s all about. Jesus wants us to carry our crosses so we can follow Him. One way of responding to this call is to share what we have and help other people in need. Truly, this is pretty hard to grasp as it is not easy to give away our treasures, especially if it’s hard-earned ….but with God’s “paradoxical” promises on the Mount of Olives, everything is worth the effort to change for the better. There is always hope for all of us, hope that would encourage us to renew our lives, not to give up on ourselves, not to give up on others but most of all not to give up on God.