It’s Good Friday, but not ‘happy’ Friday, since this is when Christians remember the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross, writes Rev. Dr. Donald H. R. De Souza, Chancellor, Catholic Diocese of Lucknow.
The Sacrifice of a Loving God
Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for the salvation of humankind. This is the basis of the faith of Christians all over the world. The redeeming death on a Cross for the sins of humankind and the Resurrection from death forms the foundation of Christian Faith.
When a young friend wished me ‘Happy Good Friday, Father’ on Good Friday a few years ago, it was almost a shock to me that on Good Friday someone could wish me a ‘Happy Good Friday’!! Yet, after a while it dawned on me that the word ‘Good’ had given a false impression on the meaning and significance of this great day for a Christian.
The Holy Bible contains prophecy and fulfillment on the various tenets of Christian faith. The most fundamental prophecy in the Bible is about Lord Jesus Christ. The biblical faith is that God chose the people of Israel to be called his ‘chosen people’ with a promise that a Saviour or a Messiah of the world would emerge from them. However, the Chosen People of God forgot about their original call to be a ‘light of faith to the nations’ and they also forgot the nature of the call of this Messiah. Instead of living in goodness, compassion, mercy, love and peace, the Chosen People concentrated on their own self-centered happiness, comforts and a god of their self-interests.
Hence, God promised them that he would do this task himself, in a ‘Son’ whom he would send into this world as their Saviour and Redeemer. But even here the Chosen People thought that he would be a political Messiah, giving them riches and wealth and worldly glory. Isaiah, the great Prophet, foretells clearly that the Messiah, the Son of God, would not be a political Messiah but a spiritual one and that he would be rejected by the people, beaten, humiliated and insulted (Isaiah Ch. 50, vv. 4-9). Prophet Isaiah speaks, instead, of a Messiah who is humble, loving, good, God-fearing and ready to suffer for others. (Isaiah Ch. 42, vv. 1-7).
Good Friday shows that God was faithful to his promises and the prophecies of old were fulfilled 2,000 years ago when the Saviour, Son of God, was born as a man, a man who was good, indeed God himself, in Lord Jesus Christ. “He went about doing good” all his life (Acts of Apostles Ch. 10, v. 38). But at the end of his life on this earth, a mere 33 years, he was rejected by his own people, beaten, scourged, crowned with thorns and killed, and crucified on a Cross. This was the divine GOOD of that Friday, on which Lord Jesus Christ died for the sins of humankind. This is the reason why the Friday of his death has been called GOOD FRIDAY!