I have been a Star Trek and Star Wars fan for years, Do you recognize the title from a line in one of the movies? Yes, it was Star Trek when Spock gave his life to save his friends and his ship. Today is Good Friday, the day when around 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ said the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few, or the one. Good Friday, why would we call a day that we remember someone dying “Good”? That is a hard question to come to grips with for me. Last night at Holy Thursday Mass, the Mass we celebrate the beginning of 3 very important institutions, the Eucharist, the Mass, and the Priesthood, at the end of Mass the after the Priest has taken our Lord out of the Tabernacle on the main altar and moved it to the Chapel Tabernacle we begin singing: Stay with me, remain here with me. Watch and pray, watch and pray. While we are singing this the Priests, Deacons, and Servers are removing everything from the altar. We are taken back in time to a time before the crucifixion, we are back in Gethsemane as Christ was preparing himself for his sacrifice. I envision myself back at that rock where Christ was praying asking God the Father if this cup can be passed.
Can you imagine yourself there with him? Pretend you are one of the apostles, Jesus is troubled and he asks you to stay with him and pray with him. You try but you are sleepy and begin to nod off, you have no idea what is about to happen, how your world will be turned upside down. These men left all they had behind, they left their families, their jobs, they had everyone making fun of them for following this guy that talked about the good news and spoke of love. They were overjoyed with their decision as they followed our Lord triumphantly entering Jerusalem with palm leaves waving and crowds cheering. But can you imagine what they felt like as Christ was on the cross?
Christ knows the future though, he knows why he came into this world and that is the problem, he is the Son of God, so he sees all and knows all, he knows what lays ahead in the next hours, he knows he became human to save us. That means he knows pain, suffering, fear, rejection that he is facing. He knows and feels all the emotions that a human can feel. What a terrible conflict, can you imagine if you knew beforehand every terrible thing that would happen to you in this life. The strain would be unbearable.
I stayed after Mass last night to honor our Lord and his Sacrifice I became very emotional have just recently returned form the Holy Land. I had kneeled next to the rock that it is believed Christ was praying at, I had touched that rock and laid my bible on that rock, this is where the first blood was shed of the New Covenant as he foresaw all that was to happen to him over the next few hours. It was so agonizing he was sweating blood out of his pours. If you were there what would you say? Can you imagine someone was willing to be severely beaten, and crucified, not for himself, but for US!
How many times have I done the exact opposite to what our Lord asks of us, how many times have I ignored him, how many times did I not give the respect I should. How can I ever look at him on the cross without the guilt on my mind. But that is what is so special about what our Lord did, he does not want us to feel guilty and beat ourselves up. All he asks is for us to ask for forgiveness and try to do better. He has shown us the ultimate example of True Love. He freely did this so we can join him in Heaven, he wants our company there.
Maybe that’s why the day he died on the cross for us is called Good Friday!