The Good Friday liturgy begins with the priests’ prostration, in place of the customary initial kiss. It is a gesture of special veneration for the altar, which is bare, empty of everything, evoking the Crucified Lord at the hour of his Passion. The silence is broken by an ardent prayer in which the celebrant appeals to God’s mercy—Reminiscere miserationum tuarum, Domine—and beseeches the Father for the eternal protection that the Son has gained for us by the shedding of his blood, that is, by giving his life for us.
An ancient tradition reserves for this day the proclamation of the Passion according to St. John as the culminating moment of the liturgy of the Word. This Gospel narrative highlights the lofty majesty of Christ, who “gives himself up to death with the full freedom of Love.” Our Lord responds courageously to those who come to seize him: when he said to them ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground. Later we hear him tell Pilate, “my kingship is not of this world, and therefore his followers haven’t fought to free him. Consummatum est, it is finished: our Lord is faithful to his Father right to the end, and thus he overcomes the world.
After the proclamation of the Passion and the universal prayer, the liturgy directs our attention to the Lignum Crucis, the tree of the Cross: the glorious instrument for mankind’s redemption. The adoration of the holy Cross is a gesture of faith and a proclamation of Jesus’ victory over the devil, sin and death. With him, we Christians have also won, because “this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.”
The Church envelops the Cross with honor and reverence. The bishop comes up to kiss it without chasuble or ring. Then comes the adoration by the faithful, with songs celebrating its victorious strength: “We adore your Cross, O Lord, we praise and glorify your holy Resurrection, because of the wood of a tree, joy has come to the whole world.”It is a mysterious blending of death and life in which God wants us to share: “Sometimes we renew the joyous impulse that took our Lord to Jerusalem. Other times, the pain of the agony which ended on Calvary… Or the glory of his triumph over death and sin. But always, the love—joyful, sorrowful, glorious—of the Heart of Jesus Christ!”
Here are some basic points we can all take care off as we observe these great days in the History of Christianity.
- Go to Mass/Service on time. Actually being seated and recollected before it begins is definetly worth it especially in this week.
- Make the effort to seek the Sacrament of Penance (confession) and forgive those who have trespassed against you no matter how long or serious a grudge you have kept.
- Deny yourself today of something substantial. Observe the fast prescribed by the Church…then personalize it with somethings extra for our Lord (and keep it just between you and Him).
- Take great care to meditate on the 14 stations of the cross. You should become one more in the scene.
- Remain silent from 12 noon to 3pm to revere the hours our Lord spent on the cross. Avoid external distractions too (eg. Television, radio, music, social media, crowds etc.)
- Dress appropriately. Though all held at dusk, these days of the easter triduum are high points in the church. We have to look it too.
- Get a good sitting position away from distractions. This varies according to persons but we generally know that being behind or outside the walls of the church can be the best way to remain distracted. It’s okay to sit in the front pews. You will see and hear clearly and two senses work better than one!
- Use a Missal/Order of Mass. There are usually booklets for Holy Week on sale in the parishes.Ask for it, get it and use it. That is one sure way of participating fully.
- Sing or chant along with the choir and lay faithful. A not-too-good singing voice is no excuse (just keep it low and you will be fine). Besides, one who sings prays twice and we do need all the prayers don’t we?
- Spend quality time (as much as you can sincerly afford) with our Lord in the Altar of Repose.
- Clean out your homes, making ready to recieve our Lord.
- Contribute in any way you can towards the activities eg. buying flowers for the altar of repose, offering to clean the church and decorate, purchasing the Paschal candle etc.
We are grateful for the contributions we recieved and will recieve for adorning the Altar of Repose.
The hours of watching and praying at the Altar of Repose continues from 8:30am till 2:30pm when we will prepare to commence the Good Friday service @ 3:00pm.You are welcome to join us.