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Good Friday



After he had said all this, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley where there was a garden into which he went with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place also, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, so Judas brought the cohort to this place together with guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was to happen to him, Jesus came forward and said, “Who are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said,” I am he".” Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he”, they moved back and fell on the ground. He asked them a second time, “Who are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus replied,” I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you want, let these others go.” This was to fulfill the words he had spoken, “Not one of those you gave me have I lost.” Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” The cohort and the tribune and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews, “It is better for one man to die for the people.” Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the door-keeper, and brought Peter in. The girl on duty at the door said to Peter,” Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?” He answered, “I am not.” Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves, so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others. The high priests questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together; I have said nothing in secret. Why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught, they know what I said.” At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying, “Is that the way you answer the high priest?” Jesus replied, “If there is some offense in what I said, point it out; but if not, why do you strike me? “Then Annas sent him, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him, “Aren’t you another of his disciples?” He denied it saying,” I am not.” One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said,” Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at once a cock crowed.

They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves to avoid being defiled and unable to eat the Passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” They replied, “If he were not a criminal, we should not have handed him over to you”. Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and try him by your own Law.” The Jews answered, “We are not allowed to put anyone to death”. This was to fulfill the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die. So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others said it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?” Jesus replied, “Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. As it is, my kingdom does not belong here.” Pilate said, “So then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “It is you who say I am a king. I was born for this; I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice”. “Truth?” said Pilate. “What is that?” And so saying he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours, I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release to you the king of the Jews?” At this they shouted, “Not this man,” they said, “but Barabbas.” Barabbas was a bandit. Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” and slapping him in the face. Pilate came outside again and said to them, “Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case against him”. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, “Here is the man.” When they saw him, the chief priests and the guards shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and crucify him: I find no case against him.” The Jews replied, “We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to be put to death, because he claimed to be Son of God.” When Pilate heard them say this, his fears increased. Reentering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus, “Where do you come from?” But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him,” Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have the power to release you and I have power to crucify you!” Jesus replied, “You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the man who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.” From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted,” If you set him free you are no friend of Caesars; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar”. Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgment at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” said Pilate to the Jews. But they shouted, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him.” Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar”. So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side, Jesus being in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews. This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, “You should not write King of the Jews, but that the man said, ‘I am King of the Jews’.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,” Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.” In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled: “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothes.” Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine stood there; so putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished,” and bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. It was the Day of Preparation, and to avoid the bodies remaining on the cross during the Sabbath - since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity - the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it true evidence, and he knows that what he says is true and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfill the words of scripture: “Not one bone of his will be broken;” and again, in another place scripture says: “They will look to the one whom they have pierced.” After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well the same one who had first come to Jesus at nighttime and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about one hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden there was a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Introductory Prayer: (As we live these Holy Days, let continually us renew the grace of our Baptism. Let us renew our faith in Jesus as our Redeemer, our trust in him as the source of all grace, our hope to live today in such a way that one day we will be with him in heaven, and our love for him for the enormity of his sacrifice to save us from the consequences of our sin.)

Petition: (Let us ask Jesus to help us discover and remove from our hearts and our lives any obstacle to his grace.)

1. Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. Only two disciples are with our Lord once Jesus is arrested. Judas has betrayed him, the others have fled out of fear for their lives. Peter and the disciple with him can only watch from a distance. They cannot be physically with our Lord. They follow cautiously, not with the passion and conviction as on that first day he called them when they left behind boats, their security and their livelihood, to follow him. Worse was to come: when he was challenged, Peter denied Christ and thus came face-to-face with the depth of his own weakness.

Then Jesus looked at him and Peter remembered his earlier pride and self-assuredness, his bravado and cockiness before the others. But he wept not because of his wounded pride, but the bitterness of his tears came from not being strong enough to carry through on his promises to Jesus. Peter’s eyes meet Jesus’ and he realized that if ever Jesus needed a faithful friend it was now, in the midst of trial and suffering, when he seems almost too human, a far cry from the transfigured Christ on the mountaintop. It is in these times that a man needs support and company, that he feels totally alone. What use now were Peter’s words and promises? They only added to the blow of the betrayal of Judas, and then the humiliations and physical tortures Jesus had to suffer, as he sees his chosen apostle, the Rock on which he would build his Church, succumb to weakness. Yet Jesus does not turn back or give up. Such weakness, only confirms for him the need for his sacrifice; our weakness does not make him abandon us but all the contrary. We need his sacrifice because without it we will not have life.

2. Woman, this is your son..., this is your mother. In the midst of such betrayal and weakness, one person alone was faithful. Mary’s unconcern for herself, her willingness to be known for who she was, her desire not only not to run away but to be there, close, to silently accompany and encourage her Son in his supreme sacrifice was Jesus’ one and only consolation at that moment. Mary’s fidelity drew John back to the foot of the cross. Jesus wants all his future followers to have the possibility of being led to him by his mother, no matter how many and difficult the obstacles. The cross would always be present in the life of his Church, we were going always to need Mary’s quiet strength, so Jesus from the Cross entrusts us to her by making her our mother. The mother will always be faithful to the son, Mary will always be faithful to us, but for her motherhood to bear the fruit Christ wants, we need to listen to the second part of Jesus’ words and actively take her to ourselves as our mother. She will care for us and keep us close to Christ, protect us and show us the way. We need to learn and practice her example by believing, hoping and loving as she did. Now is the time to invite her definitely into our home as our spiritual mother.


3. It is finished; and bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. The battle has been long and hard, and Jesus has won, though that might not as yet be clear to all. He has overcome every obstacle to the purpose for which his Father sent him to this earth. Nothing, neither the temptations at the beginning, the great battle of Gethsemane, the weakness of his apostles, the terrible sufferings, or the taunts of his enemies has deterred him. His example is the greatest ever, and he faced death on the cross to glorify the Father and save us. What else could a follower of his desire than to find in him the strength to go to the end, to be able to say, all has been accomplished or, like St Paul, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Tim 4, 7) What awaits anyone united to Christ who finishes the race is the crown of uprightness which the Lord will give on that day (2 Tim 4, 8). Going to the end means going to the cross, a cross in which we will find life.

Conversation: Lord Jesus, you have willed to unite me to you, to the cross, which is a cause of scandal to some and a folly to others. I know that there are few who follow the narrow way all the way to Calvary, but I promise I will do my best. I want to be with you until the end, and I pray that you will grant me the grace to be like Mary, to be there for you, even when all may seem lost and hopeless, at the foot of the cross, for it is only with your grace that this will be possible.

Questionnaire:

1. What usually causes me to leave Christ alone, and follow him only from a distance?

2. What have I done to take Mary as my spiritual mother?

3. Do I see my good resolutions through to the end?

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