In the cycle of the liturgical year, the Sacred Triduum stands out in a class all its own: Holy Thursday as a day of unparalleled liturgical catharsis, Good Friday as one in which contrition cannot but pour out as tears; all of which reaches its pinnacle on Easter, the Solemnity of Solemnities. Holy Week catches us up into the drama of our redemption and God’s infinite love for Man—and it is this very theme which is the inescapable motif of the entire affair: love.
In the last discourse of Our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, He displays to them the love of His Sacred Heart in ardent, tender language; pouring out His love upon them to draw still more love from them than they had yet given Him. He washes their feet, as an example to them of humble service and, in so doing, shows them how the lover bends to the beloved, in all things seeking to serve and sanctify them. On Good Friday, at every turn He begs His Father’s mercy on His persecutors: He minimizes Pilate’s guilt, He pleads ignorance of the soldiers, the scant words His parched mouth can utter are spent in pardoning, consoling, and prayer. Even to Judas, the betrayer, one of the twelve, Our Lord does not withhold His compassion—He conceals his identity as the betrayer for as long as He can, and does not turn away from the treasonous kiss he bestowed upon Him. In every episode of His sorrowful passion, Our Lord withholds His mercy from no one—though many withhold themselves from receiving it.
Love it is that causes the Son of Man to offer Himself upon the Cross as a sacrifice to His Almighty Father, and the Cross ever after has been to us the revelation of the limitlessness of Divine Love. Love it is that made Mary Magdalene the first recorded witness of Our Lord’s resurrected body. It was the ardent soul, seeking where her Beloved had gone that stooped into the tomb, and for her devotion was given the sight of the Master. Love it was that Our Lord Jesus asked of Peter to undo his triple-renunciation, and love it was that was pledged in Our Lord’s promise before His Ascension to remain with us always, even unto the end of the world; a promise which He keeps in every altar of the world, in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Love it was that Our Lord Jesus asked of Peter to undo his triple-renunciation, and love it was that was pledged in Our Lord’s promise before His Ascension to remain with us always, even unto the end of the world; a promise which He keeps in every altar of the world, in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
As we rejoice in the jubilance of Eastertide, may we all bask the in the saving mysteries we have just liturgically commemorated: and which are commemorated in truth at every Mass. May the Incarnate Love, Crucified and Risen, plant His triumphal Cross within your hearts, and remain with you always.
Christus Resurrexit, Sicut Dixit!
Slideslow of Good Friday Blessing of the Cross