Good Friday is the one day of the year that there is no Mass. The tabernacle is empty. There is no Jesus.
Good Friday is the day of the Passion – the suffering and Death of Jesus on the Cross.
There are many years that Good Friday prompts us to dig deep and examine our own sinfulness. For it was sin, selfishness, self-righteousness, greed, and pride that brought Jesus to the Cross.
But that’s not where we are this year.
This year we are suffering. We are grieving. We are physically isolated from community.
Many are sick. Many are unemployed. Many are overworked. Many are mourning.
So many disappointments. So many heartaches. So much lost.
This is the year we need to look to the Cross and know that we are not alone in our suffering.
This is the year we need to hear Jesus Christ, the Son of God, give us permission to cry out, “My God, My God, Why have you abandoned me!”
Although Jesus wasn’t ever actually abandoned by God (nor are we), in the depths of human suffering, it can sometimes feel like it.
Jesus was praying with Scripture. Psalm 22 laments pain and frustration with tremendous detail… and it then shifts. Around verse 21, the Psalmist begins to praise God’s Glory with confidence. We, like Jesus, can lament to God with vivid description and still be People of Faith.
Unable to gather as a community, unable to receive the gift of God’s grace in the Sacraments, unable to pray together as the Body of Christ in our Churches… it does feels very alone.
The tabernacle is empty. The Church is empty. This is our very uncomfortable reality, feeling the longing and loss on Good Friday.
If this – the suffering, longing, and loss of Good Friday – is where you are, know that you are not alone… nor are you weak in your faith. Look to the Cross and know that you are not alone.
The essence of our faith is trusting in the knowledge that the suffering and Death of Good Friday is not the end of the story. But it is where we are right now… at least for today.
Stations of the Cross
Inspired by the Guadalupe Radio Network, this morning residents of Nassau Bay, TX quickly and creatively developed a walking/driving/biking version of Stations of the Cross that allows for social distancing and the sense of journeying in prayer. There are 14 total homes, each will have a sign placed out front with the name and image of the Station, with a corresponding Scripture passage and the address of the next Station. Click for a printable Worship Aid and Map of Locations.
The tabernacle at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church was designed with doors that open to the sanctuary on one side, and the stained glass image of the Last Supper on the other. With gratitude to Mark Evangelista for the photo of the empty tabernacle opening to the hand of Christ offering the bread.