Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, is the day on which Christians observe the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary, a site just outside of Jerusalem.
It is observed during the holy week as part of the ‘Paschal Triduum’ on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday.
It is said that Jesus Christ was arrested and then made to walk with the cross on which he was later crucified. He suffered on the cross for six hours, and in the final three hours, when it turned completely dark, his spirit left his body. Jesus’ body was wrapped and taken by Joseph of Arimathea and placed in his own new tomb. According to Matthew 28:1, “After the Shabbat, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb”. “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said…” (Matt 28:6)
From the early days of Christianity, Good Friday was observed as a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting.
In Nigeria, this year’s commemoration has come at a time when the citizens are not only experiencing severe economic hardship, but are making immense sacrifice to get basic necessities and the mother of all, insecurity.
However, the Rev. James Martin, S.J., author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage (HarperOne), writes that Jesus’ suffering and death almost 2,000 years ago are very relevant to our 21st-century lives. He says Good Friday teaches us that;
- Physical and emotional suffering are part of life;
- Suffering isn’t always the result of sin and;
- Suffering isn’t the last word.
“The story of the Passion is not simply of a man being brutally tortured, nailed to a cross and executed by the Romans. It’s the story of a man who turns himself fully over to the Father’s will, trusts that something new will come out of this offering and receives the astonishing gift of new life.”
Today, the Church invites us to take up Jesus’s journey to the cross. The road is uncomfortable, but it isn’t fruitless. In this journey, we will experience hardships and sufferings, but we, too, will experience the love that makes us whole, sets us free and makes our Easter joy complete.