Holy Week 2017 – Good Friday

Instruments of the Passion with a relic of the True Cross

Today as we listen to the account of the Passion from the Gospel of John, we stand with the holy apostle at the foot of Our Lord’s Cross. There, we see the piercing of the dead Christ’s side with a lance, and the flow of water with His Most Precious Blood. John recalls for us the words of a prophecy which are fulfilled in this total outpouring of the Savior’s life for us: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

As we commemorate the Lord’s Passion today, we do look upon Him who was pierced for us, but we do not stop with a simple gaze. The flow of water and Blood has long been seen as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, likewise poured out upon the Church through the Paschal Mystery of her Lord. It is the Spirit which the prophet Zechariah speaks of if we read the wider context of the prophecy John cited:

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition; and they shall look on him whom they have thrust through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a first-born (Zechariah 12:10)

Each of us has received this same Spirit of God, and as in today’s liturgy we look upon Him whom we have pierced, we are indeed led to petition. After the Gospel is read, we offer up ten solemn intercessions for our world. With these words, it is as though we are begging the Father that Christ’s Blood not be shed in vain. Filled with the grace won for us by His death, we make bold to ask for conversions, for unity, for all the needs of the people of our times, believers and non-believers alike.

With renewed faith in the power of Christ’s Blood, let us confidently approach the throne of grace – that is, the Cross of Christ – to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help, for our own salvation and that of the whole world (Hebrews 4:16).

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