Category Archives: Good Friday

Why have we come to the cross? by Phyllis Cardona

Jesus on the CrossMeditation: Why have we come to the cross?
by Phyllis Cardona

Why have we come to the cross?
Are we among the curiosity seekers?
Are we still trying to figure out what is going on?
Are we here to reframe the events so that we can
maintain the status quo without challenging our beliefs?
Are we fearful and hiding in the shadows or
Are we looking for a leader, for someone to rely on?
Why have we come?

Why have we come to the cross?
Are we here to protest the injustice?
Are we here to argue with God,
and to wrestle with irresolvable issues?
Are we here to lay down some rage –
to figure out if we can ever forgive God
for allowing this to happen?
Why have we come?

Why have we come to the cross?
Are we here because we are immobile and
stunned by the suffering and pain of this
dreadful display of cruel and inhuman treatment?
Are we searching for the few remaining faithful ones
we can cling to to bolster our own faltering faith?
Why have we come?

Why have we come to the cross?
Are we afraid of what the hour of our own death will be like?
Are we afraid that all of our efforts will end in vain,
And that no one will be with us to bless us on our way,
to mourn our passing and to care for our loved ones?
Why have we come?

Why have we come to the cross?
Are we here to stand vigil with a dying friend?
Are we here to prepare the body for burial –
to wipe away the signs of a brutality
we can hardly bear to witness,
and to restore, in some way, a measure of reverence
and dignity that humanity cries out for?
Are we here to console his Mother and to
share in the silent communion of a final, loving gaze?
Why have we come?

Whatever the reason, we are here. Together we stand at the foot of the cross, not afraid of the reason why we are here, but knowing that we must be here to face all that is known and yet unknown because it is in this very place that God is powerfully present.

Thank you to Phyllis Cardona of Albany. A writer, retired catechist, and so much more, Phyllis generously shared some of her work with us this Lent and we are grateful.


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Good Friday 2010

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Lenten Reflections – Good Friday by Anonymous

Jn 18:1—19:42
Gospel Reflection

From Pilate’s Perspective

Before me,
I see a man come towards me.

I question to myself, ‘I have never seen this man before. I wonder why He is here? He looks as if He has done no wrong.’

I begin to question Him,

For that is my role.

I then realize that this man speaks the truth.
Why is He here before me?
This man doesn’t deserve the Crucifixion.
He’s one who deserves a better life then this.

I go out to the crowds,
Knowing that it’s tradition to pardon a man who’s to be put to death.
As I enter the crowds,
The man, Jesus, behind me,
I say to them, “He has no faults against Him.
However, there’s a custom that has you release one of your own.
Who shall I release?”

The people in the crowd told me to release a man, who was there,
Who was meant to be there.
In my mind,
I am shocked at these words.
But I know that I cannot do anything.

I have to follow the crowd’s words.
They know that if I release Him,
Caesar would be displeased.

I release the criminal,
Who should have been crucified.
The crowd became happy at this proposal.
In my mind,
I became disgusted on how these people treated an innocent man.
However, I could not show them.
No, I could never show what I really felt like.

For I am the Law here,
I am the one who Judges the right from the wrong.
I became disgusted with myself at allowing what took place to happen.
After the man,
The Innocent,
Left my view,
I stood off to the side.
I thought about what I had done,
It angered me at how I had blindly followed the people.

‘What if I didn’t follow them?’
I thought to myself in fear.
‘Would I have been killed for treason and hung? I guess I would have.’

I followed the crowd as they headed towards to where the Innocent would have been crucified.
I kept my face as placid as I would normally act.
It’s a good thing that I’m great at hiding my emotions,
I guess.
I saw Him get crucified,
I told the man,
“Write ‘This is the King’ on this stone,
Hang it over the man who’ll be crucified in the middle.”

I proceed back to where the Innocent was crucified.
I’ll admit to myself,
The one who hung in the middle was Innocent.
I will also say that it is I,
I have also handed Him over to His fate.

I may not be a great believer in fate,
Or destiny,
But as He was about to die,
I thought to myself,
‘Everyone here, who cursed Him to His death,
They’ll receive a wrath,
Much greater then my own.’

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Triduum 2009 – Good Friday

For so many centuries people have been spilling blood to get to God.But in the crucifixion it is reversed – God spills his own blood to reach out to us. This is to take away our old fear, that by spilling blood we try to appease an angry God. There is no such thing as an angry God – only an unconditionally loving God.
Richard Rohr, OFM

How can we appease an angry God, when it is God himself in human form that is the sacrifice?

So much of atonement theology pushes us into a fearful place where God must be satisfied with sacrificial offerings.

The only sacrificial offering that I think God may long for is for each of us to open our hearts and turn towards God.

Turn to God this Good Friday. Jesus reigns from the Cross, arms open, awaiting your response.

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Filed under Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, Good Friday, Richard Rohr, Triduum 2009

Triduum – Good Friday Leads Us Into The Tomb

Once again, we had a beautiful liturgy on Friday evening at St Edward’s. Upon entering, if you came in the main doors, Father Butler had once again assembled items that invited us more deeply into the experience, with all of our senses.

On the table we found symbols of the cross, of crucifixion. As Father said in his homily, there are many representations of the Cross, all slightly different. He spoke beautifully of two images of a crucified Christ, with a smile (a jarring image, isn’t it, but necessary) but I was not able to find pictures of them to share here. In fact this slightly twisted smile of Christ crucified wove beautifully with his homily story, which I will attempt to write about at another time.

Also, I was so happy to encounter a new friend from another parish, who came to attend our service. It was good to be in community with her and her other friend on this day. I look around and know so many people here in our large parish and I can’t believe that last year at this time I knew only one person at St. Edward’s… Father Lanese.

The service began. It always strikes me when the priest and deacons enter in silence and prostrate themselves before the altar. It is the ultimate antithetical symbol, right there with the cross. In our world, as in the culture of Jesus’ time and frankly of all time, power, prestige and position seem to mean everything to the world. To prostrate oneself on the ground before God and congregation is a symbol of real humility.

Do I think that every priest or deacon feels this sublime sense of humility every Good Friday? Maybe they do and maybe they don’t; I would think that one has many feelings in that position.

Why wouldn’t they struggle with their humility any less than the rest of us? After all, no matter the designation or ordination, we are all human. Yet, we must all empty ourselves and bow down before God. This is life’s work.

The readings were so well done and the choir was outstanding. I am always moved by how the RCIA candidates carry the cross in when that time comes. It made me cry a little and I was aware of the tears of others. Behold, behold – the wood of the Cross – the songs of the hymn are still in my head along with the reverent and slow process of carrying this cross.

Our service progressed and we got to the point of venerating the Cross. And suddenly something happened to to me… I felt strange and unsettled. My usual feeling of some kind of connection to God seemed to suddenly snap and go dark. I have re-written this sentence about 22 times now and no matter how I say it, I feel like it sounds so silly and self-indulgent. I don’t know how else to say it, so if that is how it sounds, so be it.

Has this ever happened to you? It has happened to me, but not so profoundly, or at least not so profoundly and sharply. God may appear faint and distant at times, but this felt distinctly different. And not good. In a rare moment, I decided that I might detachedly observe what this was and just go with it.

The feeling, or rather non-feeling was disturbing. It felt kind of like someone left in the middle of a conversation and I was left there alone in the dark. I left church feeling confused and irritable.

Perhaps I was in the Tomb? I don’t know. Again, I just tried to go with it.

At 11pm, I returned to church for Evening Prayer. At about 10:55 actually, I entered the semi-dark sanctuary, with our Cross at the foot of the altar, draped in red. There were 5 other people there, including Father Butler.

These two nights of Compline or Evening prayer have reminded me of how much I long for this kind of community prayer. If you have never attended, I would simply say that it is worth your time next time the opportunity presents itself.

Somehow, even in my tomb, a small chink of light came in, almost imperceptible. Some tears began to flow and while I still felt distant, I did not feel lost.

Which leads me to the long winded point of this piece… How do we enter the tomb and stay there? As if the Cross were not hard enough, the tomb is potentially worse. Kill me and get it over with leads to this place of… Well this place of nothing.

We as Catholics, as Christians live in the hope that we know what will come next. We know how the story ends. Yet we must relive this story all the time as our lives constantly leads us to crucifixions and subsequent resurrections. Over and over and over again.

Then this morning I read this piece by Rose Marie Berger, someone that I have had the opportunity to hear speak. What she remembers of her childhood Good Friday to Easter experiences is worth your time I think.

May this time in the tomb teach us, as Berger tells us in her writing…

Mother Teresa wrote, “the agony of desolation is so great” and “[God] is destroying everything in me.” Until finally, after 16 years, something changed.

Mother Teresa took on a discipline of “smiling at God” in the emptiness. Later, she was able to write, “I have come to love the darkness.”

Today, I pray to smile at God and learn to love the darkness. Check back with me- I have the feeling it will be even harder than I think.

And I think it will be pretty hard.


Filed under Father Butler, Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, Good Friday, humility, Triduum