All my dearly beloved ones in Christ,
Good Friday , we partake in the commemoration of the last few hours of our Savior’s earthly life. That culminated with His Crucifixion and eventual death. This Holy Friday is one of the holiest of days for Christendom.
“ CHRIST SA-VED US BY PASSION AND LOWLINESS
LET US, KNEEL AND ADORE HIM THIS MORNING “
Good Friday is the time of meditation and reflection, a time for hope of renewal, forgiveness of our sins and an opportunity to grow in holiness. Today the Crucified Christ on Calvary evokes images in our minds , the periods of intense suffering and the most torturous painful in the life Jesus. Good Friday : third hour Sedro we pray, “On this day of Friday, Adam was expelled from Paradise and sent exile. But You, O Lord, by Your grace and mercy o him, upon his miserable fall. On this Friday, You came for passion, cross and death. On this Friday, You gained victory for our race which was conquered in Eden. On this Friday, while offering unceasing praise, the Holy Church says: Glory to You, Christ God, who descended by way of dispensation for great humility for us. Glory to You, for might and power belongs to You. Thousand and thousands times glory to You . Myriads and myriads glory to You, and to Your Father and to Your Holy Spirit. “
Remember, the Message of Cross. 1 Corinthians 1: 18 says: “ FOR THE MESSAGE OF CROSS IS FOOLISHNESS TO THOSE WHO ARE PERISHING, BUT TO US WHO ARE BEING SAVED IT IS THE POWER OF GOD. “ Jesus transformed the Cross. Until then Cross is a SYMBOL of hope and victory.
The events followed on Good Friday.
In the morning, the Sanhedrim delivers Jesus to Pontius Pilate and finally Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified.
(St. Matthew 27: 25-26); Military mocked Jesus, the Way of the Cross and crucified between two criminals. ( St. Matthew 27: 32-44 ); the Last 7 Words and Death of Jesus and the Burial.
Let us meditate through the Last 7 sayings.
1st saying is the power of forgiveness. ( St Luke 23:34 ); 2nd saying is the power of mercy( St. Matthew 23: 43); 3rd saying is the power of relationship ( St. John 19:26 ); 4th saying is the power of comfort ( St. Matthew 27:45, St. Mark 15:34 ); 5th is the power of spiritual satisfaction ( St. John 19:28 ); 6th saying is the power of good end. (St. John 19:30 ); 7th saying when Jesus had cried with a loud voice: “Father into Your hands I commit My Soul, having said this, He breathed His Last. “
May this Good Friday bring us healing, forgiveness and freedom from sins and passions that enslave us. May God enable us to understand value His suffering and sacrifice. May God give us the power to bear the sufferings that engulf us. Let us kiss the CROSS and making the sign meaningfully. May God bless us to recognize WHO WE ARE.
The Burial of Jesus
( St. Matthew 27:57-61; St. Mark 15:42-46; St. Luke 23: 50-56; St. John 19: 38-42 )
In the evening, Arimathea Joseph approached Pilate to release Jesus's Body . After released, wrapped it in clean, fine linen and placed it in his new tomb, which had cut into the rock.
“ Righteous was Joseph, Hailing from “ Ramah”,
He ran to Pilate, pleading Jesus Body……to En-tomb,
Remember Him to me, so that I may be blessed.”
Holy Saturday evening Sedro we pray: “You were laid in the grave like a dead and You were placed in a new tomb hewn out of the rock. Then all the terrible Angels of heaven came down to honor Your lordly entombment. They came down towards Your friends and taught the hymn of victory, saying: “ Holy art Thou O God; Holy art Thou O Almighty; Holy art Thou O Immortal. “ They( Joseph from Arimathea and Nicodemus ) added: ‘ He who was crucified for us , have mercy upon us. Remember , we also with right faith this Holy Trisagion
( St Matthew 27: 57-61; 1st Peter 3:19 )
Holy Saturday teaches the great theme - LIFE AFTER DEATH. The great expression of our life after death is through Raise of Jesus from GRAVE. Remember, If death is the end of everything, then pleasure seeking life is the goal, eat-drink. But His Resurrection conquered death and sting of death. 1Peter 3:19 says: “ So Jesus went and preached to the Spirits in Prison those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat.” Also the story of Lazarus and rich man reflects this great theme.
May God help us to be prepared for ETERNITY AFTER OUR DEATH. Amen.
God bless you all.
V. Rev. Dr. Varughese Plamthottathil Cor Episcopos
Vicar and President of St. Baselios Orthodox Church, New York, U.S.A.