On the night of the Last Supper, after sharing bread and wine and telling his disciples they were actually sharing his body and blood, Judas betrayed Jesus. The following morning, Jesus was brought before the Jewish cleric, Annas, who condemned him for blasphemy. Jesus was sent to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province, who questioned him.
Pontius Pilate nor King Herod found reason to condemn Jesus. However, ultimately Pilate issued the order to crucify Jesus to avoid a riot. Jesus was convicted on the charge of proclaiming himself King of the Jews.
Jesus was flogged, as was the customary practice before the brutal crucifixion. He was also spat upon, beaten with a rod, stripped in front of the military battalion, and forced to wear a “regal robe and crown of spiky thorns in mockery.
Bloody and weak, he then dragged his cross to Calvary and was crucified. Above his head was posted a sign that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, which is commonly abbreviated in Latin as “INRI” (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum).
The sky became dark. A soldier offered Jesus a sponge with sour wine mixed with gall, a weak painkiller. Jesus spoke his last words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” With his last breath, the earth quaked. Jesus’ dead body was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb.
This is not a “story.” It’s our history and the greatest illustration of God’s love for us. Show gratitude for Christ’s suffering for our salvation with fasting, pray, and sacrifices. Spend time with the Lord in silence, especially between the hours of noon and 3:00 in the afternoon.
Church shows us how to do this as there is no Mass or celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday. (However, a liturgy with communion consecrated on Holy Thursday may be performed.)
In mourning, devotional art is removed or covered, the altar is bare, and the tabernacle remains open. No bells or musical instruments are heard from Holy Thursday until the Alleluia at the Easter Vigil. The only music allowed is an unaccompanied chant.
And now, we wait.