Last night, as we began the sacred Triduum, we celebrated the Last Supper and the washing of the feet, ending with the transfer of the Eucharist. The Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the tabernacle for adoration. After Mass, the altar was stripped and the crosses were covered.
As we come to Good Friday, we will gather this evening for the reading of the Passion of John, a series of intercessory prayers, Veneration of the Cross and a communion service. There is no gathering song or closing song, as this is the second part of what is considered one extended liturgy that continues from Thursday evening through the Easter Vigil. Because there is no mass tonight, we will use bread that was consecrated at mass last evening. There is also no precious blood distributed on Good Friday.
The service is very solemn, and the use of instruments is minimal. The organs is not used, nor are other instruments that are used for color. We use the piano when needed to help lead the congregation, but much of the music is sung a cappella. The vestments worn are red, symbolic of Christ shedding his blood for us.
The readings are the same every year, including the beautiful psalm, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” We read the Passion according to John on Good Friday every year, although the Passion accounts read on Palm Sunday of our Lord’s Passion alternate according to the 3 year cycle of readings. Each time I hear the words proclaimed near the end of the Passion reading where Jesus says “’It is finished,’ and bowing his head, he handed over the spirit,” I am moved beyond words at this sacrifice.
It is easy to go about our daily lives, taking for granted the sacrifice that was made for us without really thinking about it, but each time I hear this read, and we take a moment to pause and kneel, it is a wonderful reminder of how much each of us is loved. What an incredible moment this is to know that we are loved so much by God, that he gave his only Son for us.
I encourage you to come to be a part of this service tonight and take some time to reflect on the wonderful gift that each of us has of God’s never ending love and mercy in our lives.
Director of Music/Worship
St. Monica-St. George