Good Friday is the Friday of Holy Week, which commemorates the crucifixion, suffering, and death of Jesus.  Good Friday is a fast day in our Catholic Church, and falls within the Paschal Triduum.
Liturgical Colour(s): Red (formerly black)

Type of Holiday: Fast day

Time of Year: Friday of Holy Week within the Paschal Triduum, and within the traditional 40 day Lenten Fast. The Friday before Easter Sunday.

Duration: One Day

Celebrates/Symbolizes: Jesus' Passion, Crucifixion, and Death

Alternate Names: Good Friday of the Lord's Passion, Great Friday

Scriptural References

Luke 23

Jesus Before Pilate

(Matthew 27:11-14; John 18:28-40)

And the whole multitude of them rising up, led him to Pilate.

2 And they began to accuse him, saying: We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ the king.

3 And Pilate asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? But he answering, said: Thou says it.

4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitudes: I find no cause in this man.

5 But they were more earnest, saying: He stirred up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.

6 But Pilate hearing Galilee, asked if the man were of Galilee?

Jesus Before Herod

7 And when he understood that he was of Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem, in those days.

8 And Herod, seeing Jesus, was very glad; for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him.

9 And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing.

10 And the chief priests and the scribes stood by, earnestly accusing him.

11 And Herod with his army set him at nought, and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him back to Pilate.

12 And Herod and Pilate were made friends, that same day; for before they were enemies one to another.

The Crowd Chooses Barabbas

(Matthew 27:15-23; Mark 15:6-11)

13 And Pilate, calling together the chief priests, and the magistrates, and the people,

14 Said to them: You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people; and behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse him.

15 No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him.

16 I will chastise him therefore, and release him.

17 Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day.

18 But the whole multitude together cried out, saying: Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

19 Who, for a certain sedition made in the city, and for a murder, was cast into prison.

20 And Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus.

21 But they cried again, saying: Crucify him, crucify him.

22 And he said to them the third time: Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause of death in him. I will chastise him therefore, and let him go.

23 But they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified; and their voices prevailed.

24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

25 And he released unto them him who for murder and sedition, had been cast into prison, whom they had desired; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

The Crucifixion

(Psalm 69:1-36; Matthew 27:32-44; Mark 15:21-32; John 19:16-27)

26 And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus.

27 And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him.

28 But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

29 For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck.

30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.

31 For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?

32 And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death.

33 And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him there; and the robbers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots.

35 And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God.

36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

37 And saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

38 And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.

42 And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shall come into thy kingdom.

43 And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shall be with me in paradise.

The Death of Jesus

(Psalm 22:1-31; Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; John 19:28-30)

44 And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

46 And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.

47 Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man.

48 And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts.

49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

The Burial of Jesus

(Isaiah 53:9-12; Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; John 19:38-42)

50 And behold there was a man named Joseph, who was a counsellor, a good and just man,

51 (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings;) of Arimathea, a city of Judea; who also himself looked for the kingdom of God.

52 This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

53 And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulcher that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid.

54 And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the Sabbath drew on.

55 And the women that were come with him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulcher, and how his body was laid.

56 And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the Sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

The Servant Exalted

(Philippians 2:5-11)

13 Behold my servant shall understand, he shall be exalted, and extolled, and shall be exceeding high.

14 As many have been astonished at thee, so shall his visage be inglorious among men, and his form among the sons of men.

15 He shall sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouth at him: for they to whom it was not told of him, have seen: and they that heard not, have beheld.

The Suffering Servant

(Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; John 18:19-24; 1 Peter 2:21-25)

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

2 And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightlines, that we should be desirous of him:

Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.

8 He was taken away from distress, and from judgment: who shall declare his generation? because he is cut off out of the land of the living: for the wickedness of my people have I struck him.

A Grave Assigned

(Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)

9 And he shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death: because he hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth.

10 And the Lord was pleased to bruise him in infirmity: if he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed, and the will of the Lord shall be prosperous in his hand.

11 Because his soul hath laboured, he shall see and be filled: by his knowledge shall this my just servant justify many, and he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong, because he hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked: and he hath borne the sins of many, and hath prayed for the transgressors.

 
 

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession.

15 For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.

16 Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.

The Perfect High Priest

(Psalm 110:1-7)

7 Who in the days of his flesh, with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence.

8 And whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered:

9 And being consummated, he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation.

John 18:1-19 

Jesus' Betrayal and Arrest

(Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53)

When Jesus had said these things, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which he entered with his disciples.

2 And Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place; because Jesus had often resorted thither together with his disciples.

3 Judas therefore having received a band of soldiers and servants from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them: Whom seek ye?

5 They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them.

6 As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he; they went backward, and fell to the ground.

7 Again therefore he asked them: Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.

8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way.

9 That the word might be fulfilled which he said: Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one.

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus.

11 Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

12 Then the band and the tribune, and the servants of the Jews, took Jesus, and bound him:

13 And they led him away to Annas first, for he was father in law to Caiphas, who was the high priest of that year.

14 Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

Peter's First Denial

(Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62)

15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest.

16 But Peter stood at the door without. The other disciple therefore, who was known to the high priest, went out, and spoke to the portress, and brought in Peter.

17 The maid therefore that was portress, said to Peter: Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He said: I am not.

18 Now the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves. And with them was Peter also, standing, and warming himself.

19 The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.

Other Scripture Reference

Matthew 26-27

Mark 14-15

John 17-19

Introduction

History

Good Friday is the Friday within Holy Week, and is a time of fasting and penance, commemorating the suffering, crucifixion, and death of the Lord. For Christians, this holy day commemorates not just a historical event, but the sacrificial death of Christ, which along with the resurrection, comprises the heart of the Christian faith. The Catholic Catechism states this clearly:

Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men (CCC 1992).

This is based on the words of St. Paul: "[Believers] are justified freely by God's grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood... (Romans 3:24-25, NAB). The customs and prayers associated with Good Friday typically focus on the theme of Christ's sacrificial death for our sins.

The evening (at sunset) of Good Friday begins is the second day of the Paschal Triduum. The major Good Friday worship services begin in the afternoon at 3:00 PM (the time Jesus likely died). Various traditions and customs are associated with the Western celebration of Good Friday. The singing (or preaching) of the Passion of St. John's gospel consists of reading or singing parts of John's gospel (currently John 18:1-19:42 in the Catholic Church). The Veneration of the Cross is also common in the Western Church. This is when Christians approach a wooden cross and venerate it, often by kneeling before it, or kissing part of it. In addition to these traditions, Holy Communion with the reserved host is practiced. In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, no Masses are said on Good Friday or Holy Saturday, therefore the reserved host from the Holy Thursday Mass is used. This is called the "Mass of the Pre-Sanctified."

Many Churches also offer the Stations of the Cross, also called the "Way of the Cross," on Good Friday. This is a devotion in which fourteen events surrounding the death of Jesus are commemorated. Most Catholic Churches have fourteen images of Jesus' final days displayed throughout the parish, for use in public Stations of the Cross services. Another service started by the Jesuit Alphonso Messia in 1732, now less common, the Tre Ore or "Three Hours," is often held from noon until 3:00 PM, and consists of seven sermons on the seven last words of Christ. This service has been popular in many Protestant churches. Good Friday, along with Ash Wednesday, is an official fast day of the Catholic Church.

The Eastern Churches have different customs for the day they call "the Great Friday." The Orthodox Church begins the day with Matins (Morning Prayer), where the "Twelve Gospels" is chanted, which consists of 12 passages drawn from the Passion narratives. In the morning, the "Little Hours" follow one after the other, consisting of Gospel, Epistle, and Prophet readings. Vespers (Evening Prayer) ends with a solemn veneration of the epitaphion, an embroidered veil containing scenes of Christ's burial. Compline (Night Prayer) includes a lamentation placed on the Virgin Mary's lips. On Good Friday night, a symbolic burial of Christ is performed. Traditionally, Chaldean and Syrian Christians cease using their customary Shlama greeting ("peace be with you") on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, because Judas greeted Christ this way. They use the phrase "The light of God be with your departed ones" instead. In Russia, the tradition is to bring out a silver coffin, bearing a cross, and surrounded with candles and flowers. The faithful creep on their knees and kiss and venerate the image of Christ's body painted on the "winding sheet" (shroud). For more information see The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church and The Catholic Source Book.

The celebration of Good Friday is ancient, and some of the practices associated with Good Friday are attested to by Egeria in the 4th century. The day gradually became a time of penance and fasting as the anniversary of the death of Christ. The name "Good Friday" possibly comes from "God's Friday," although the exact reason for the current name is unclear. The custom of venerating the cross on Good Friday probably originated in Jerusalem in the 7th or 8th century, and continues to this day in many Western Churches. Pre-sanctified Masses are referenced in the documents of the Quinisext Council, which was held in AD 692, which means the practice pre-dates the seventh century. The Council mentions pre-sanctified liturgies as occurring primarily during Lent. Various churches observe Good Friday in addition to Catholics and Eastern Christians. Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutherans all observe Good Friday to varying degrees.

Traditions, Symbols, & Typology

Traditions

Veneration of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross

Preaching/Singing of the Passion

Symbols

Cross and Crucifix

Old Testament Typology Foreshadowing the Crucifixion

Abel's Murder

Joseph's Imprisonment With Two Thieves

Martyrdom of Isaiah and Jeremiah

Isaac on Mt. Moriah

Good Friday Games and Educational Materials

Lent Crossword Puzzle (html)

Lent Crossword Puzzle (pdf)

Interactive Lent Crossword Puzzle
 

Mediation

Good Friday & the Crucifixion:

The Victory of the Cross

by: Marcellino D'Ambrosio, PhDD

Good Friday is the day of the Crucifixion, Passion, and Death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Was the cross a big mistake or was it in His plan?  If so, why?  What is its meaning?

Terrorism is nothing new.  It’s probably as old as the human race.

 In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians.  Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize initial resistance and subsequent rebellion.  To do this, they knew fear would be their greatest weapon.  Simple threat of death for those who resisted was not enough because many would prefer death to slavery.  So the Assyrians developed the technology to produce the maximum amount of pain for the longest amount of time prior to death.  It was called crucifixion.  This ingenious procedure proved to be very effective terror tactic indeed.

 It was the policy of the Roman Empire to adopt from conquered peoples whatever appeared useful.  They found crucifixion an excellent tool of intimidation.  The humiliation of being stripped naked to die in a public spectacle was particularly loathsome to Jews for whom public nudity was an abomination.  Incidentally, crucifixion was deemed so horrible that Roman law forbade that it be carried out on a Roman citizen, even a traitor.  It was reserved only for slaves and conquered peoples.

 Non-Christians have often asked a very good question–why do Christians adorn their churches, homes, and necks with a symbol of abasement, terror, and torture?  Why build an entire religion around the cross?

 St. Anselm (12th century) explained it this way.  Our first parent’s sin was all about pride, disobedience, and self-love.  Deceived by the serpent, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in defiance of God because they wanted to exalt themselves as His equal.  The results were catastrophic–loss of communion with God, each other, and the created universe.  The history of the human race has been a story in which each one of us, weakened by the impact of this sin on our nature, have followed its pattern, proudly refusing to obey God and love our neighbour.

 Anselm pointed out sin constitutes an infinite offense against the goodness and honor of God.  Having been created free and responsible, bound by the law of justice, our race is obliged to offer acts of love, humility and obedience to God powerful enough to cancel out the long legacy of disobedience, pride, and unloved and restore our friendship with him.

 The problem is, our wounded race could not begin to attempt such a task.  So the Father sent His Eternal Word to become man and accomplish the task in our place, to substitute for us.  For the immortal, infinite God to empty himself and unite himself to a limited, vulnerable human nature was already a feat of unimaginable love and humility. But for redemption to be complete, the hero would have to withstand the greatest fury that hell and fallen humanity could hurl against him–the cross..

 Surely, after the crowds he had healed and fed cried “Crucify him!” and his own apostles fled, Jesus would realize it wasn’t worth it.  Surely he would curse the ingrates and use his divine power to free himself as many suggested in their taunts.  But no.  His was love to the end, love to the max (John 13:1).  His death was the clear and undeniable manifestation of the triumph of obedience over disobedience, love over selfishness, humility over pride.

 Good Friday was the D-Day of the human race.  Since Pentecost, the power of Christ’s obedient, humble, unstoppable love has been made available to all who are willing to share it, producing martyrs and saints in every generation, down to the Maximilian Kolbe’s and Mother Teresa’s of our own era.

 So the cross is not only victorious, it is fruitful.  It bore the fruit of salvation in the loving act of Christ but has kept bearing new fruit throughout the ages.  That’s why, if you go to the Church of San Clemente in Rome, you’ll see one of the most stunning mosaics in the Eternal City.  The ancient instrument of subjection and death, wrapped with verdant vines supporting fruit of every shape and size, the triumphant cross become the tree of life..

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What are the Western Catholic Fast Guidelines for Good Friday?What are the Western Catholic Fast Guidelines for Good Friday?

Fasting means eating only one full meatless (no animal flesh) meal on this day. However, one may still eat a breakfast and even a lunch in addition to a full meal if the two additional small meals do not add up to a second full mealif the two additional small meals do not add up to a second full meal. Snacking is not allowed. Drinking coffee, tea, juices, etc, between meals is permitted on fast days. The requirements are slightly different for those of certain ages. Fasting is only required of those from ages 18-59, although parents are expected to teach their children the reasons behind their fasting, etc. Those with health conditions are excluded. Note that some Western Bishop Conferences, Eastern Catholic Rites, and Orthodox Christians have different fasting guidelines, so it is wise to check with your local parish about expectations. These are simply the minimum expectations. Additional forms of self-denial, within reason, can also be spiritually beneficial.
2.What is theWhat is thePaschal Triduum?Paschal Triduum?

The Paschal TriduumPaschal Triduum, often called the Easter TriduumEaster Triduum or simply the TriduumTriduum, consists of Holy ThursdayHoly Thursday, Good Friday, Holy SaturdayHoly Saturday, and Easter SundayEaster Sunday. This includes the Great Easter Vigil, the high point of the Triduum. The word "Triduum" comes from the Latin, and means "three days." It begins the evening of Maundy Thursday and ends at Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. So, the Triduum consists of three full days which begin and end in the evening. It technically is not part of Lent (at least liturgically), but Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are still reckoned as part of the traditional 40 day Lenten fast. The Triduum celebrates the heart of Christian salvation and faith: the death and resurrection of Christ, and is thus the high point of the liturgical year. For more information, visit our Paschal TriduumPaschal Triduum page..
 This page written by .
 Daily Meditation by
2013 
Don Schwager


and

Creighton University's Online Ministries
   
Powered byEMF Form Builder