Good Friday


Today’s Paschal Triduum reflection is from Fr. Dennis Gallagher A.A.,
Provincial Superior of the Assumptionists in North America

In a normal year, the world never fails to offer examples of human tragedy or natural disaster to sharpen our focus and deepen our meditation on the Cross. This year of pandemic is different only insofar as the sufferings are universal in scope and more immediately personal. None of us has been spared the loneliness, the disconnection and the sadness brought on by the world health crisis. If the effort to relate to the pain of the Cross has usually required some kind of imaginative projection, it has a different aspect this time around. The cross that we have been asked to bear puts us in right alignment with the mystery of our crucified God.

One of the great blessings of the Christian faith is that it engages every dimension of our human existence. Nothing is outside of its purview. This came home to me very powerfully on 9/11, when I presided at a hastily organized prayer service in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Assumption. The magnitude of that event precluded any effort to find words that would make sense of it. But just behind and above me in the sanctuary hung the crucifix, and never had I so palpably felt its presence, its power and something of its consolation. Besides praying for all the victims and perpetrators, gazing upon that cross in wordless adoration was the grace held out to us at that moment.

Good Friday is not for the faint of heart. It confronts each one of us with our participation in the brokenness of the world through our own sinfulness. We have to be able to look at this with as much clear-sightedness we can muster up with God’s grace. We can’t afford to remain on the sidelines. Otherwise, we run the risk of depreciating the depth of God’s love, who chose to enter the fray of human misery for our sake. This is my body given up for you. This is my blood poured out for you.