Well, do you?
If you don’t, I suggest a reading of the Passion in all four Gospels. That might give you a clue. But beyond that it’s about how Christ conquered death and freed us from sin. Jesus did something so incredibly fantastic that only God could have done it. And God did do it. It’s entirely mind-boggling and yet so profoundly simple that for over 2000 years we’ve recognized that fact in the celebration of Christ’s death on Good Friday. Death may be the end and yet it is only a beginning. There’s more but I’m not going to spoil the rest of the story.
Catholics remember and celebrate this conquering of death every time at Mass. We hear about a people waiting for a Savior, he is born, lived, we follow him into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, celebrate the Last Supper with Him and the Apostles, celebrate His death, and then His Resurrection all in an hour on Sunday. Holy Week affords us the opportunity to slow it all down and meditate and contemplate all these events at a much slower pace.
Yet even the Catholic Church understands that this daily celebration isn’t enough. We have to spend time meditating on each event individually rather than all together. We can get lost or even forget why and who we are supposed to be focusing on. Yet how many of really slow down and truly think about these events? Think about them outside of Lent and Triduum, outside of Mass? Do some of use even think of them at all? For how many of us, is Mass just a chore, something to check off the list with no engagement mental, spiritual, and very basic physical input whatsoever? Is it even something out of the ordinary or is it just like watching TV or playing a game on the computer?
We live in a world that lets us, hell encourages and orders us to, tune in, turn on, and completely drop out while posting inane information on Facebook and Twitter that makes it look like we are busy when in reality we’re so closed off from reality, from God, from other people. We’re stuck in our little make-believe worlds and wonder when we temporarily come out of them why things don’t go the way we want and escape back into our digital make-believe worlds. God, Jesus, people, faith all require actions from us not passive mindlessness that’s found in watching TV and posting on Facebook and Twitter. We apply our digital make-believe worlds to God and Jesus and faith and religion and get upset when they don’t match. They aren’t meant to match. God and make-believe are so vastly different that they shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence. So we find that we have trouble with conceiving of a God who would take on human flesh, become a baby, live in poverty, gather twelve men one of which would betray him, and die on a cross as criminal and abandoned by all his friends while his mother watched him die. It’s no wonder that Jesus becomes more myth-like, more a figment of the imagination, than the real flesh and blood human who suffered to save humanity from itself. We live in a world that doesn’t want truth as absolutes and where God would suffer the indignity and humiliation of being treated like a criminal so he could conquer death and free us to be with him for all eternity. Sounds nuts, doesn’t it. Yet that’s exactly what Jesus did 2000 years ago. And that’s the world we live in.
We live with people who don’t believe in sin while they commit it. Where people think killing unborn babies because it “inconveniences” the mother is a good enough excuse for murder. Where sex is advertised as god and children should be allowed to worship such a god at an early age. Where vices are considered virtues and virtues are considered vices. Where anger and hate for God is considered THE religion. Where children are led to the slaughter by willing parents. Where common sense is out and propaganda and feel good is is.
Yet that’s exactly why Jesus came and died on a cross. For sinners. For ALL OF US, not just a select few. He wanted to save all of us yet so many reject the gift he gave of himself because they have been seduced by the Devil. We are the ones that crucified him with our sins and our silence and our shouts of rejection and our support of evil. He conquered death but we sure don’t want that gift. That gift is free but it comes with a price. Yet His yoke is easy and His burden light. Yet so many would rather crucify him over and over and over again than put down the hammer and nails and accept what he did.
We need what Jesus did 2000 years ago now more than ever. We need to remember why he did and for whom he did. We can’t forget or trivialize or push it aside or put it off. It’s here and it’s now. It’s GOOD FRIDAY.