On Good Friday, the Church marks the Crucifixion and Death of our Lord. In a prayerful and solemn manner, the Church joins together in reflection on the great sign of our salvation, the Cross.
The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion offers us an opportunity to embrace this mystery.
Filled with simplicity and starkness, Good Friday is the only day of the liturgical calendar in which Mass is not celebrated. Rather, the Church celebrates a simple liturgy filled with three key elements: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and the Distribution of Holy Communion consecrated on Holy Thursday.
The Passion Story on Good Friday is proclaimed from the Gospel of John, who portrays Jesus as a humble king. This Gospel, read in three parts, helps us to remember that through the glorious Cross, we are given life.
The general intercessions on Good Friday take a different form, a more profound and ancient form of the intercessory prayer. We pray for ten specific intentions, both for the Church and for the world, for unity, for those in special need, and for a special eleventh intention created this year for those affected by the Coronavirus.
Behold the Wood of the Cross: With these words, the liturgy moves to the Veneration of the Holy Cross. Traditionally, clergy and faithful approach and kiss the Cross. During this time of pandemic, only the celebrant may kiss the Cross. Any other priests or deacons present will make a profound bow, along with the faithful at home prayerfully participating via livestream. In this gesture, we are paying the highest honor to our Lord’s Cross, the instrument of our salvation.
The Church concludes the Liturgy with the distribution of Holy Communion that was consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. During this time that we are unable to gather as a community, the faithful are encouraged to make a Spiritual Communion. Through this Act, we join ourselves spiritually with Jesus when we are unable to receive Him. To make an Act of Spiritual Communion, please see: https://www.ad-today.com/consider-spiritual-communion-when-you-cant-receive-in-person/
On this Good Friday, may we join with the angels, saints, and the entire Body of Christ in exclaiming: We adore you, O Christ and we bless you because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
This is one of a series of articles this week by Father Keith A. Mathur, director, Office for Divine Worship, about the special liturgies of Holy Week.