Sacred Triduum: April 2011 Archives

The Church is silent. The Lord is dead; His mother and the Beloved disciple have buried the Lord. We carry on in sorrow, our hearts are quiet and searching for the one who made the promise that things would be different if we believed in Him. Holy Saturday is a distinct day in the Church. Good Friday totally transforms us from something old to something new, this is a time of patient awareness that it is not business as usual. If it is, if we can't see that our real lives are not the same, then we need to beg the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother to show the reasons why life is different now with Jesus crucified and in the tomb. 

Pope Benedict's meditation at the Colosseum lst evening gives us focus:

Via Crucis Colosseum April 22 2011.jpg

This evening, in faith, we have accompanied Jesus as he takes the final steps of his earthly journey, the most painful steps, the steps that lead to Calvary. We have heard the cries of the crowd, the words of condemnation, the insults of the soldiers, the lamentation of the Virgin Mary and of the women. Now we are immersed in the silence of this night, in the silence of the cross, the silence of death. It is a silence pregnant with the burden of pain borne by a man rejected, oppressed, downtrodden, the burden of sin which mars his face, the burden of evil. Tonight we have re-lived, deep within our hearts, the drama of Jesus, weighed down by pain, by evil, by human sin.

What remains now before our eyes? It is a crucified man, a cross raised on Golgotha, a cross which seems a sign of the final defeat of the One who brought light to those immersed in darkness, the One who spoke of the power of forgiveness and of mercy, the One who asked us to believe in God's infinite love for each human person. Despised and rejected by men, there stands before us "a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity, one from whom others hide their faces" (Is 53:3).

But let us look more closely at that man crucified between earth and heaven. Let us contemplate him more intently, and we will realize that the cross is not the banner of the victory of death, sin and evil, but rather the luminous sign of love, of God's immense love, of something that we could never have asked, imagined or expected: God bent down over us, he lowered himself, even to the darkest corner of our lives, in order to stretch out his hand and draw us to himself, to bring us all the way to himself. The cross speaks to us of the supreme love of God and invites, today, to renew our faith in the power of that love, and to believe that in every situation of our lives, our history and our world, God is able to vanquish death, sin and evil, and to give us new, risen life. In the Son of God's death on the cross, we find the seed of new hope for life, like the seed which dies within the earth.

This night full of silence, full of hope, echoes God's call to us as found in the words of Saint Augustine: "Have faith! You will come to me and you will taste the good things of my table, even as I did not disdain to taste the evil things of your table... I have promised you my own life. As a pledge of this, I have given you my death, as if to say: Look! I am inviting you to share in my life. It is a life where no one dies, a life which is truly blessed, which offers an incorruptible food, the food which refreshes and never fails. The goal to which I invite you ... is friendship with the Father and the Holy Spirit, it is the eternal supper, it is communion with me ... It is a share in my own life (cf. Sermo 231, 5).

Let us gaze on the crucified Jesus, and let us ask in prayer: Enlighten our hearts, Lord, that we may follow you along the way of the cross. Put to death in us the "old man" bound by selfishness, evil and sin. Make us "new men," men and women of holiness, transformed and enlivened by your love.

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Cantalamessa.jpgThe papal preacher preaches to the Pope each Good Friday. A distinction not given to many. The renown Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said many good things to think about, not a few points that are crucial to our own witness of the Gospel, a few are given here now. The link to his homily is given below.

There is a truth that must be proclaimed loud and clear on Good Friday. The One whom we contemplate on the cross is God "in person." Yes, he is also the man Jesus of Nazareth, but that man is one person with the Son of the Eternal Father. As long as the fundamental dogma of the Christian faith is not recognized and taken seriously -- the first dogma defined at Nicea, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and is himself God, of one substance with the Father -- human suffering will remain unanswered.

The response of the cross is not for us Christians alone, but for everyone, because the Son of God died for all. There is in the mystery of redemption an objective and a subjective aspect. There is the fact in itself, and then awareness of the fact and our faith-response to it. The first extends beyond the second. "The Holy Spirit," says a text of Vatican II, "offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery."

One thing distinguishes genuine accounts of martyrdom from legendary ones composed later, after the end of the persecutions. In the former, there is almost no trace of polemics against the persecutors; all attention is concentrated on the heroism of the martyrs, not on the perversity of the judges and executioners. St. Cyprian even ordered his followers to give twenty-five gold coins to the executioner who beheaded him. These are the disciples of the one who died saying: "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing." Truly, "Jesus' blood speaks a different language from the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24): it does not cry out for vengeance and punishment; it brings reconciliation."

Read the papal preacher's homily in full here: Fr Cantalamessa Good Friday homily 2011.pdf

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. After years of study, work and trying to find meaning in life, he still has a sense of humor. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic lay ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Triduum category from April 2011.

Sacred Triduum: April 2010 is the previous archive.

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