Good Friday: Affirmation of faith through Jesus’ death on the Cross

Danuska Da Gama  NT BUZZ

Good Friday is a day of solemn mourning. People keep fasts and pray to the Lord. It’s a day of repentance and is a day that reminds people of Christ’s sacrifices.

On Good Friday, the statues in churches are stripped off decorations and ornaments, or a black cloth is used to cover the cross, paintings and statues. This is also seen in a few homes as a sign of mourning. In churches across Goa the Way of the Cross is prayed in the morning. Later in afternoon or early evening there is a service in the church, where the re-enactment of Jesus’ last hours and his crucifixion is held.

The priest delivers two homilies on the day and delves on Jesus’ suffering and death for his people. A procession is later carried out where the Statue of Jesus is laid in a coffin. Christians believe that through death Jesus took on all the sins of the world. Thus, it is only through his death (a perfect sacrifice), that people are redeemed.

Anika Braganca tells us that Good Friday is day that reminds us of how blessed we are to have a God who did not spare expenses to reach us, to make us right with Him. She tells us that a passage from the gospel of Matthew 27:32-54 describes why God abandoned Jesus on his darkest moment and about the ninth hour (three o’clock) when Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?—(My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?)”.

“But it had to be done. Jesus did not only carry our sins on the cross. He also experienced the abandonment of God so we don’t ever have to experience it,” she says.

Good Friday is a day of obligation and people who are otherwise irregular make it a point to attend the church service on Good Friday. “I am neither Holy, nor am I an atheist. I am not regular for Sunday Mass, but there is no chance I would miss the Good Friday service. It is one service that I spend time reflecting on the great mystery of faith which leads to the resurrection of Christ,” says Daniel Lobo.

With Maundy Thursday begins the Easter Triduum which marks the end of the Lenten season. During Lent, Pope Francis said that prayer, giving alms and fasting shouldn’t be done with hypocrisy. And thus, in Goa too several Christians say they may have not fasted and gone to Church as much as others, but they live lives in accordance with the values laid down in the Bible.

The Pope in his message, during Lent this year, said that spending time in fast, alms giving and prayer would be a waste if done with hypocrisy. It is the corporal works of mercy that God wants more.

Explaining the same to us a parish council member from South Goa tells us that fasting or giving alms ends provides a sense of satisfaction. “We feel better after we’ve fasted, but God ideally wants us to do is to make another person feel better. Then that becomes a greater fast,” he says, explaining the true meaning of Lent.

For many people this year, Lent was a time to practice humility. “Humility for me is a way of being humble in all I do. From turning deaf ear to loose talk and anger being spewed at me, to helping people around me, like sharing notes for exams or just being useful to those around for me is my way of being a good Christian,” shares Selza Fernandes.