Thousands turn up in churches to observe Good Friday

Abp John Wong raises the crucifix to bless the people at the veneration of the Cross, Good Friday, 30 Mar 2018, Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – As in previous years, thousands turned up in churches to observe the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, 30 March 2018.  Most churches across the archdiocese had the service at 3:00 pm and some had the service at a later time, according to pastoral need.  A collection was made for the upkeep of the Holy Land.

Good Friday is the second of the Easter Triduum. The summit of the Liturgical Year is the Easter Triduum—from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday. Though chronologically three days, they are liturgically one day unfolding for us the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.  The single celebration of the Triduum marks the end of the Lenten season, and leads to the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil.

The celebration of the Lord’s Passion consists of three parts, namely, the Liturgy of the Word, the veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion.

In this celebration of the passion and death of the Lord, the faithful listen to the words of scripture and strive to understand the true meaning of his sufferings and the mind that was in him.  Then they pray with his spirit for the needs of the whole world.  They worship the cross as a symbol of his triumph.  Then they enter into sacramental communion (the hosts are consecrated on Holy Thursday) with him who is their Saviour and Life.

According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the liturgy applies to Jesus’ descent into the night of death the words of Psalm 23/24: “Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, O ancient doors!”  The gates of death are closed, no one can return from there.  There is no key for those iron doors.  But Christ has the key.  His cross opens wide the gates of death, the stern doors.  They are barred no longer.  His cross, his radical love, is the key that opens them.  The love of the One who, though God, became man in order to die, this love has the power to open those doors.  This love is stronger than death.

Many parishes also had the concluding Way of the Cross in the morning, though some had it integrated with a Passion Play performance.

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