Good Friday

Friday March 29, 2024

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion Readings

The readings for Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion are the same for years A, B, and C:

  • First Reading: Isaiah 52:13—53:12: A prophetic passage in the Hebrew Bible that describes the suffering of a righteous servant who is despised and rejected by others but ultimately bears their sins and brings healing through his sacrifice. The passage is often interpreted as a foreshadowing of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and is considered a central text in Christian theology.
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31: These verses include the words spoken by Jesus on the cross as he surrendered his spirit to God. The passage reflects the psalmist’s trust in God’s protection and salvation in times of trouble, and emphasizes Jesus’ faith and ultimate victory over death.
  • Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 : Jesus is the ultimate high priest who sympathizes with human weakness and has made a perfect sacrifice for sin, thus providing a way for humanity to approach God with confidence. The passage urges readers to hold fast to their faith in Jesus, who has been appointed by God as the source of eternal salvation.
  • Gospel: John 18:1—19:42: A detailed account of the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The passage highlights the injustice and brutality that Jesus endured at the hands of the Roman authorities and religious leaders, as well as his ultimate victory over death through his resurrection.

Themes for Good Friday

On Good Friday, Catholics remember the death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is a solemn day of fast and abstinence.  Traditionally mass is not celebrated on Good Friday. Instead a service with a reading of the passion of Jesus Christ, veneration of the cross, and distribution of communion (consecrated on Holy Thursday) is held.

  • Suffering and Sacrifice: The readings highlight the immense physical and emotional suffering that Jesus endured during his Passion, as well as his willingness to offer himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of humanity.
  • Sin and Forgiveness: The readings underscore the reality of sin and its consequences, while also emphasizing the abundant mercy and forgiveness that Jesus offers to those who repent and turn to him.
  • Faith and Trust: The readings encourage believers to trust in God’s plan, even in the midst of suffering and adversity, and to have faith in the ultimate triumph of Christ over sin and death.
  • Compassion and Solidarity: The readings also emphasize the importance of compassion, solidarity, and service to others, in imitation of Christ’s selfless love and concern for humanity.
  • Hope and Salvation: The readings offer hope for salvation and eternal life through faith in Christ, and encourage believers to reflect on the profound significance of his sacrifice for the redemption of humanity.

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for Good Friday.

Share the Good News


Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross are a lovely Lenten tradition. It the devotion, we make the journey to Calvary with our Lord Jesus Christ, focusing on how he suffered for us and his interactions with those he met on the way. 

Prayerfully Read the Passion of Our Lord

We are all familiar with the Passion story. We hear it every year on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday. But when we read it at Mass, we read it at the same pace as the whole congregation.

Where Have You Been? (Reflection on the Passion of Jesus Christ)

Reflect on the sentencing of Jesus. It works well if one person reads the scripture and another reads the meditation. It includes a set of questions for small group discussion.

Lent and Triduum Cryptogram Puzzle

This printable cryptogram is a fun way to introduce youth to the vocabulary for Lent and Triduum. Each word is encrypted and definitions are given. Youth must consider the definition and then decrypt the word

First Person Stations of the Cross

This mediation will take youth through the way of the cross. They will see each station as if they were there. The prayers are meant to relate to their own lives.

Attend Good Friday Services

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. On Good Friday, Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who died to redeem us. There is no mass on Good Friday, but your local parish will hold a liturgy to remember this day.

Homilies and Reflections

Understanding the Holy Triduum

The feasts of Holy Week—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter—are fulfillments of the three spring Jewish feasts with which they originally coincided. We refer to the three great liturgies of Holy Week—the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening, Good Friday services, and the Easter Vigil—as the Holy Triduum.

The Empty Tabernacle of Good Friday

The tabernacle normally has a light that always shines on it, in addition to the vigil lamp that is always lit to remind us of the Real Presence. On Good Friday, though, there is no light and no lamp. The door is open and with its plain, empty, square interior it seems so dead and useless.

Why Do We Call It “Good” Friday?

It was on this day that the New Adam repaired the damage that the old Adam had done. It was on this day that the temple veil was torn in two. It was on this day that the gates of heaven were open to all.

More Thoughts

My Crosses

Good Friday is a solemn day for Catholics, as we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. This day calls us to reflect on the many crosses that we face in our own lives, and to consider the ways in which we can unite our own struggles with Christ’s sacrifice.

As we meditate on the events of Good Friday, we are reminded of the suffering that Jesus endured on the cross. We are called to remember that Jesus willingly took on this suffering out of love for us, and that his sacrifice opened the door to eternal life for all who believe in him.

In light of this sacrifice, we must ask ourselves: what crosses do I need to face today? What struggles am I enduring that I can offer up to Jesus in union with his suffering?

Hope in the Darkness

The events of Good Friday are incredibly difficult to comprehend, let alone to come to terms with. Jesus, who had spent his life healing the sick and the broken, was betrayed by one of his closest friends, denied by another, and handed over to be crucified by the very people he had come to save. It is no wonder that we feel such a deep sense of sadness and grief as we remember these events.

Yet, even in the midst of this darkness, there is also a sense of hope that permeates Good Friday. We know that Jesus did not simply die, but that he was also resurrected three days later. This is the very foundation of our faith as Catholics – that even in the darkest moments of our lives, there is always hope for a better tomorrow.

Why Did Jesus Die?

But why did Jesus have to die? In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded with God to take the cup of suffering away from him, yet he ultimately submitted to God’s will. Jesus’ death was not something he desired or sought out, but it was necessary to fulfill God’s plan for salvation.

However, it was not only God’s plan that led to Jesus’ death. Humanity played a role in his crucifixion. People resented and feared Jesus’ revelation of God’s love, preferring instead a harsh, predictable god whom they could control. They did not understand or accept Jesus’ message of love, and this ultimately led to his death.

So, the question we should reflect on is not “Why did Jesus die?” but rather “Why did humanity kill Jesus?” It is a reminder that we are all sinners in need of redemption, and that our rejection of love can lead us to do terrible things. Jesus’ death on the cross is a powerful symbol of God’s boundless love for us, a love that is out of control in its generosity and mercy. On this Good Friday, let us reflect on this love and seek to live our lives in a way that honors Jesus’ sacrifice.

Reflection Questions

  • What crosses or struggles am I facing in my life right now?
  • How can I unite my suffering with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?
  • In what ways can I offer up my struggles as a sacrifice for the sake of others?
  • What emotions do you associate with Good Friday, and why?
  • How do you feel when you reflect on the events of Jesus’ crucifixion?
  • Can you describe a time when you felt a sense of grief or despair, and how did you cope with those emotions?
  • How does the knowledge of Jesus’ resurrection give you hope during difficult times?
  • Do you think it is possible to experience both sadness and hope at the same time? Why or why not?
  • What does it mean to you that Jesus did not want to die but ultimately submitted to God’s will?
  • How have you seen people resist or reject love in your life or in the world around you?
  • What does it mean to you that humanity played a role in Jesus’ death?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for Good Friday

The cross expresses love, service, unreserved self-giving: it truly is the “tree of life”, of overabundant life.

Pope Francis

Anyone who turns away from the Cross, turns away from the Resurrection.

Pope Francis

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