Glory to Jesus Christ!
Holy & Great Friday, 17th April, 2020
The reading is a composite consisting of:
Matthew 27:1-38, Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 27:39-54, John 19:31-37, Matthew27:55-61
21 When they were near Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, ‘Go to the village facing you, and you will at once find a tethered donkey and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, “The Master needs them and will send them back at once.” ’ 4 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: 5 Say to the daughter of Zion: Look, your king is approaching, humble and riding on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden. * 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus had told them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, then they laid their cloaks on their backs and he took his seat on them. 8 Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path. 9 The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed were all shouting: Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord! * Hosanna in the highest heavens! 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil as people asked, ‘Who is this?’ 11 and the crowds answered, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
The Expulsion of the Dealers from the Temple
12 Jesus then went into the Temple and drove out all those who were selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money-changers and the seats of the dove-sellers. 13 He said to them, ‘According to scripture, my house will be called a house of prayer; but you are turning it into a bandits’ den.’ * 14 There were also blind and lame people who came to him in the Temple, and he cured them. 15 At the sight of the wonderful things he did and of the children shouting, ‘Hosanna to the son of David’ in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes were indignant and said to him, 16 ‘Do you hear what they are saying?’ Jesus answered, ‘Yes. Have you never read this: By the mouths of children, babes in arms, you have made sure of praise?’ * 17 With that he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
The Barren Fig Tree Withers Faith and Prayer
18 As he was returning to the city in the early morning, he felt hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it and found nothing on it but leaves. And he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again,’ and instantly the fig tree withered. 20 The disciples were amazed when they saw it and said, ‘How is it that the fig tree withered instantly?’ 21 Jesus answered, ‘In truth I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt at all, not only will you do what I have done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Be pulled up and thrown into the sea,” it will be done. 22 And if you have faith, everything you ask for in prayer, you will receive.’
The Authority of Jesus is Questioned
23 He had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’ 24 In reply Jesus said to them, ‘And I will ask you a question, just one; if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this. 25 John’s baptism: what was its origin, heavenly or human?’ And they argued this way among themselves, ‘If we say heavenly, he will retort to us, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”; 26 but if we say human, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’ 27 So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And he retorted to them, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’
Parable of the Two Sons
28 ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, go and work in the vineyard today.” 29 He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. 30 The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the father’s will?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘In truth I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you, showing the way of uprightness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.
Parable of the Wicked Tenants
33 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. 34 When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. 36 Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them thinking, “They will respect my son.”
The Good Thief
39 One of the criminals hanging there abused him: ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well.’ 40 But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, 41 but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ 42 Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43 He answered him, ‘In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’ 
The Crucified Jesus is Mocked
39 The passers-by jeered at him; they shook their heads 40 and said, ‘So you would destroy the Temple and in three days rebuild it! Then save yourself if you are God’s son and come down from the cross!’ 41 The chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him in the same way, 42 with the words, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He has put his trust in God; now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he did say, “I am God’s son.” * ’ 44 Even the bandits who were crucified with him taunted him in the same way.
The Death of Jesus
45 From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ * 47 When some of those who stood there heard this, they said, ‘The man is calling on Elijah,’ 48 and one of them quickly ran to get a sponge which he filled with vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave it him to drink. 49 But the rest of them said, ‘Wait! And see if Elijah will come to save him.’ 50 But Jesus, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit. 51 And suddenly, the veil of the Sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, the rocks were split, 52 the tombs opened and the bodies of many holy people rose from the dead, 53 and these, after his resurrection, came out of the tombs, entered the holy city and appeared to a number of people. 54 The centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus, had seen the earthquake and all that was taking place, and they were terrified and said, ‘In truth this man was son of God.’
The Pierced Christ
31 It was the Day of Preparation, and to avoid the bodies’ remaining on the cross during the Sabbath—since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity—the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. 32 Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. 33 When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs 34 one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. 35 This is the evidence of one who saw it—true evidence, and he knows that what he says is true—and he gives it so that you may believe as well. 36 Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture: Not one bone of his will be broken; * 37 and again, in another place scripture says: They will look to the one whom they have pierced. * 
55 And many women were there, watching from a distance, the same women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and looked after him. 56 Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
57 When it was evening, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, called Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. 59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud 60 and put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Now Mary of Magdala and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre. 
On this day of Good Friday, Jesus willingly goes to his crucifixion. He goes as the Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the world was laid. Jesus, is crucified upon the cross, and we remember there were two trees in the garden of Eden. The tree of life and the tree of good and evil. The human race chose to take from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thereby condemning the human race to separation from God, separation from union and communion with our Creator. The human soul was now darkened by willful disobedience, rebellion against the command of God by giving into temptation of the evil one, the devil.
If Adam and Eve, would have partaken of the tree of life, while in a fallen state, sin would be eternal. God unable to allow sinful mankind to enter into eternity, the Kingdom of God, in a state of sinfulness, sends Jesus, the Christ, the messiah, the spotless lamb of God to take away the sins of the fallen world.
Jesus therefore was born as one of us, he is both fully God and fully man. Jesus is born into the race of the Jews, who by the covenant, established by God with Abraham and his descendants, would see the fulfillment of all the covenants, prophecies and laws in Christ. Jesus willingly lays down his life, dying upon the cross, and opens for us, the restoration of the human race to be in communion, union with God and once again enter the Kingdom of Heaven for eternity.
This Good Friday, let us recognize the greatness of our God. For Jesus laid down his life for those he loves, “us. “John Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
* Zc 9:9.
* Ps 118:26.
* Is 56:7; Jr 7:11.
* Ps 8:2.
* cf. Ws 2:18–20.
* Ps 22:1.
* Ex 12:46 and Ps 34:20.
* Zc 12:10.