Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Jesus dies on the Cross

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (23:46)
Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this, he breathed his last.


Jesus truly dies, because he is truly man. He hands over his last breath to the Father. O, how precious is that breath! The breath of life was given to the first man, and it is given to us once more, in a new way, after the resurrection of Jesus, so that we are able to offer every breath to him who gave us breath. What fear we have of death and how enslaved we are by this fear! The meaning and value of a life are determined by the manner in which it is given away. Even for the unbeliever it is not acceptable to cling to life, losing all sense of its meaning. And for Jesus, there is no greater love than that which leads us to lay down our life for our friends. Those who are attached to life will lose it. Those who are ready to sacrifice it will keep it.
The martyrs give the supreme testimony of their love. They are not ashamed of their Master before men. The Master will be proud of them before all humanity on the last day.


Jesus, you assumed human life so that you could give it away. In taking on our sinful human flesh, you, immortal King, became mortal. In accepting the most tragic and dark death, the ultimate fruit of sin, you accomplished the supreme act of complete trust in the Father. "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum."

Extract from the meditations prepared by Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop of Hong Kong, for Good Friday's Stations of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum, 21st March 2008. Pope Benedict XVI presided over the event.

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