Pastoral Ponderings For Holy Friday

We have come to the most difficult day of Passion Week. Today Christ's journey  becomes incredible difficult  and extremely painful  in these final hours leading to his death.
Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse and hangs himself early in the morning. 
 
Meanwhile, before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus endures  the humiliation of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. After many  unlawful trials, he is sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment known at the time.
 
Before Christ is led away, soldiers spit on him, torment and mock him, and put a crown of thorns on his head which pierces his skull.  He is forced to carry his own cross to Golgatha  (the Place of the Skull)  where, again, he is mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the wooden cross.
 
From the Cross,  Jesus makes  seven final statements: His first words are: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) and his last, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46) Then, at about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), Jesus breaths his last breath and dies.
 
By 6 p.m. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea take  Jesus' body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.
 
Today at the Royal Hours service which we celebrate at 11:00 am and at the Vespers and Entombment Service at 7:00 pm,  we have the opportunity to stand beside our Lord during the last moments of his life.  We will witness first hand not only the depths of his suffering, but more importantly, the heights of his self-emptying love for all of us – the entire world.
 
Please do your best to observe this day as quietly and prayerfully as possible and by attending Church. Please bring your children to experience these beautiful services and especially the burial procession.  Today is a perfect day to come to confession, to nail your sins to the Cross of Christ and experience the wondrous renewal that will follow . I will be available at 5:30 pm -6:45 pm and after Vespers for as long as it takes.  Thank you to all who have volunteered to stand guard at the tomb.  We still have many time slots available  Fri and Saturday – please add your name to the sign-up sheet in the Church Vestibule.   
 
May God strengthen us all on this difficult day.
 
With much love in Christ,  Fr. Peter
 

 P.S.  You can listen to today's reflection by Fr. Miloro ( on PC or droid phone) as read by Jed Schoucair by  going to this link:   http://holyghostphoenixville.org/lent

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