The most solemn day of the year

Today, Good Friday, people around the world engage in prayerful remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross on Mount Calvary. For Christians, it is the most solemn day of the year.

Unfortunately, like during most of this past year, there is much additional suffering and death upon which Christians and non-Christians alike are pondering and agonizing, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past year has been a terrible “journey” of a scope hardly anyone ever imagined could happen in this time of medical breakthroughs often referred to as miracles. But yet, this planet has been victimized, and there exists no sign that COVID-19-related suffering and death will end anytime soon.

Scripture says Jesus died to atone for the sins of mankind, a point about which the faithful take comfort and reflect upon each Good Friday. Those attending church services today will be reminded of that as they remember the suffering Jesus endured.

But also, many people of the world are enduring great sorrow and anguish today over the lives lost and the people still suffering due to the coronavirus. Beyond that, there is the devastating realization that COVID-19 is destined to remain an unwanted factor in the world’s existence for much more time to come — probably, years.

Many people will spend today not only praying to the crucified Christ because of what he endured for others, but also with the hope that he will help the world fully eradicate this current scourge that has affected so many millions of people directly.

Actually, virtually everyone living on this planet has been impacted by the pandemic in some way, even if not directly by the virus itself. For those who have lost family and other loved ones due to the virus, the painful memories and sense of loss will remain ingrained in ways too numerous to fathom.

At the same time, no one alive today truly can imagine the suffering Jesus endured during the hours before he died. That suffering is not accurately shown on the “sanitized” depictions of Christ hanging on the cross that exist in churches — depictions that show only a minute extent of the wounds and torture Jesus actually suffered.

At the chapel at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, there is an expressive statue of the crucified Christ that provides what is believed to be an accurate depiction of that suffering. According to a nun at the college, it is believed that there are fewer than five of those statues in existence in the world.

Good Friday’s events have not escaped analyses. And, to Christians’ dismay, there are people who doubt common beliefs and faith associated with what happened on that day.

Still others view the Crucifixion from a perspective that probably most people don’t consider — that if Jesus hadn’t accepted death, death and the devil would have been victorious.

During the time of Easter 2019, Pope Francis told thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican to “enter into his (Jesus’) wounds and contemplate the love in his heart for you, and you, and me – for everyone.”

At this troubling time, when the pandemic continues to sicken and kill, reassurance of that love is truly necessary.


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