Palm Sunday ushers in the Holy Week in the Church calendar, when the next seven days are known as Holy Monday, Shrove Tuesday, Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday (today), Good Friday, Black Saturday—all leading to a glorious Easter Sunday!
When our Lord Jesus Christ, riding a donkey, arrived in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, it was amid the jubilant swaying of palms and exuberant praises of “Hosanna!” Who would think that this same welcoming crowd would later shout the irreverent, cruel, hateful “Crucify Him!”
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is derived from the Latin word “command” and refers to Jesus’ commandment to His disciples, “Love one another as I have loved you.” On this solemn occasion, Jesus institutes the Holy Eucharist during the Last Supper with His disciples, breaks bread by saying “this is my body” and pours wine while saying “this is my blood.”
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
It was during this evening that the “Washing of the Feet” was performed by Jesus on His 12 disciples, teaching them the ultimate act of servant leadership: “To love and to serve.”
Jesus also foretells His death, at this dark side of Thursday, by mentioning one of the 12 will betray Him. Jesus then identified Judas Iscariot as the guilty disciple
Many Catholics are still in a quandary as to how “Good Friday” came to be, when in fact, the events that led to this “dark” day, were anything but “good.” In German, the day is even referred to as Karfreitag or “Sorrowful Friday.”
Some believe it came from an older name: “God’s Friday.” Regardless of its origin, the term Good Friday is perfect because the suffering and death of Christ, as horrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to redeem His people from their sins. Humanity today finds relief and salvation in Christ who agonized on the Cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to His Resurrection (Easter Sunday) and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace.
In review, Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the Crucifixion of Christ and death in Calvary. As part of the Paschal Triduum, it is observed on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover.
Also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday or Black Friday, the date varies from year to year, on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars.
Wishing you all a healthy and vibrant Easter Sunday on April 4!