Good Friday at the House of Studies

April 7, 2012

“My sins are always before me. My sins,” said Fr. Andrew Hofer, O.P., in his Good Friday homily.  Using Psalm 51, Fr. Andrew emphasized our personal need for the sacrifice of Christ.  Fr. Andrew continued on to illustrate how the sacramental life of the Church flows forth from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  Concluding with a variation of the words of Saint Catherine of Sienna Fr. Andrew said, the blood of Christ is always before me. At the House of Studies, the prominence of the cross in the Good Friday liturgy reveals this to the faithful in a striking way, especially in the traditional act of veneration.  The Dominican Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters attending the liturgy, following the traditions of the Order, removed their shoes and made a three-fold reverence to the cross, ending in the dramatic pose of prostration before the crucifix. In his book, Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI writes about the cross,

The Synoptic Gospels explicitly portray Jesus’ death on the Cross as a comic and liturgical event: the sun is darkened, the veil of the Temple is torn in two, the earth quakes, the dead rise again. Even more important than the cosmic sign is an act of faith: the Roman centurion–the commander of the execution squad–in his consternation over all that he sees taking place, acknowledges Jesus as God’s Son: ‘Truly this man was the Son of God’ (Mk 15:39). At the foot of the Cross, the Church of the Gentiles comes into being. Through the Cross, the Lord gathers people together to form the new community of the worldwide Church. Through the suffering Son, they recognize the true God.

The Good Friday liturgy ends somewhat abruptly and the empty tabernacle stands as a clear sign that this is a time of waiting.  Thus the Church is left in expectation, longing for the joyful celebrations to come.

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