How Do You Commemorate Good Friday?

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen famously stated, “Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.”  What did he mean by that and what’s good about Good Friday? Find out in today’s message.

Reverend Billy Graham once said, “We call it Good Friday because on that day salvation became a reality.” As Christians, we believe Jesus became the sacrificial lamb when He freely offered His own life to pay the price for our sins.

It could be said that it was a terrible Friday because our Lord and Savior was tortured, humiliated, and put to death. But rather than being known as Terrible Friday, it is known as Good Friday because through His death, Jesus nailed the pain and shame of our sins to the cross. We also know that without Good Friday, there would have been no Easter Sunday.

This message is being published during Holy Week. Holy week kicks in high gear on Maundy Thursday with the remembrance and commemoration of the washing of feet and the Last Supper. On Good Friday, we reflect on the tragic reality that our collective sins nailed Jesus to the cross. And, of course, on Easter Sunday we will celebrate Christ’s victory over death.

In Numbers 21:9 it says, “Accordingly Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.”  In a similar fashion in John 12:32 Jesus says, “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” In 1 Corinthians 1:23 Paul states, “We proclaim Christ crucified.”  Gazing on the serpent saved the people from death by snake bite. We gaze on Jesus on the cross because we know He saved us from our sins.

These 4th Day Letters are read weekly by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. As Christians, we celebrate many things differently. Good Friday is one of those things. Today, I will attempt to find consensus regarding Christ’s saving actions on Good Friday.

Catholics usually use crucifixes and most non-Catholics usually use empty crosses, as a reminder of what happened on Good Friday. Together, we agree that Jesus died on the cross. Some non-Catholics feel that Catholics place too much focus on the death of Jesus on Good Friday rather than on His resurrection. Some feel that Christ should not be depicted on the cross because He won victory over it. Catholics keep Jesus on the cross, knowing full well He won victory over the cross, but they never want to forget the pain and shame He endured for their sins.

While some aspects of Good Friday are celebrated differently, we share a great deal more in common. All Christians realize that the crucified Christ saved us from our sins on Good Friday and the glorified Christ saved us from death on Easter Sunday. Hopefully, we can all agree that Christ was both the Paschal sacrifice and the sacrifice of the New Covenant. He substituted His obedience for our disobedience. And finally, His sacrifice was the source of eternal salvation. Through His death on the cross, Christ became the one mediator between God and man.

Personally, I think it is important to depict and remember Jesus at each of the various stages of His life. Together, we all believe that Jesus’ time on earth took Him from the manger, through the cross and ultimately to His resurrection. We all believe in a crucified and glorified Christ. As Christians, we should place our focus on both the death and resurrection of our Lord. This is not an either or issue. It is a both-and issue.

Now during Holy Week, I want to do something different. I am asking you for your participation. Rather than me continuing to write my thoughts, I am asking you to share yours. We are a diverse group of Christians who all love the Lord, but we each practice our faith traditions in our own unique ways. Being respectful of the views of everyone, I am inviting you to share how you commemorate Holy Week. Please share what Good Friday means to you. When you reflect on Jesus being nailed to the cross where do your thoughts take you?  Next week, we will collectively reflect on the resurrection of our Lord.

Together through this sharing, it is my hope that we can all learn from each other and all grow in our love for the Lord.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the life, death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ. I remain painfully aware that I am the one who deserved to die due to my sins. I am forever in the debt of your Son who nailed my sins to the cross . No one has greater love than to lay down His life for a friend. Amen! 


As always, I love to hear from you. You can email by clicking here. To share your thoughts on today’s message, please use the comment section below.

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Brian Pusateri
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  1. Michael T. Schaefer on April 7, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Good Friday Reflection,
    For me it has been a challenge through the years working at trying to grasp, understand & connect with the event. I know the accounts in Sacred Scripture & other things I have read. So I reflect on my feelings. Am I grateful, were do I stand when reliving the Crucifixion in my mind. Am I a soldier or a disciple, a possible bystander? A prayer I have prayed today is: We Adore Thee O Christ & we Bless Thee Because By Thy Holy Cross Thou Hast Redeemed The World.
    God bless,
    Michael T.

  2. Mellinda McManus on April 7, 2023 at 9:14 am

    I read this today on Good Friday, I’ve read through all my other daily meditations this morning and when scrolling through my emails cleaning out my inbox I realized I didn’t read yours from Tuesday. What a gift. You gave me so much to think on. From Fulton Sheen’s quote “There is no Easter without Good Friday” to your quote “ He substituted His obedience for our disobedience.“ Thank you again for sticking with us week after week. You are a gift to us all. My hope is today to attend a 3PM service (which I’ve never been able to do) today my husband and I both took today off. Last night’s Holy Thursday Mass was beautiful also. May our Good Friday lead us all to a Blessed Easter Sunday celebrating Jesus overcoming death! Alleluia! 🕊️

  3. Russ Smith on April 6, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    Blessings, Brian. Thanks for the commentary and asking for input. Here are a couple of my thoughts.

    Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again pretty much says it all about Easter.

    One of the more meaningful Good Friday hymns is at the end of this cantada.

    Jesus gave us the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price. We would do well to not waste it.

  4. Tony Prisland on April 5, 2023 at 6:43 am

    Good Friday is such a special day as a Christian. As I reflect on the cross how can I not be overwhelmed by Christ’s sacrifice? During the various church services this week when I hear the reference to what He did for “US,” I try to mentally change that to “ME.” We know He went to the cross for the sins of all of US, but the refection becomes more impactful when realizing He did it for ME. What a friend we have in Jesus!

  5. Lou Lentini on April 4, 2023 at 10:56 am

    I’ve preached for many years that we cannot have an Easter Sunday without a Good Friday. With three empty crosses on the hill, only the middle one brought us salvation because Jesus hung and died on it. Some be people can’t view it because it is too graphic. Actually all crucifixes I have ever seen are too sterilized due to our sensitivities. If He went through it, we should have the guts to look upon Him. He will bear the nail imprints for eternity.

  6. Jim Nolan on April 4, 2023 at 8:58 am

    I always thought of Good Friday as a sad day until a few years ago while I was volunteering at our local hospital, Sarah, a Muslim, asked what Good Friday was. I explained that Christ died on the cross on Good Friday. In astonishment she asked, “ and this is good?” I then explained how we believe that Good Friday lead to Easter. Sarah’s question helped me to see Good Friday differently.

  7. Patty McConnell on April 4, 2023 at 3:01 am

    Regarding the crucifix or the empty cross, I prefer the resurrected Christ on the cross. It is a more complete story and symbol of what happened. But it doesn’t end there either.
    During the time leading up to time of the Christ’s Ascension, He promised the descent of the Holy Spirit. Back in those days, they had Jesus in the flesh. We now have Him with us much more powerfully through His Holy Spirit. What a wonderful gift God gave us through the Passion and Death of Jesus, His Resurrection, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit which would be with us to the end of time! Happy Triduum everyone! Patty

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