What do you think of when you see a crucifix? On Good Friday, we are invited to spend the day gazing upon Jesus Christ on the cross and meditating on what He has done for us and the price He paid for our salvation. Yesterday, on Holy Thursday, we celebrated the Mass of the Last Supper, during which Jesus demonstrates and foreshadows the giving of Himself by washing the apostles’ feet and instituting the Eucharist. “This is My Body, which will be given up for you,” He says. He also washes their feet, telling them to “love one another as I have loved you,” meaning “empty yourselves for one another as I have done and will do for you.” Good Friday is the physical fulfillment of these foreshadowings, where Christ literally offered up His body on the cross for our redemption and literally emptied and spent every ounce of strength, will, and drop of His Blood to come to our aid when we were going to be condemned because of our sinfulness.
Let’s take this into our meditation. Jesus introduces an interesting concept: that even as the Master, He is here to serve, not to be served. And He calls us to operate the same way, no matter what position we have or what stage we are in in life. That seems to be a strange concept to some, as it was to Peter, who initially said to Jesus, “You will never wash my feet.” You are the Master, Lord. It is us who should be washing Your feet and serving You, not the other way around. He didn’t yet understand that the giving of ourselves to others is what we are called to do and are created for. This calling has no hierarchical bounds. Jesus would teach this to all on Good Friday through the offering of Himself on the cross.
So, when you look at a crucifix, especially on this most solemn day, meditate on His broken Body and His Wounds, and the fact that He did it all out of love for us and service to us, and evaluate your own willingness to give of yourself to others in response to Jesus’s call.
Lord Jesus Crucified, have mercy on us!