The meaning of the celebration
+ According to ancient tradition, no Masses are celebrated on Good Friday. Instead, the faithful gather to re-tell the story of the Passion of Jesus, to venerate the Cross, and to receive Holy Communion (using hosts consecrated during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday).
+ The liturgy of Good Friday begins and ends in silence, signifying that it is part of one great celebration that extends from the end of the Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper to the beginning of the Easter Vigil on Saturday night.
+ The Church invites us to reflect not only on the suffering and death of Jesus on this day, but to celebrate the Cross as the Tree of Life and the sign of our salvation.
“The cross… does not “stand” against the world but for the world: to give meaning to all the suffering that has been, that is, and that will be in human history. Jesus says to Nicodemus, “God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:17). The cross is the living proclamation that the final victory does not belong to the one who triumphs over others but to the one who triumphs over self; not to the one who causes suffering but to the one who is suffering.”—Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM. Cap.
Remember your mercies, O Lord,
and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants,
for whom Christ your Son,
by the shedding of his Blood,
established the Paschal Mystery.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Collect for Good Friday)