Christ Crucified by Diego Velazquez, ca. 1631AD.
Today is Good Friday -- good, because on this day, the work of our salvation was accomplished. On this day, Our Saviour completed His Passion and Sacrificed Himself for the redemption of mankind. It is a most solemn day -- marked with fasting and abstinence -- but a day of joy, as our salvation is at hand. The Christian world has ever stopped commerce and worldly things on this day, in honor of that Sacrifice, and of Our Divine King, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
For more on the history and customs associated with this day, you might consult:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Good Friday
Fish Eaters: Good Friday
This site presents a detailed breakdown of this time piece of the Passion: Passion Clock
It is traditional, on this day, to read both the Passion according to St. John, which I present below, and to ponder the Stations of the Cross.
The Stations of the Cross have a rich history, and draw our minds to the physical location of the events of this day: Jerusalem. For more in the history of the Via Crucis, you might note: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Way of the Cross & for customs and a version of the Way of the Cross: Fish Eaters: Stations of the Cross
Of course, the culmination of these events take place on the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Order of Friars Minor, the Franciscans, the Latin custodians of the Holy Sites, have a wonderful site presenting a virtual tour of this most holy place, which is well worth taking: Church of the Holy Sepulchre
as they do for all of the Stations of the Cross:
Way of the Cross in Jerusalem
It is today that, in the Pre-sanctified liturgy of Good Friday, the Passion of Jesus Christ according to St. John is presented. It now follows, from Chapters 18 & 19:
"Chapter 18:1 All this Jesus said, and now, with his disciples, he went out across the Cedron valley. Here there was a garden, into which he and his disciples went. 2 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place well; Jesus and his disciples had often forgathered in it. 3 There, then, Judas came, accompanied by the guard, and officers sent by the chief priests and Pharisees, with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 So Jesus, knowing well what was to befall him, went out to meet them; Who is it, he asked, you are looking for? 5 Jesus of Nazareth, they answered; and he told them, I am Jesus of Nazareth. And there was Judas, his betrayer, standing in their company. 6 When he said to them, I am Jesus of Nazareth, they all shrank back, and fell to the ground. 7 So, once more, Jesus asked them, Who is it you are looking for? and when they said, Jesus of Nazareth, 8 he answered, I have told you already that I am Jesus. If I am the man you are looking for, let these others go free. 9 Thus he would make good the words he had spoken to them, I have not lost any of those whom thou hast entrusted to me. 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear; Malchus was the name of the servant. 11 Whereupon Jesus said to Peter, Put thy sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink that cup which my Father himself has appointed for me?
12 And now the guard, with their captain, and the Jewish officers arrested Jesus and pinioned him. 13 They led him off, in the first instance, to Annas, father-in-law of Caiphas, who held the high priesthood in that year. 14 (It was this Caiphas who had given it as his advice to the Jews, that it was best to put one man to death for the sake of the people.) 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, with another disciple; this disciple was acquainted with the high priest, and went into the high priest’s court with Jesus, 16 while Peter stood at the door without. Afterwards the other disciple, who was the high priest’s acquaintance, went out and spoke to the door-keeper, and so brought Peter in. 17 This maid-servant who kept the door asked Peter, Art thou another of this man’s disciples? and he said, Not I. 18 It was cold, and the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, and stood there warming themselves; there Peter stood too, warming himself with the rest.
19 And now the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples, and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, I have spoken openly before the world; my teaching has been given in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews forgather; nothing that I have said was said in secret. 21 Why dost thou question me? Ask those who listened to me what my words were; they know well enough what I said. 22 When he spoke thus, one of the officers, who was standing by, struck Jesus on the cheek; Is this, he said, how thou makest answer to the high priest? 23 If there was harm in what I said, Jesus answered, tell us what was harmful in it; if not, why dost thou strike me? 24 Annas, you must know, had sent him on, still bound, to the high priest Caiphas.
25 Meanwhile Simon Peter stood there, and warmed himself. So they asked him, Art thou, too, one of his disciples? And he denied it; Not I, he said. 26 Why, said one of the high priest’s servants, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, did I not see thee with him in the garden? 27 Whereupon Peter denied again; and immediately the cock crew.
28 And now they led Jesus away from the house of Caiphas to the governor’s palace. It was morning, and they would not enter the palace themselves; there was the paschal meal to be eaten, and they must not incur defilement. 29 And so Pilate went to meet them without; What charge, he asked, do you bring against this man? 30 They answered, We would not have given him up to thee, if he had not been a malefactor. 31 Take him yourselves, Pilate said to them, and judge him according to your own law. Whereupon the Jews said to him, We have no power to put any man to death. 32 (This was in fulfilment of the words Jesus had spoken when he prophesied what death he was to die.) 33 So Pilate went back into the palace, and summoned Jesus; Art thou the king of the Jews? he asked. 34 Dost thou say this of thy own accord, Jesus answered, or is it what others have told thee of me? 35 And Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? It is thy own nation, and its chief priests, who have given thee up to me. What offence hast thou committed? 36 My kingdom, said Jesus, does not belong to this world. If my kingdom were one which belonged to this world, my servants would be fighting, to prevent my falling into the hands of the Jews; but no, my kingdom does not take its origin here. 37 Thou art a king, then? Pilate asked. And Jesus answered, It is thy own lips that have called me a king. What I was born for, what I came into the world for, is to bear witness of the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth, listens to my voice. 38 Pilate said to him, What is truth? And with that he went back to the Jews again, and told them, I can find no fault in him. 39 You have a custom of demanding that I should release one prisoner at paschal time; would you have me release the king of the Jews? 40 Whereupon they all made a fresh outcry; Barabbas, they said, not this man. Barabbas was a robber.
Chapter 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers put on his head a crown which they had woven out of thorns, and dressed him in a scarlet cloak; 3 they would come up to him and say, Hail, king of the Jews, and then strike him on the face. 4 And now Pilate went out again, and said, See, I am bringing him out to you, to shew that I cannot find any fault in him. 5 Then, as Jesus came out, still wearing the crown of thorns and the scarlet cloak, he said to them, See, here is the man. 6 When the chief priests and their officers saw him, they cried out, Crucify him, crucify him. Take him yourselves, said Pilate, and crucify him; I cannot find any fault in him. 7 The Jews answered, We have our own law, and by our law he ought to die, for pretending to be the Son of God. 8 When Pilate heard this said, he was more afraid than ever; 9 going back into the palace, he asked Jesus, Whence hast thou come? but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 What, said Pilate, hast thou no word for me? Dost thou not know that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou wouldst not have any power over me at all, if it had not been given thee from above. That is why the man who gave me up to thee is more guilty yet. 12 After this, Pilate was for releasing him, but the Jews went on crying out, Thou art no friend of Caesar, if thou dost release him; the man who pretends to be a king is Caesar’s rival. 13 When Pilate heard them speak thus, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgement seat, in a place which is called Lithostrotos; its Hebrew name is Gabbatha. 14 It was now about the sixth hour, on the eve of the paschal feast. See, he said to the Jews, here is your king. 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. What, Pilate said to them, shall I crucify your king? We have no king, the chief priests answered, except Caesar. 16 Thereupon he gave Jesus up into their hands, to be crucified: and they, once he was in their hands, led him away.
17 So Jesus went out, carrying his own cross, to the place named after a skull; its Hebrew name is Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side with Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote out a proclamation, which he put on the cross; it ran, Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. 20 This proclamation was read by many of the Jews, since the place where Jesus was crucified was close to the city; it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. 21 And the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, Thou shouldst not write, The king of the Jews; thou shouldst write, This man said, I am the king of the Jews. 22 Pilate’s answer was, What I have written, I have written. 23 The soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took up his garments, which they divided into four shares, one share for each soldier. They took up his cloak, too, which was without seam, woven from the top throughout; 24 so they said to one another, Better not to tear it; let us cast lots to decide whose it shall be. This was in fulfilment of the passage in scripture which says, They divide my spoils among them; cast lots for my clothing. So it was, then, that the soldiers occupied themselves; 25 and meanwhile his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen, had taken their stand beside the cross of Jesus. 26 And Jesus, seeing his mother there, and the disciple, too, whom he loved, standing by, said to his mother, Woman, this is thy son. 27 Then he said to the disciple, This is thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his own keeping.
28 And now Jesus knew well that all was achieved which the scripture demanded for its accomplishment; and he said, I am thirsty. 29 There was a jar there full of vinegar; so they filled a sponge with the vinegar and put it on a stick of hyssop, and brought it close to his mouth. 30 Jesus drank the vinegar, and said, It is achieved. Then he bowed his head, and yielded up his spirit.
31 The Jews would not let the bodies remain crucified on the sabbath, because that sabbath day was a solemn one; and since it was now the eve, they asked Pilate that the bodies might have their legs broken, and be taken away. 32 And so the soldiers came and broke the legs both of the one and of the other that were crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus, and found him already dead, they did not break his legs,34 but one of the soldiers opened his side with a spear; and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 He who saw it has borne his witness; and his witness is worthy of trust. He tells what he knows to be the truth, that you, like him, may learn to believe. 36 This was so ordained to fulfil what is written, You shall not break a single bone of his. 37 And again, another passage in scripture says, They will look upon the man whom they have pierced.
38 After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but in secret, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him leave; so he came and took Jesus’ body away; 39 and with him was Nicodemus, the same who made his first visit to Jesus by night; he brought with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes, of about a hundred pounds’ weight. 40 They took Jesus’ body, then, and wrapped it in winding-cloths with the spices; that is how the Jews prepare a body for burial. 41 In the same quarter where he was crucified there was a garden, with a new tomb in it, one in which no man had ever yet been buried. 42 Here, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus, because of the Jewish feast on the morrow."
What can we do except, like David, mourn our own sins and resolve to repent! This setting of Psalm 51 (50) by Gregorio Allegri seems more fitting:
Here is the text of that Psalm: Psalm 50 Text
Now, the silence, sorrow, and anticipation.