Good Friday. In this context, it has always been difficult for me to understand the use of the word “good.” In Malta today, as COVID lingers like the plague it is, Good Friday takes on an even darker tone. The Archdiocese of Malta suspended the celebration of public Masses on Easter to contain the spread of coronavirus.
On Good Friday, according to the Bible, the son of God was whipped bloody and humiliated as he carried a cross upon which he was nailed before finally being put to death. Good Friday? Historians believe it was simply a question of etymology, a word developed from an older name, possibly “God’s Friday.” Theologians look at it differently. Good Friday is holy, they believe, because on this day when Jesus Christ gave his life in sacrifice for people’s sins it was an embodiment of compassion, love, and empathy.
I think about this as I walk the narrow streets of Valletta on this tiny island with 359 churches. I look out at the rounded dome of the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the iconic spire of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. Easter Sunday Mass, with the parishioners of Malta and Caravaggio’s masterworks in St. John’s Cathedral, is canceled. I resolve to dig deep into my faith to recognize the true meaning of Good Friday.
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Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2021
Let this be a time of grace and peace in our lives –Fr. John Baker