why do you kiss the cross on good friday
I had no idea this is such an old tradition or that it
started with the true cross of Christ. I
remember this part of the Good Friday service used to make me a bit
uncomfortable as a child. Showing such a sign of affection for an object of such
cruelty and pain seems paradoxical and yet this beautiful tradition has moved
me to tears on more then one occasion. I should mention that Catholics aren't
required to kiss the cross but rather are invited reverence the cross in
whatever way they feel appropriate. Often people will bow, genuflect, make the
sign of the cross or simply pause with their hand on it. These are all good but
when I kiss the cross it means more then just saying I respect it.
A kiss is a
sign of love and to love the cross of Jesus is a radical statement. We love and
embrace what it represents. That is Christ's great love for us and the means to
our salvation. Jesus has transformed something terrible into something good so
it is a beautiful thing. "Greater love has no man then he who lays down
his life for his friend. " He gave every drop of blood on that cross and
his very life for each one of us and that's why I and many others dare to kiss
the cross on Good Friday.
Good Friday is the second day of the Easter Triduum and the day that Catholics and other Christians throughout the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.
According to Mark 15:42 Jesus died on the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath. The Hebrew Sabbath is celebrated on Saturday which is preceded by Friday. Therefore the Friday before Easter (the day that we celebrate Jesus resurrection from the dead) is traditionally marked as the day Jesus died on the cross. Why don t we celebrate Mass on Good Friday? The Good Friday liturgy has three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and the Service of Communion. The Mass itself is the unbloody re-presentation of Jesus death on the cross at Calvary. The priest, and victim of the sacrifice are the same person, Jesus, at both Calvary and every Mass.
From the earliest days, Good Friday has been kept as an aliturgical day, that is one on which we do not celebrate Mass. The Eucharist that is received on Good Friday was consecrated a day earlier at the Holy Thursday liturgy. During Good Friday services you might see Catholics go up to the front of the church and bow before or even kiss a cross. This act is called Veneration of the Cross and in which Catholics honor the great sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. At the end of the Good Friday service the ministers and assembly depart in silence. Good Friday is also a day of fasting and abstinence (from meat).
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