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Good Friday – 2023

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This year’s Holy Week Trilogy is a series of three visions of the crucifixion, each primarily illumined by one of three different ‘light sources,’: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday. Each day’s particular illumination draws out certain aspects of the same, infinitely meaning-filled event—the Crucifixion of the Risen Lord.

The first picture receives its interpretive illumination from Good Friday. From the Lord’s mouth His final breath pours out as He hands over His spirit to the Father—and so, anticipates the gift of the Spirit to His Church (Jn 19:30, 20:22). This breath mingles with the blood and water that flow from His side since these ‘living waters’ are also an image of the Spirit, pouring from the True Temple, out of the Holy of Holies of God’s own heart, through the torn veil of Christ’s flesh and out into all the world (c.f. Ezek 47:1-12; Zech 12:10, 13:1, 14:8; Jn 7:37-39, 19:34).

The veil that divides the presence of God from humanity is rent by the piercing of the side of the Temple of Christ’s body, but I’ve also pictured this event in the division of the clouds behind the cross, torn from ‘top to bottom’ (Matt 27:51). Behind the divided veil of the clouds burns the blood-red noon-day sun. The Synoptic Gospel’s mention the darkening of the sky at Jesus’ death; John, however, does not. He only mentions that it was ‘about the sixth hour,’ i.e., noon (19:14). For John, ‘day’ and ‘light’ symbolize the revelation of God…and so, the fact that the crucifixion takes place at noon emphasizes that this moment is, in truth, the ‘high noon’ of God’s self-disclosure, the moment when the ‘sun’ of God’s face shines with greatest brilliance (which explains why the earthly Sun was dimmed, c.f., Is.24:23).

The cloth covering the Lord’s body is a mingling of red, blue, and purple; a visual echo of the Tabernacle. The enfleshment of the Word is made complete upon the cross; here He proves that He has indeed ‘become [mortal] flesh.’ And by inhabiting our mortal flesh in Love, God turns that flesh to the Tabernacle of His eschatological presence, the medium of His majesty, the temporal articulation of His eternal and life-giving Name.