Lent Day 45: Good Friday — The Descent from the Cross.
Good Friday — The Descent from the Cross.
Read St. Mark xv. 38-46.
 And the veil of the temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom.  And the centurion who stood over against him, seeing that crying out in this manner he had given up the ghost, said: Indeed this man was the son of God.  And there were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joseph, and Salome:
 Who also when he was in Galilee followed him, and ministered to him, and many other women that came up with him to Jerusalem.  And when evening was now come, (because it was the Parasceve, that is, the day before the sabbath,)  Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.  But Pilate wondered that he should be already dead. And sending for the centurion, he asked him if he were already dead.  And when he had understood it by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
 And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre.
1. No sooner is the sacrifice consummated and the last drop of the precious blood shed from Our Lord’s Sacred Heart, than all is changed. That lifeless body is now treated with the utmost respect and veneration. See how gently and carefully Joseph and Nicodemus wind linen bands around the limbs and lower it to the ground, reverently adoring that body which had only a few hours before been a laughing-stock and object of contempt. Henceforth no more ignominy, no more contempt, no more ill-usage, but the love and adoration of saints and angels to all eternity.
2. Our Lady receives the body of her Son. What were her thoughts as she gazes into the five wounds, and sees how from head to foot it is covered with gaping wounds and bruises, battered out of all shape by the cruelty of man? O Mother of Sorrows, great as an ocean is thy sorrow! What can be thy hatred of sin when thou seest what it has wrought in the divine beauty of thy spotless Son! What a mixture of agonized compassion and mournful sorrow, and hope and consolation, and gratitude and triumphant joy, fills thy sacred soul while thou lookest on the dead body of thy Son!
3. The day on which Jesus died is indeed well called Good Friday. It is the day when Jesus consummated His victory over sin and death. While we mourn over His sufferings and our sins which caused them, we must also rejoice exceedingly at the thought of Satan conquered and heaven opened, and millions of sinners cleansed from sin in His most precious Blood!
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