Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

A very good Friday indeed.

A happy coincidence this year is that Good Friday falls on March 25th, which is also the Feast of the Annunciation - the commemoration of when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced to her that she was to be the Mother of God. So this year, Jesus' incarnation and death are remembered on the same day. (Actually, liturgically, the celebration of the Annunciation will be transferred to after Easter, but you get the point.) Jesus was born for this, to die for us.

Why was March 25th selected as the day to remember the Annunciation? Some folks think it is because it is exactly nine months before Christmas. That would be a good reason. But it's actually the other way around! Christmas is on December 25th because it is nine months after the Annunciation. In ancient times, it was (yes, erroneously) believed that a person died on the day he or she was conceived. It is known that Jesus died on Passover, and so calculations were done and it was determined that He died on March 25th. So that was, then, the day He was conceived, and His birth was then celebrated nine months later.

You see, our calendar in many ways revolves around Christmas. How many shopping days til Christmas? It is the highlight of the year, what the rest of the year builds up to. But it was not always so. It is actually a relative late-comer to the Christian year of festivals and commemorations. Easter, the Ascension, and Pentecost being the first established.

It is factually correct that Jesus died on March 25th? Who knows. That's not really the issue. The Church is not claiming this fact is true, just that it is the day that has been chosen to commemorate a true event, and there were reasons for selecting that day. And this year, that day, today, is filled with significance as we also remember our Lord's death for the sin of the world, for the life of the world. God's richest blessings to all of you as we meditate on that wonderful work today.

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