"I was asked a familiar question again just recently: 'Why do we call it Good Friday when it's the day they killed Jesus?' The short answer to this question is, of course, that the day when they did those bad things to Jesus turned out to be a very Good Friday for us. What looked like disaster and the triumph of evil, turned out to be the great victory for goodness.
It sometimes happens in everyday life that losers do actually win in some respects. People can get their way by cheating or deceiving or simply overpowering good, honest people. But even our distinctly flawed human judgement can often see that the person who refused to fight dirty, who remained true to his or her standards of behaviour, deserves our respect more than the cheat or the bully ever could. It is said that everyone loves a winner; but there are times when everyone respects the person who, at great cost, has refused to return evil for evil.
Jesus' death on Good Friday was an instance of that 'good loser' phenomenon on a grand scale. His integrity and faithfulness under duress were honoured, in the event, not only by his friends and the better types among the bystanders, but ultimately by God. His willingness to 'lay down his life for his friends' was honoured when God raised him to life again on Easter morning. This is what we celebrate at Easter: the ultimate victory of good over evil, of love over malice, of innocence over power, of justice over either cruelty or indifference.
In our lives we all have hard times. They can make us hard. We can begin to look to our self-interest, and not care too much how we achieve it. They can challenge our belief in love and justice and decency. But, if we've understood about Easter, such times challenge us, too, to follow Jesus' way, to take up our Cross and go on, as he did for us. We recognise in his Resurrection the value in God's eyes of a life lived well and faithfully. And we recognise that, since Christ has opened the way, our own Very Bad Fridays can be made into Good Fridays. If we can stay true in the tough times, and think of others more than we worry about ourselves, then we too will surely have our Easter morning."
-Bishop Bill Wright
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Tuesday 26 March, 2013