On the afternoon of Good Friday, recalling the time of day when, so the Scriptures tell us, Jesus died on the Cross, the Church gathers to commemorate that climactic moment in the history of our salvation. As we heard in the homily this afternoon at Blackfriars (a recording of which you can hear below) we are confronted with the shocking truth that God has died for us. We venerate the Cross as a sign that we recognise, in this instrument of humiliating suffering, Jesus' triumph - quite literally, his exaltation, as he had hinted several times in the course of his ministry (cf. John 8:28, 12:32).
Good Friday is also a day when the Church makes solemn intercession for the whole world: we see in Jesus' death that event which puts the whole of human history - indeed, the whole history of creation - in its true perspective, and so we pray on this day for all people, and especially those in need, that they too may come to see the transformation which Christ wrought upon the Cross.
With this in mind, our "highlights" from today's liturgy include the veneration of the Cross, when the deacon, in three stages, unveils the crucifix he carries into the church and invites the congregation to worship the Saviour of the world who hung upon it, but also a recording of the praying of the Our Father, in which we hope our readers and listeners will be able to join us in our prayer for the Church and the world.
In addition, the celebrant of today's liturgy, Fr Simon Gaine OP, has agreed to let us publish a recording of the sermon he preached this afternoon, which says much better than has been possible in a few words here something of the huge significance of what we celebrate today: