So, why is Good Friday 'good'? That question puzzles not only children but many adults as well. After all, it wasn't a good day for Christ.
"It certainly was not good for Jesus Christ," says New Orleans' Archbishop Gregory Aymond. "Because what we saw happen on Good Friday is Jesus...who is the Son of God...misjudged, not appreciated and basically killed because he said He was God's son and because of the message that He proclaimed. And, it was a bloody mess."
"But it's 'good' because, in so doing, He became the sacrifice offered to the Father that would be the sacrifice of all sacrifices, the covenant of all covenants...that the bond between our God and us would never again be broken."
And, as terrible a day as it was for Christ, the archbishop says it led to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, which brought new life to those who believe.
"I think it's important that we take Good Friday personally," says Aymond. "And that we kneel before a crucifix and we realize the suffering that Jesus embraced for us...to tell us that we are loved, to tell us that we are worthwhile in the eyes of our loving God, and to tell us that mercy for our sins is not just a possibility, but a reality. That's good news," says the Archbishop.
Listen to Archbishop Aymond's entire Good Friday and Easter message:
The Baltimore Catechism declares that Good Friday is called good because Christ, by His Death, "showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing." Good, in this sense, means 'holy,' and indeed Good Friday is known as Holy and Great Friday among Eastern Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox.
Good Friday is a day of strict fasting and abstinence. Catholics who are over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Good Friday.