Good Friday was something that always confused me as a child. Why wasn’t Good Friday known as Bad Friday? Good Friday commemorates the date when Jesus Christ was crucified on 3 April AD. Isn’t that a bad thing? My catholic mother said it was good because Jesus died to save us from our sins. I’m not sure she really believed that but at the age of eight, I remember being happy with her response. I was a sinner after all. I told a few lies and said shit and bloody a lot. So I could go on sinning and be absolved by ‘the supreme being’.
However, before you could be cleansed of your sins you had to go to confession at your local parish. There, you had to kneel before the priest who was sitting in for ‘the supreme being’ in the dark box and confess your sins.
“Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last confession. These are my sins. I have told sixteen lies and said 13 swear words”.
That was all fabricated because I couldn’t remember how many lies I’d told and how many times I’d sworn. But it didn’t matter because the priest was about to dish out my penance and I would be absolved.
Naturally I didn’t go to confession of my own volition. Mum and Dad made me do it. I’ll never forget kneeling at the altar with the other sinners waiting for our turn to fess up in the dark box. The penance was usually three or four ‘Our Fathers’ and at least half a dozen ‘Hail Marys’. And straight after my absolution, my sinning started again. The thought of going back into the dark box was hell but I couldn’t stop sinning. None of this ever made any sense to me especially after what Mum had told me. If Jesus had died to save us from our sins why did we have to confess them to a priest? My catholic school education did nothing to make me feel less confused.
Back to Good Friday
Around the world, bad things don’t stop because it’s Good Friday. Obviously, there’s nothing that compares to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But nevertheless, bad things all the same. Fires, floods, earthquakes, sinkholes, wars. Sometimes bad things are even exacerbated on Good Friday because it’s the beginning of the Easter holiday. For some families it’s a time for increased family violence and addictive behaviours. And to top it off, people who live alone can face even more loneliness and isolation.
A clean slate for Easter
Good Friday also used to be a popular day for a visit to the confessional. I suppose churchgoers wanted a clean slate for Easter. Nowadays confession seems to be a thing of the past. Priests are sitting in their confessionals twiddling their thumbs waiting for sinners. But the sinners have turned into heathens. They are enjoying the public holiday whilst gorging themselves with hot cross buns and fish and chips for lunch. And as a child, I thought that’s why Good Friday was named as such. That was until I learnt about a certain Good Friday when Jesus Christ was crucified. I have never been the same since.
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