Good Friday Morning Service Homily Help

Good Friday

First Reading

Hebrews 12:12-21

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled, that no one be an immoral or profane person like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit his father’s blessing, he was rejected because he found no opportunity to change his mind, even though he sought the blessing with tears. You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them, for they could not bear to hear the command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
Praise be to God always.

I. Biblical Exegesis

[12:15–17] Esau serves as an example in two ways: his profane attitude illustrates the danger of apostasy, and his inability to secure a blessing afterward illustrates the impossibility of repenting after falling away.

[12:18–21] As a final appeal for adherence to Christian teaching, the two covenants, of Moses and of Christ, are compared. The Mosaic covenant, the author argues, is shown to have originated in fear of God and threats of divine punishment.

II. Old Testament References

[12:12] Is 35:3; Sir 25:23; Jb 4:3–4.

[12:13] Prv 4:26 (Greek Septuagint Version).

[12:15] Dt 29:18 (17 Septuagint).

[12:16] Gn 25:33.

[12:17] Gn 27:34–38.

[12:18] Ex 19:12–14; Dt 4:11; 5:22–23.

[12:19] Ex 19:16, 19; 20:18–19.

[12:20] Ex 19:12–13.

[12:21] Dt 9:19.

III. Patristic References

Only let us cut ourselves off from passion, test any root of bitterness springing up to trouble you; only let us follow the image; only let us reverence our Archetype. Cut off bodily passions; cut off also the spiritual. For how much the soul is more precious than the body, by so much more precious is it to cleanse the soul than the body. And if cleansing of the body be a praiseworthy act, see, I pray you, how much greater and higher is that of the soul. Cut away the Arian impiety; cut away the false opinion of Sabellius; do not join more than is right; do not either confuse the Three Persons into One, or make Three diversities of Nature. The One is praiseworthy if rightly understood; and the Three when rightly divided, when the division is of Persons, not of Godhead. – St. Gregory Nazianzen (The Theologian)


John 19:31-37

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.”
This is the Truth.
Peace be with you.

I. Biblical Exegesis

[19:34–35] John probably emphasizes these verses to show the reality of Jesus’ death, against the docetic heretics. In the blood “and water there may also be a symbolic reference to the Eucharist and baptism.

[19:35] He knows: it is not certain from the Greek that this he is the eyewitness of the first part of the sentence. May [come to] believe: While many manuscripts read come to believe, possibly implying a missionary purpose for John’s gospel, a small number of quite early ones read “continue to believe,” suggesting that the audience consists of Christians whose faith is to be deepened by the book.

II. Old Testament References

[19:31] Ex 12:16; Dt 21:23.

[19:34] Nm 20:11.

[19:36] Ex 12:46; Nm 9:12; Ps 34:21.

[19:37] Nm 21:9; Zec 12:10.

III. Patristic Resources

Jn 19,36. “A bone of Him shall not be broken.” 31 (Ex 12,46 Nb 9,12).

For even if this was said with reference to the lamb of the Jews, still it was for the sake of the reality that the type preceded, and in Jesus the prophecy was more fully accomplished. On this account the Evangelist brought forward the Prophet. For since by continually producing himself as witness he would have seemed unworthy of credit, he brings Moses to help him, and says, that neither did this come to pass without a purpose, but was written before of old. And this is the meaning of the words, “A bone of Him shall not be broken.” Again he confirms the Prophet’s words by his own witness. “These things, I have told you, that ye might learn that great is the connection of the type with the reality.” What pains he takes to make that believed which seemed to be a matter of reproach, and shame? For that the soldier should insult even the dead body, was far worse than being crucified. “But still, even these things,” he said, “I have told, and told with much earnestness, ‘that you might believe.’ (Jn 19,35). Let none then be unbelieving, nor through shame injure our cause. For the things which appear to be most shameful, are the very venerable records of good things.” – St. John Chrysostom, HOMILY LXXXV. – “Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.

Sample Homily

Good Friday teaches us that the way to faith does not begin with the question, “what is God,” rather, it begins with the question, “who is God”? As the great French thinker Blaise Pascal wrote; “Dont give me the God of the philosophers, but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Another way of saying this is, God can not be discovered by merely applying human reason to the concept of a Supreme Being; no the One True God, is a God we encounter, a God who gives context to his existence, and there is no greater context than the Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord.
Jesus reveals to us the depths of God’s being, that is to say Love. God so loves us that even in the midst of our sins, and failures to follow him – he accepts suffering and death, to break the bonds of death brought about by we who rejected him. Being like us in all things but sin, Jesus experiences the suffering, rejection, and death that all human beings face. But as the eternal Word of the Father, he is filled with the Holy Spirit, by whose power he is raised, so that we who are grafted to the life of the Holy Trinity, through faith and the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries, will share in his Victory over death – where every tear shall be wiped away.
On Good Friday we discover “who God is.”