Things are getting BAD.

This is what we hear just about every single day, isn’t it?

Things are getting really really BAD.

The economy is getting BAD… banks are failing, the dollar is threatened, inflation is skyrocketing.

Schools are getting BAD… kids are undisciplined and unmotivated, young people are being exposed to damaging and diabolical ideologies about what the human person is. What a man is… what a woman is. What the meaning of LIFE is…

Politics are getting BAD… we’ve lost trust in the system it seems, things are unstable and unpredictable… riots, yelling, shouting, shoving, dissension, polarization, extremism… Meanwhile, China and Russia are becoming more and more a threat… the war in Ukraine goes on and on.

Public health is getting BAD… anxiety and depression are through the roof, families are broken, fathers are absent, mental illness is rampant, mass shootings keep on happening, human trafficking silently goes on right under all our noses, violence, drugs and disorder on our streets are on the rise…

Technology is getting BAD… We are addicted to our screens. Twitter provides a constant stream of conflicting information. TikTok spreads dangerous video trends among the most impressionable. Facebook strictly polices what you are and are not allowed to say. Artificial Intelligence is advancing at a rate which is uncontrollable and unpredictable… soon it will be almost impossible to tell the difference between reality and unreality.

On top of all this, many fear that the Church is getting BAD… bishops and cardinals are publicly disagreeing over fundamental moral teachings, there is often division and confusion in the pews… in the US, only 24% of self-identified Catholics attend mass every Sunday. On average, only 8 out of 100 teenagers who make it to confirmation stick with their faith into adulthood… The fastest growing religious group in America is among those who say they have no affiliation with any faith.

Pretty much anyone will tell you: Things are getting BAD

And yet here we are.

It’s GOOD Friday.

How can we dare to call the worst day in human history — our absolute LOWEST moment … the day we KILLED GOD 

How on earth can we call today of all days… GOOD?

Our loving God sent His only Son to visit us. He came only to help us. Only to be with us. His cry from the Cross: “I thirst” is a thirst for our friendship. A thirst to be near to us…to be close to us. He came to forgive us and give us perfect peace. Perfect joy. Perfect life.

But we killed him.

We nailed Him to a chunk of wood and left him to die.

So no matter how bad things look in our world, our country, or our own lives… nothing can ever be as objectively BAD as that. Nietzsche’s famous words come to mind: “God is dead. And we have killed Him.” 

And yet, the Christian Church has the boldness and the courage to say that today is GOOD…


Well, the prophet Isaiah, in our first reading, gives us the key:

“He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.”

That’s it right there. 

By his stripes — by his wounds! — we are healed. 

The Cross is somehow simultaneously the greatest tragedy and the greatest triumph. God dies, and somehow He still wins. He is brutally executed, but still defeats his enemies. He bleeds and suffocates to death, but puts to death every single one of our sins. His plan all along was to lose. And everything went perfectly. Perfectly bad…

This is why Good Friday is so good.

And there’s not much else to say. The paradox of the Cross causes us to fall silent in contemplation:

“Behold the wood of the Cross… on which hung the salvation of the world. Come, let us adore!”

Let’s sit with that for a few minutes. I want to end this reflection by inviting all of us to use our imagination.

Close your eyes.

Come Holy Spirit — activate our mind’s eye and use our imagination to reveal to us how bad and yet how good the Cross really is.

Try picturing yourself kneeling before the Cross of Jesus on Good Friday. Imagine the sun beating down on him. Imagine him struggling to breathe. Imagine the crowd muttering and mocking him.

Now, let Jesus look at you — Come Holy Spirit!

Let His eyes meet yours. Let his understanding eyes pierce your heart.

Now take a look at one of his hands.

That rusty nail is there for you. It’s there for every bad thing you’ve ever done. It’s there for every bad thing anyone ever did to you. It’s there for every bad, evil, dark, horrible thing in this world. The hole in that man’s hand — in GOD’S OWN HAND — is there to heal you and heal the entire universe.

“I thirst” he now says to you. He thirsts for you to know and experience His love. His goodness. Speak to Jesus in your heart: “There’s so much bad, Lord, but this is still so good. Thank you. You are so good.”