Good Friday: the Bridge of Sighs

Good Friday: the Bridge of Sighs

Upon the sacred beams of the cross Our Lord let out his last breath, bowed his head, and died. On this day we gaze once again upon the cross which has been hidden from our eyes beneath a purple veil. The crucified body of the Saviour, with arms stretched out, hangs like a piece of cheap meat exposed to the elements.

I remember reading some of the reflections of Archbishop Fulton Sheen who preached on the significance of Jesus’s last breath on the Cross: his final ‘sigh’. In that sigh He spoke of Jesus sharing in the sighs of every person of every age. The sighs we let out when we encounter deficiencies in life, be it through the repercussions of sin, ill-health, misplaced hope, failure, betrayal, heartbreak, and so on, are taken up by Christ on the Cross, and in that final sigh He unites us all to Himself.
The Cross to those without faith is a sign of failure. It represents a failed project. Jesus’s final words, “It is finished,” resound as the words of a defeated man. But for Christ, and us through the gift of faith, the Cross is anything but an end; on the contrary, it is the bridge for us from death to life. It is the pathway through which we are set back on course to our final, predestined beatitude with God. It is no defeat, but rather the answer. All the sighs of humanity meet at the Cross of Our Lord, but on account of the Cross all of humanity’s sighs are banished, for the in the Cross we find our hope and salvation.

Br Joseph Bailham is a deacon working in the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Dominic, London