The Mother Church places a lot of drama in the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday. You get all those symbols that remind us of the significance of the events of that first Good Friday: the bare altar, the empty tabernacle, covered crucifix and statues, silent entrance, absence of lights or incense, the clergy prostrating themselves before the altar, the veneration of the cross, and if you are lucky and if your church does this, you get to listen to the PLAINTS OF THE PASSION or the REPROACHES during the veneration of the Cross.
What are the REPROACHES? I love these versicles as they wrap up the connection between what happened to Christ during his passion and what the Lord did for his people in delivering them from Egypt and leading them into the Promised Land. These are the rebukes against mankind which the liturgy of Good Friday places on the lips of the Savior. Sung in plain chant, these reproaches call us to mind the deeper meaning of this "second" liberation.
Over the next 7 days we will be reflecting on these reproaches as one way of responding to Christ's plea: Watch and Pray With Me.
- Because I led thee from Egypt, you have prepared a Cross for your Savior
- Because I led thee for forty years through the desert, fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land of plenty, you have prepared a Cross for your Savior.
- I planted you as my most fair vine, but you yielded only bitterness; when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink and you pierced your Savior's side with a lance.
- For your sake I scourged Egypt and their firstborn sons; you gave me over to be scourged
- I led you out of Egypt, overwhelming Pharaoh in the Red Sea; you have delivered me to the chief priests.
- I opened the sea before you; you opened my side with a lance.
- I went before you in a pillar of cloud; you have led me to the judgment hall of Pilate.
- I fed you with manna in the desert; you have struck me with blows and scourges.
- I gave you the water of salvation to drink from the rock; you have given me gall and vinegar to drink.
- For you I struck down the kings of Canaan; you have struck my head with a reed.
- I gave you a royal scepter; you have given me a crown of thorns.
- with great power I lifted you up; you have hung me on the Cross.