I posted this piece before, but it is so appropriate for Good Friday I'm putting it up again. It's about how the liturgy makes the events of Good Friday alive for us.
Ths is from the book The Week of Salvation by James Monti. He quotes an article titled "Good Friday in Venezuela" that appeared in the April 1941 issue of Catholic Digest (It must be in the public domain by now!) The author was Heywood Broun.
"Some few years ago I went on a spring cruise. The steamer touched the northern tip of South America and paused for a day at the port... When we reached Venezuela word came that Gomez, the old dictator, lay dying in the capital. And, as we went up the winding road, I noticed that all those who walked along the highway were clad in black or purple. Young and old all seemed to be hurrying to some central point. And, naturally, it was my notion that they were hurrying to the palace to learn the fate of Gomez...
"But at the door of the cathedral the driver stopped and said something to my companion. My friend translated and explained, 'The driver says this is the service to mark the three hours of agony on the cross.' And it came to me that they mourned not for Gomez, but for the Son of God. Out of bright sunlight I came into cool darkness flecked, but not wholly broken, by the light of many flickering candles. And all about the walls and statues and across the shoulders of the worshipers I saw the Holy Week badge of purple.
"I have seen church services in far and near places, and many were impressive, but here for the first time I saw a people who seemed to feel that the Passion of the Lord was actually occurring again.
"Pilate was not a famous dead procurator of Judea who washed his hands in an ancient city long ago. It was but yesterday that Jesus stood before the Romans on trial for his life and was condemned. And at the very moment the living Christ hung on the cross....
"It was as if one of their own lay dying in a room at home. And all of them lived in a world in which each year Jesus again walked the earth and Judas brought betrayal in a pleasant garden. Many stood outside upon the steps under the hot sun and peered through the doors and down the dark aisles. They waited for some word from the mourners. Almost they seemed to say, 'What is the news? How fares our Lord on Calvary?'"