Tenebrae for Good Friday
March 29, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

PSALMODY (Psalm 2)

Why this tumult among nations, *
among peoples this useless murmuring?
They arise, the kings of the earth, *
princes plot against the Lord and his Anointed.
“Come let us break their fetters, *
come, let us cast off their yoke.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs; *
the Lord is laughing them to scorn.
Then he will speak in his anger, *
his rage will strike them with terror.
“It is I who have set up my king *
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will announce the decree of the Lord:

The Lord said to me: “You are my Son. *
It is I who have begotten you this day.
Ask and I shall bequeath you the nations, *
put the ends of the earth in your possession.
With a rod of iron you will break them, *
shatter them like a potter’s jar.”

Now, O kings, understand, *
take warning, rulers of the earth;
serve the Lord with awe *
and trembling, pay him your homage
lest he be angry and you perish; *
for suddenly his anger will blaze.

Blessed are they who put their trust in God.

Psalm 22:2-23

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? *
You are far from my plea and the cry of my distress.
O my God, I call by day and you give no reply; *
I call by night and I find no peace.

Yet you, O God, are holy, *
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers put their trust; *
they trusted and you set them free.
When they cried to you, they escaped. *
In you they trusted and never in vain.

But I am a worm and no man, *
scorned by men, despised by the people.
All who see me deride me. *
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.
“He trusted in the Lord, let him save him; *
let him release him if this is his friend.”

Yes, it was you who took me from the womb, *
entrusted me to my mother’s breast.
To you I was committed from my birth, *
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not leave me alone in my distress; *
come close, there is none else to help.

Many bulls have surrounded me, *
fierce bulls of Bashan close me in.
Against me they open wide their jaws, *
like lions, rending and roaring.

Like water I am poured out, *
disjointed are all my bones.
My heart has become like wax, *
it is melted within my breast.

Parched as burnt clay is my throat, *
my tongue cleaves to my jaws.
Many dogs have surrounded me, *
a band of the wicked beset me.
They tear holes in my hands and my feet *
and lay me in the dust of death.

I can count every one of my bones. *
These people stare at me and gloat;
they divide my clothing among them. *
They cast lots for my robe.

O Lord, do not leave me alone, *
my strength, make haste to help me!
Rescue my soul from the sword, *
my life from the grip of these dogs.
Save my life from the jaws of these lions, *
my poor soul from the horns of these oxen.

I will tell of your name to my brethren *
and praise you where they are assembled.

Psalm 38

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; *
do not punish me, Lord, in your rage.
Your arrows have sunk deep in me; *
your hand has come down upon me.

Through your anger all my body is sick: *
through my sin, there is no health in my limbs.
My guilt towers higher than my head; *
it is a weight too heavy to bear.

My wounds are foul and festering, *
the result of my own folly.
I am bowed and brought to my knees. *
I go mourning all the day long.

All my frame burns with fever; *
all my body is sick.
Spent and utterly crushed, *
I cry aloud in anguish of heart.

O Lord, you know all my longing: *
my groans are not hidden from you.
My heart throbs, my strength is spent; *
the very light has gone from my eyes.

My friends avoid me like a leper; *
those closest to me stand afar off.
Those who plot against my life lay snares;
those who seek my ruin speak of harm, *
planning treachery all the day long.

But I am like the deaf who cannot hear, *
like the dumb unable to speak.
I am like a man who hears nothing, *
in whose mouth is no defense.

I count on you, O Lord: *
it is you, Lord God, who will answer.
I pray: “Do not let them mock me, *
those who triumph if my foot should slip.”

For I am on the point of falling *
and my pain is always before me.
I confess that I am guilty *
and my sin fills me with dismay.

My wanton enemies are numberless *
and my lying foes are many.
They repay me evil for good *
and attack me for seeking what is right.

O Lord, do not forsake me! *
My God, do not stay afar off!
Make haste and come to my help, *
O Lord, my God, my savior!


You come as against a robber
with swords and clubs to apprehend me:

I was daily with you in the temple teaching
and you did not arrest me;
and behold you lead me to scourging and to be crucified.

V.  They laid hands on Jesus and held him fast,
He said to them:

FIRST READING (Hebrews 9:11-28)

Christ having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without defect to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a last will and testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him who made it. For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant has not been dedicated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”

Moreover he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry in the same way with the blood. According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.

It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ hasn’t entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own, or else he must have suffered often since the foundation of the world. But now once at the end of the ages, he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, without sin, to those who are eagerly waiting for him for salvation.



Darkness fell when the Jews crucified Jesus:
and about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

And he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

V. Jesus cried with a loud voice and said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

SECOND READING (From a commentary by St John Chrysostom)

Today the cross has opened Paradise which had been closed to us for thousands of years. For today God has brought a robber there. Thus he effects two marvels: he opens Paradise, and he brings in a thief. Today God has given us our ancient fatherland, today he has brought us to the paternal city, today he has opened his house to the whole of humanity. ‘Today,’ he said, ‘you will be with me in Paradise’. What did you say, Lord? You are crucified, nailed there, and you promise Paradise?

Yes, so that you may learn how great is my power on the cross.

It is indeed a cruel sight. And to deflect your attention from this aspect of the cross and make you realize the power of the Crucified, Jesus works this miracle from the cross, the miracle which more than any other bears witness to his power. For it was not when raising the dead, commanding the wind and the waves, expelling demons, but when crucified, fixed with nails, covered with insults, spittle, mockery and abuse, that he had power to change the evil state of the thief; and in this you can see two aspects of his power. He shook the whole of creation, he split the rocks, and he drew the soul of the thief, which was harder than rock; for the thief believed in him and Jesus said in return, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Doubtless the cherubim guarded paradise, but he was master of the cherubim. A flaming sword twirled at the entrance, but he had all power over fire and sword, over life and death.

Truly, no king ever allowed a thief or any other subject to sit with him while he made an entrance into a town. But Christ has done this: when he entered into his fatherland he brought a thief with him. In doing this he did not
slight Paradise, did not dishonor it by the thief’s presence there; on the contrary, he honored Paradise, because it is glorious for Paradise to have a master who can make a thief worthy of the joys to be found there. Likewise when he brings publicans and prostitutes into the kingdom of heaven he is not insulting the kingdom but honoring it, for he shows that the master of the kingdom of heaven is strong enough to make prostitutes and publicans worthy enough to receive such an honor and such a gift.


I delivered my beloved soul into the hands of the wicked,
and my possessions have become to me like a lion in the forest.
My adversary spoke out against me saying:
Come together and make haste to devour him.
They placed me in a solitary desert and all the earth mourned for me;
because nobody could be found who would claim me and be kind to me.
Men without mercy rose up against me, and they spared not my soul.
because nobody could be found who would claim me and be kind to me.


look with love upon your people,
the love which our Lord Jesus Christ showed us
when he delivered himself to evil men
and suffered the agony of the cross,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.