The Church today celebrates the great and wondrous mystery of Christ’s death upon the cross. Jesus Christ is our new passover who gives us his body and blood as our spiritual food and drink. He replaces the bread and wine of the paschal meal with his very body and blood.
The paschal lamb of the old covenant he abolishes, and in its place he offers himself as both priest and victim and thus inaugurates the new covenant in his own blood.
As John the Baptist proclaims, he is truly “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” And as St. Paul says, “Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.”
The Divine Mysteries are not celebrated today, instead the pre-sanctified liturgy of the Anaphora of the Signing of the Chalice is used. The prayers of this anaphora are among the most ancient of the Syriac Church. Holy Communion is distributed during the pre-sanctified liturgy from the Mysteries consecrated yesterday.
In addition to the celebration of the pre-sanctified liturgy the Church also recalls the mystery of the cross by the rite of adoration of the cross and the burial of the Lord.
The cross is the sign of the Lord’s sacrifice and death, and yet it is also the beacon of light and symbol of hope and victory.
The whole earth has been enlightened by the light of the cross, and the darkness of ignorance has been turned back.
As we adore the cross and recall the burial of the Lord we call out: O Lord, we worship your cross, for it is our resurrection and renewal.
O Christ crucified for us, have mercy on us.
For us the Son of Man suffered and died hanging on a cross.
He sent his spirit to God, the Master of the universe.
The rocks split and the tombs opened;
the entire world was afflicted.
The heart poured water and blood for the life of mankind.
Cross of the Savior,
teach me of your power.
Help me to understand why everyone prostrates
before your majesty.
I became the altar at the summit of Golgotha.
On me the Son of almighty God was crucified.
From him flowed water and blood for the forgiveness of mankind.
The Church sings the glory of the cross for ever.
Taken from the Maronite Divine Office (Ramsho) for Great Friday of the Crucifixion