Last Updated:

Given on Good Friday, 29th March 2024, at Westminster Cathedral.

Today we stand together at the foot of the Cross of Jesus. That is the meaning of Good Friday. This is a most precious place.

Many years ago, I was taught to bring to this place all the worries and anxieties of the day, to parcel them up, tied with a knot, and place them at the foot of the Cross. 

This is what we now do.

First, we place at the foot of the Cross all the troubles of the world and the needs of the Church. Our prayers are solemn. They are echoed in churches everywhere. Through us, the whole of humanity comes in its need to our only Saviour: for an end to bitter bloodshed; for peace and harmony between peoples; for strength in sickness; for comfort in dying; for forgiveness at all times. As the faithful People of God this afternoon we pray in the name of the whole of creation.

This is always our first duty: to pray for others.

Only then, secondly, and in due course, each of us individually comes to the Cross of our Blessed Lord, to express our love for him, in an act of reverence, a kiss. At this moment there need be no hiding. The secrets of our hearts can be handed over, in the sure knowledge that we are embraced in love, even in our shame and sorrow that such suffering was accepted so that we might see, and understand, and be forgiven. 

This crucified Jesus is our ‘supreme high priest’ who has gone through to ‘the highest heavens’, bearing the burden of our sins, freeing us from that load!

As we fix our eyes of the Cross, we are to recognise in him our own humanity. We see in him our very flesh and blood, now being raised ‘to great heights’ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We come to him, with our broken world, we our longing and with our love. Come let us pray; let us adore him.

✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster