One of the strangest sounding names in the liturgical year is Good Friday. It is the day when Jesus suffered a painful and cruel death and was laid in the tomb.
Why is the day when Jesus suffered called “Good Friday”?
What’s “good” about it?
Historically speaking, Good Friday has been called a variety of names, as the Catholic Encyclopediaexplains.
Good Friday, called Feria VI in Parasceve in the Roman Missal, he hagia kai megale paraskeue (the Holy and Great Friday) in the Greek Liturgy, Holy Friday in Romance Languages, Charfreitag (Sorrowful Friday) in German, is the English designation of Friday in Holy Week — that is, the Friday on which the Church keeps the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
It’s possible that the designation “Good Friday” was actually derived from a different name.
The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from “God’s Friday” (Gottes Freitag); others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag, and not specially English. Sometimes, too, the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons; so today in Denmark.
Whatever it’s origin, Catholics have been accustomed to this name and have found symbolism in it, as the Baltimore Catechism explains.
Why do you call that day “good” on which Christ died so sorrowful a death?
A. We call that day good on which Christ died because by His death He showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing.
This last definition makes sense as well and helps us find a spiritual lesson in the name Good Friday.
While it may seem strange to call the day that Jesus died, “good,” it truly was good, and opened to us the gates of Heaven.