The word “alleluia” comes from the Hebrew combination of “praise,” and “Yah,” and means, “praise God.” We tend to stop using “alleluia” in our liturgy in Lent because of its association with joy and thanksgiving. It’s as if we’re trying to deny ourselves any sense of joy because the path from Ash Wednesday to Easter goes through the awful events remembered on Good Friday. On Good Friday we remember the Passion of Jesus Christ, all of those things associated with his death.
Even though Good Friday’s service is called the “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion;” in no way do we celebrate his death. The death of Jesus is an awful mark on human history. It’s something that simply shouldn’t have happened. We call it a “celebration” and “good” because it is a significant step towards Easter, the resurrection and our salvation.
Denying ourselves the chance to sing, say or shout out an “alleluia” is pretty small compared to the Passion of the Lord. And let’s not be fooled; his passion is not just about the events leading up to his death; it includes the way he lived and everything he taught his followers.
It is by his passion that he taught his followers to love one another, to pray for their enemies, to refrain from judging others, to treat women as equals, to bless children and to work for justice.
It is by his passion that he is moved in his innermost parts to heal the sick and raise the dead, to welcome the outcast and to tell the poorest of the poor that they are favoured by God.
It is by his passion that the hypocrisy of religious people is exposed, that people come before the Law and that what we say and how we act is more important to God than what we eat or drink.
It is by his passion that he taught us that God is always with us, as close to us as a parent, like a member of our own household, who knows everything about us and still loves us. STILL LOVES US!
Today, we can sing “Praise God” and “Alleluia!” again, because Jesus really was born, he really is God’s Anointed One, he really died, he really was resurrected and he really lives amongst us now. And it is all really so because of his passion, because of everything about him! Alleluia!