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*Image: Jesus Rides a White Horse by James B. Janknegt, 2012 [Brilliant Corners Art Farm, Elgin, TX]

By Randall Smith, The Catholic Thing, April 18, 2022

Randall B. Smith is a Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas. He is the author of Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Guidebook for Beginners and Aquinas, Bonaventure, and the Scholastic Culture of Medieval Paris: Preaching, Prologues, and Biblical Commentary (2021). His website is:

Randall SmithAs I write, it is Good Friday, a day whose name I never quite understood as a child.  A man was crucified.  In what sense was that “good”?  Thus when I got older, I grasped immediately the paradox behind the lines from T.S. Eliot’s “East Coker”:

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

When I first became a Catholic, someone asked me: “Okay, so some guy died two thousand years ago. What does that have to do with me?”  Good question. I didn’t have a good answer. But I knew that if I was serious about this “Catholic thing,” I better get one. …

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