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Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross

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Numerous writers and composers have been captivated by the suggestiveness of Jesus' Seven Last Words. But Richard John Neuhaus's sustained exploration of these utterances is something altogether different. Through them he plumbs the depths of human experience and sets forth the central narrative of Western civilization-the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ-in a Numerous writers and composers have been captivated by the suggestiveness of Jesus' Seven Last Words. But Richard John Neuhaus's sustained exploration of these utterances is something altogether different. Through them he plumbs the depths of human experience and sets forth the central narrative of Western civilization-the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ-in a way that engages the attention of believers, unbelievers, and those who are not sure what they believe. Death on a Friday Afternoon is an invitation to the reader into a spiritual and intellectual exploration of the dark side of human experience with the promise of light and life on the far side of darkness.


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Numerous writers and composers have been captivated by the suggestiveness of Jesus' Seven Last Words. But Richard John Neuhaus's sustained exploration of these utterances is something altogether different. Through them he plumbs the depths of human experience and sets forth the central narrative of Western civilization-the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ-in a Numerous writers and composers have been captivated by the suggestiveness of Jesus' Seven Last Words. But Richard John Neuhaus's sustained exploration of these utterances is something altogether different. Through them he plumbs the depths of human experience and sets forth the central narrative of Western civilization-the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ-in a way that engages the attention of believers, unbelievers, and those who are not sure what they believe. Death on a Friday Afternoon is an invitation to the reader into a spiritual and intellectual exploration of the dark side of human experience with the promise of light and life on the far side of darkness.

30 review for Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross

  1. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    I finished Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross - appropriately – on Easter Sunday evening. This will always stand out in my mind as the Lent I walked for forty days with Father Neuhaus, exploring the Last Seven Words of Jesus. The book is a profound meditation, at times a little too profound for this poor mind, but then what I did glean was beneficial and I’m grateful. What made the book so difficult to read, and yet so worthwhile at the same time, I finished Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross - appropriately – on Easter Sunday evening. This will always stand out in my mind as the Lent I walked for forty days with Father Neuhaus, exploring the Last Seven Words of Jesus. The book is a profound meditation, at times a little too profound for this poor mind, but then what I did glean was beneficial and I’m grateful. What made the book so difficult to read, and yet so worthwhile at the same time, was the way Father would walk you all the way around each of the ‘Words’ – which are really not words at all, but statements made by Our Lord from the Cross – refusing to settle for easy or simplistic interpretations of them. Early on Neuhaus quotes the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead when he said that, ‘the only simplicity to be trusted is the simplicity on the far side of complexity. The only joy to be trusted is the joy on the far side of a broken heart, the only life to be trusted is the life on the far side of death. Stay a while, with Christ and him crucified.’ It isn’t clear in the book how much of that is Neuhaus and how much Whitehead, not that it really matters I suppose; the point is we aren’t going to find easy answers here. We don’t. We do, however, find a very detailed and fascinating examination of each of the Seven Words, complete with stories, both personal and related, quotes, insights and suggestions. Some might call them conclusions and/or arguments. At times I thought the good Father wrote deductively, but then again I thought no, it wasn’t that; it was something else and what I wasn’t sure. In time I came to understand he writes with an underlying premise, a radical assumption about his reader but one which is not like most writer's assumptions and here is the crucial difference. Father Neuhaus takes it as a given that we are all on a similar path, on the way to find Jesus. He takes it for granted that his reader wants to find Christ—that the Holy Spirit has brought the soul and this book together in the first place. Repeatedly, he starts off his sentences, ‘We know...’ ‘We contemplate...’ ‘We hear...’ ‘We respond...’ etc. He doesn’t need to resort to the imperative because what he believes about his fellow brothers and sisters is true Christian love and humility. Death on a Friday Afternoon is not an easy book to read, but it’s well worth the effort—for Lent or for any time of the year. ><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Chapter 5: In this chapter the 'word' is "I thirst!" and Jesus is crying out from the Cross not for some liquid refreshment but for souls. Here Fr. Neuhaus discusses the evolution of his understanding of 'saving souls' from his earliest experience at mission revival when he was still a young boy through his maturation to a deeper, richer appreciation of living in and for the Truth. As he says on pages 168-169: ‘Possessing the truth and sharing the truth are not two things, but one. As Jesus makes dramatically clear in many parables and sayings, the same is true of forgiveness and love; we do not possess if we do not share, and the more we give away the more we possess.’ Chapter 4: What I like best here is Fr. Neuhaus’s treatment of the complexity of sin, the struggle we all face in trying to fight it, how often (constantly?!) we fail, why we fail, the futility of the struggle when we 'go it alone', and most of all, the fact that he refuses to compromise to the triteness of 'just do it' or 'be good', as if those remedies haven't been thought of (and tried) by almost every human being who ever lived. Whereas the rest of the book thus far has been more informative, this chapter, for me, has been the most helpful as a reflection on humanity’s hardhearted sinfulness, as well as its helplessness without God. The exclamation Jesus cries out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is the opening words of the beautiful lamentation Psalm 22. Beautiful lament? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? It would be if there was no one to hear, no one to answer, no one to respond. But just as everyone smiles at the first cries of a newborn, knowing that he (or she) lives, it truly is beautiful when we cry out to God, for only then do we truly LIVE in Him. ><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Although not entirely meditative, Father Neuhaus suggests with good reason, we read Death on a Friday Afternoon Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross slowly and 'maybe even put the book aside from time to time just to think about the mystery.' Each of the chapters deals with one of the "Seven Last Words" spoken by Our Lord from the Cross. These Words were in actuality entire phrases, even sentences and are found variously in the four Gospels of the New Testament. So far I've only read the Preface and first chapter. I was amazed to learn of the long, rich and extensive history of the Seven Last Words' devotions which continued right up to Vatican II. Chapter 1, Coming to Our Senses, is very much like being thrown into ice-cold water. Father Neuhaus wants us -- and I will say "me" -- to know without a doubt that I, and I alone am the reason Jesus was crucified. This isn't going to be a book where I'm going to be able to excuse myself by saying, "but you know, I'm not nearly so bad as X, Y and Z. I mean I never did that at least!" It doesn't matter. I have sinned and forgiveness costs. Someone had to pay the price for my sins. Jesus did it. I was the one who caused Him that agony in the Garden. I scourged Him. I pounded those nails into His hands and feet. I put Him up there on the Cross. This is how Father Neuhaus puts it,'Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, we were there when we crucified our Lord. Recognizing the line that runs through every human heart, no longer do we try to draw the line between "them" and "us." Who can look long and honestly at the victims and the perpetrators of history's horrors and say that this has nothing to do with me? To take the most obvious instance, where would we have taken our stand that Friday afternoon? With Mary and the Beloved Disciple or with the mocking crowds? "Know thyself," the philosophers said, for this is the beginning of wisdom. "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom," wrote the Psalmist. Knowing myself and fearing God, knowing a thousand big and little things that I have done and failed to do, I cannot deny that I was there. In ways I do not fully understand, I know that I, too, did the deed, wielded the whip, drove the nails, thrust the spear. (page 20)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Hmm. I was torn about how to rate this book; I guess I'd give it a 3 1/2 if I could. It was the first Neuhaus book I read, and, to be honest, I now think I enjoy his thought as a cultural commentator more than as a theologian. I was looking forward to reading it during Holy Week, and it truly did contain some wonderful meditations on the Cross, which alone made it well worth reading. However, I felt that Neuhaus veered off his meditative course rather distractingly at times, and I found some of h Hmm. I was torn about how to rate this book; I guess I'd give it a 3 1/2 if I could. It was the first Neuhaus book I read, and, to be honest, I now think I enjoy his thought as a cultural commentator more than as a theologian. I was looking forward to reading it during Holy Week, and it truly did contain some wonderful meditations on the Cross, which alone made it well worth reading. However, I felt that Neuhaus veered off his meditative course rather distractingly at times, and I found some of his thoughts on universalism and soteriology troubling. Occasionally he just went on too long. For someone who worked so closely with evangelicals, he sometimes sounded, to my admittedly ultra-sensitive ears, a bit straw-mannish in his appraisals of Protestant theology. And I just don't really feel like debating what happened on the Cross when I'm reading this book on Good Friday. Still, for all that...an undeniably rich and well-written book by a godly man with a pastoral heart.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Jakows

    I read Death on a Friday Afternoon many years ago and found it captivating and inspiring. Recently, I re-read parts of it and found it less so since the author seems distracted and off-topic in some sections. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile book to read about this ultimate act of love from Our Lord and Savior.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

    Very good, I would have liked it much better without the chapter with the universalist tone. Basically Hans Urs von Balthasar view from his book "Dare we hope 'That all men be saved'". Neuhaus' view is pretty nuanced and now I remember the whole back and forth about this in First Things. Still I found much to glean from this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    The absolute best Lenten meditation book. A must-have.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caleb

    Death on a Friday Afternoon is a good but frustrating book. It contains some substantial insights, beautiful passages, and compelling erudition. Its subject, structure, and tone is perfect for Lent. But it also meanders too much for a book of its length. Although these are supposed to be "meditations," Neuhaus' editor let him wander off too often. I would have loved to read something more structured on this subject from Neuhaus, or to have read this book with 30-50 fewer pages. Too often he woul Death on a Friday Afternoon is a good but frustrating book. It contains some substantial insights, beautiful passages, and compelling erudition. Its subject, structure, and tone is perfect for Lent. But it also meanders too much for a book of its length. Although these are supposed to be "meditations," Neuhaus' editor let him wander off too often. I would have loved to read something more structured on this subject from Neuhaus, or to have read this book with 30-50 fewer pages. Too often he would make an interesting point and then start something new without developing it fully or circle back to re-state phrases and ideas. Although I am familiar with Neuhaus as a cultural commentator and founding editor of First Things, this was my first time reading one of his books. I probably should have started with the Naked Public Square...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    Death on a Friday Afternoon explores Christ’s final words form the cross, as they are recorded varyingly in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It reveals, also, our need for a savior and expresses the beauty of the redemption of man. Some of the passages in this book are downright moving. The author explores many serious questions, delivering, among other things, new insight into the true nature of the missionary imperative. Neuhaus has a wealth of information at his mind’s edge, and he draws on lit Death on a Friday Afternoon explores Christ’s final words form the cross, as they are recorded varyingly in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It reveals, also, our need for a savior and expresses the beauty of the redemption of man. Some of the passages in this book are downright moving. The author explores many serious questions, delivering, among other things, new insight into the true nature of the missionary imperative. Neuhaus has a wealth of information at his mind’s edge, and he draws on literature, history, and theology regularly, but these allusions are never presented in a “see how smart I am” manner; they are always natural. His prose is not complicated, but nor is it dumbed-down; he does not speak to us as though we were mentally children. Those who believe Christ died only for the elect will have much to object to in the theology of this book, but I think even they will find the writing affecting and at times convincing. I was especially intrigued by his views of hell and evangelism. One passage struck me especially: "The Christian life is about living to the glory of God. It is not a driven, frenetic, sweated, interminable quest for saving souls. It is doing for his glory what God has given us to do. . . Souls are saved by saved souls who live out their salvation by thinking and living differently, with a martyr's resolve, in a world marked by falsehood, baseness, injustice, impurity, ugliness, and mediocrity." (Of course, souls aren't saved by souls; they're saved by Christ, but overlooking that...poignant stuff.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Rush

    Wow. Revelation after revelation. Anyone who is serious about Lent should read this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I would give this more stars if I could. What a positively incredible book! I was so moved and inspired and brought to tears and to deep, deep thought over and over again as I read. Father Neuhaus speaks deep theology in this book, but he also speaks with wonder and awe at the Love we can never fully understand in this world, the Love of God. I can't say enough good things. I chose this as a personal Lenten study, and I feel like my whole understanding of the cross, of Good Friday, has been chan I would give this more stars if I could. What a positively incredible book! I was so moved and inspired and brought to tears and to deep, deep thought over and over again as I read. Father Neuhaus speaks deep theology in this book, but he also speaks with wonder and awe at the Love we can never fully understand in this world, the Love of God. I can't say enough good things. I chose this as a personal Lenten study, and I feel like my whole understanding of the cross, of Good Friday, has been changed and deepened. Absolutely the best thing I've read this year!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    I finished this book on Good Friday, as I prepared to lead worship and preach the final sermon of a series about Jesus' last words from the cross. Fr. Neuhaus' book is, quite simply, a wonder. Read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    JasmineB

    This book challenged me a lot, in terms of my understanding of my faith and what it requires of me. I like how the author did not try to sugarcoat reality, nor did he go the usual way of positive thinking and feel-good approach. Quite the contrary, I was quite surprised and challenged at the propositions he gave. A very good read for someone who would really like to grow in faith.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    An absolutely beautiful and punchy meditation on the Seven Last Words of Christ. Neuhaus has a sledgehammer style which is fairly unusual in meditative works, but highly effective when reviewing the Passion of Christ. Excited to read other books by him and to follow up on references he made in this work. Highly recommend.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Great first chapter The first chapter was excellent then he went down hill. He promoted universalism and the immaculate conception in chapters 2-3. I liked his work with other sources and use of the English language. Good introduction too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sheri-lee

    I’ve been blogging some thoughts on this book while reading it at the end of lent and heading into Good Friday. There is a lot to say. It’s very good. A good meditation on the last words of Jesus.

  15. 5 out of 5

    J. Brandon

    Superb! I read this two years ago and I will read it yet again. Fantastic for Lent or Holy Week.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz Hoffman

    Some very powerful thoughts that are scripture-based.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary Alice

    Father Neuhaus died this morning. I feel such sadness. I really liked and respected him. I highly suggest reading his writings. He combined intellectualism, depth of faith and wit well. He will be missed. May he rest in peace. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus Passes Away New York, Jan 8, 2009 (CNA).- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the famous convert to Catholicism and editor of the journal First Things passed away this morning in New York at 9:30 a.m. EST. CNA was informed of Fr. Neuhaus’ death through an ann Father Neuhaus died this morning. I feel such sadness. I really liked and respected him. I highly suggest reading his writings. He combined intellectualism, depth of faith and wit well. He will be missed. May he rest in peace. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus Passes Away New York, Jan 8, 2009 (CNA).- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the famous convert to Catholicism and editor of the journal First Things passed away this morning in New York at 9:30 a.m. EST. CNA was informed of Fr. Neuhaus’ death through an announcement from George Weigel who stated, "Father Richard John Neuhaus was called home to the house of the Father at about 09:30 EST today. May God grant him the reward of his labors, and give consolation and peace to those who loved him and who will carry on his work." Fr. Neuhaus himself revealed his battle with cancer in an article written on December 5. "The nature of the cancer is beginning to come into clearer focus, and I hope to have more details in short order. Meanwhile, I will, please God, continue to be as engaged as possible in the work of First Things and other apostolates, even as I am compelled by grace to know more deeply our solidarity within the Body of Christ," he wrote. In late December, the First Things blog disclosed that Fr. Neuhaus’ health had taken a turn for the worse. During the Christmas Season he became "dangerously ill" from what appeared to be "a systemic infection," which left him very weak. "Entering the hospital the day after Christmas, he was sedated to lower an elevated heart rate and treatment was begun for the infection." A source close to Fr. Neuhaus told CNA that a few days ago the priest received the last rites from Fr. George Rutler, and since then had lost consciousness, along with a steady deterioration in his vital signs. And here is a link to a wonderful article he wrote about dying-- http://www.firstthings.com/article.ph... March 21 2009 update-I'm rereading this for a book club for lent.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    An amazing, thoughtful work. But dense in that it is circumlocutious and wraps around and around in a very philosophical manner as Father Neuhaus explores the meaning of the seven last phrases. He refuses to offer platitudes or simple answers. He searches for the truth, sometimes in places I would not have thought to even look. It is beautiful in how the book showcases such love for the truth of who God is and what he has done. And ultimately what that means for each of us now. It is brilliant and An amazing, thoughtful work. But dense in that it is circumlocutious and wraps around and around in a very philosophical manner as Father Neuhaus explores the meaning of the seven last phrases. He refuses to offer platitudes or simple answers. He searches for the truth, sometimes in places I would not have thought to even look. It is beautiful in how the book showcases such love for the truth of who God is and what he has done. And ultimately what that means for each of us now. It is brilliant and well worth the read. In Veratatis Splendor, John Paul notes that we cannot always do the good that we would do, but those who live against the horizon of martyrdom can always not do what is evil. To live against the horizon of martyrdom is to have internalized the words of Jesus, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his own life?" The encyclical cites the examples of many martyrs in the Bible and in Christian history and appeals also to the moral widsom found in non-Christian traditions. "the words of the Latin poet Juvenal apply to all: 'Consider it the greatest of crimes to prefer survival to honor and out of love of physical life to lose the very reason for living.' And I also liked all the historical and cultural notes. Such as: After each reproach is the acclamation. It is called the Trisagion, the "thrice holy," and has played a prominent part in Eastern Orthodox liturgy since the fifth century. It was received into the Latin Rite only in the eleventh century, and then only for the veneration of the cross on Good Friday, precisely for the occasion when it might seem most inappropriate. Holy is God! Holy and mighty! Holy immortal One, gave mercy on us!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karen L.

    This is an excellent lenten devotional read, well worth owning. Neuhaus does not push the more controversial subjects that typically scare protestants, i.e., Mariology, or purgatory. I found the book so full, like a meal with many courses. It should be read in small bites, with time to meditate on the reading. I love the brilliance of his words about the gospel as truth: Who are we to say that our truth is superior to the truths by which others live? That is an excellent question, if it is a que This is an excellent lenten devotional read, well worth owning. Neuhaus does not push the more controversial subjects that typically scare protestants, i.e., Mariology, or purgatory. I found the book so full, like a meal with many courses. It should be read in small bites, with time to meditate on the reading. I love the brilliance of his words about the gospel as truth: Who are we to say that our truth is superior to the truths by which others live? That is an excellent question, if it is a question of "our " truth. But the claim is that the gospel is quite simply, the truth.It is the true story about the world and everybody in the world. That is an insufferably arrogant assertion, unless it is true. He further clarifies how truth sharing should be done by using John Paul II's words," The Church imposes nothing. She only proposes." But what she proposes she proposes as the truth. Here is a sample quote from chapter one that I think is a good example of his writing style: The anciet Christian fathers spoke of the Christ event as the "recapitulation" of the entire human drama. In this one life, all lives are summed up; in the eternal present of this one life, the the past is encompassed, the future is anticipated and the life of Everyman and Everywoman is most truly lived. "I am the way, the truth, and the life," he said. Not a way among other ways, not a truth among other truths, not a life among other lives, but the way of all ways, the truth of all truths, and the life of all lives.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bojan Tunguz

    My first encounter with Fr. Neuhaus's writing came through the pages of "First Things", a magazine on the role of religion in public life. His penetrating insights and carefully crafted arguments are true gems of wisdom. I've come to appreciate them and depend on his daily reflections on current issues the way some people depend on a shot of caffeine to get them through a day. This book, however, is written in a completely different style and with a very different aim. Here we see a more spiritu My first encounter with Fr. Neuhaus's writing came through the pages of "First Things", a magazine on the role of religion in public life. His penetrating insights and carefully crafted arguments are true gems of wisdom. I've come to appreciate them and depend on his daily reflections on current issues the way some people depend on a shot of caffeine to get them through a day. This book, however, is written in a completely different style and with a very different aim. Here we see a more spiritual and meditative side of Fr. Neuhaus, and I, for one, am grateful for this insight. Here he contemplates the seven last words of Christ, devoting a chapter to each one of them. His aim is to takes us deeper into the mystery of crucifixion and the death of Christ, and to resist the temptation to just rush over to Easter. The book can be used as a devotional aid, and would be a good companion reading material during Lent. The meditative nature of the book does not prevent Fr. Neuhaus from making and defending some theologically strong positions. The greatest, and for non-Christians probably the most controversial, claim is that "[i]f what Christians say about Good Friday is true, then it is, quite simply, the truth about everything." The purpose of this statements is not necessarily to argue a theological position, but to bring urgency and highlight the importance of what happened on that Friday afternoon. In reading this book we can make one big step closer to that goal.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Charles Lewis

    If you can believe it I bought this book for the cover. I was away for a few days years ago and forgot to bring something to read. I still remember how shocked I was by how much this book spoke to me. Fr. Neuhaus really asks the reader to stay with Christ's suffering on the cross and he does that by taking the perspective of the seven last words of Christ. It's like reading the same story seven times but each time with a fresh point of view. I've since read this book three times and I will do so If you can believe it I bought this book for the cover. I was away for a few days years ago and forgot to bring something to read. I still remember how shocked I was by how much this book spoke to me. Fr. Neuhaus really asks the reader to stay with Christ's suffering on the cross and he does that by taking the perspective of the seven last words of Christ. It's like reading the same story seven times but each time with a fresh point of view. I've since read this book three times and I will do so again for Lent 2012. It's interesting because Neuhaus was the editor of First Things and was identified with the Christian right. But there is nothing of that here. In fact, Neuhaus is the most generous of Christians, offering a view of salvation that is utterly hopeful yet without losing the toughness of Catholicism. I think this book should eventually be recognized as one of the great Christian spiritual classics of all time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Young

    I was deeply edified by chapter one, "Coming to Our Senses." This was a cross-centered mediation on the words of Christ, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Very editing and rich. I lost interest through the second chapter with it's focus on arguing for Christian Universalism - intriguing but misguided. I stopped reading after the third chapter proved to be a mediation on Mariology. I cannot fault Father Neuhaus for being a committed Roman Catholic. He is gracious, and clearl I was deeply edified by chapter one, "Coming to Our Senses." This was a cross-centered mediation on the words of Christ, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Very editing and rich. I lost interest through the second chapter with it's focus on arguing for Christian Universalism - intriguing but misguided. I stopped reading after the third chapter proved to be a mediation on Mariology. I cannot fault Father Neuhaus for being a committed Roman Catholic. He is gracious, and clearly loves the Savior. His cross-centered love for the Savior is edifying - his digressions into problematic doctrines is not. I'd recommend it - especially for the first chapter - but would not go out of my way to buy it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dolores

    A beautiful meditation on the meaning of the last words of Jesus and how they reflect what it means to be a Christian. Even for non-believers, Neuhaus examines the meaning of our time on earth, how to live a moral life, and the existence of good and evil, all in accessible language. As a Catholic school graduate, the tone and messages are very familiar, although the emphasis is on love rather than guilt. A great book. One of my very favoriates. I reread it every year and it's very appropirate as A beautiful meditation on the meaning of the last words of Jesus and how they reflect what it means to be a Christian. Even for non-believers, Neuhaus examines the meaning of our time on earth, how to live a moral life, and the existence of good and evil, all in accessible language. As a Catholic school graduate, the tone and messages are very familiar, although the emphasis is on love rather than guilt. A great book. One of my very favoriates. I reread it every year and it's very appropirate as Good Friday approaches.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue Klefstad

    I found in my quote book a quotation from this book that propelled me to buy the book and read it. It's a lovely meditation on the Book of John. The quotation is from the first page of the book: Maundy Thursday is so called because that night, the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gave the command, the mandatum, that we should love one another. Not necessarily with the love of our desiring, but with a demanding love, even a demeaning love—as in washing the feet of faithless friends who will run I found in my quote book a quotation from this book that propelled me to buy the book and read it. It's a lovely meditation on the Book of John. The quotation is from the first page of the book: Maundy Thursday is so called because that night, the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gave the command, the mandatum, that we should love one another. Not necessarily with the love of our desiring, but with a demanding love, even a demeaning love—as in washing the feet of faithless friends who will run away and leave you naked to your enemies.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

    Years ago, during Holy Week, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus preached on the seven last words of Christ. He decided to expand the sermons into a book. Death on a Friday afternoon is one of the most profound meditations on the death and resurrection of Jesus. This book can be read anytime of the year, however, once read, you will find yourself drawn back to it again and again. It is an amazing piece of theological reflection and thought.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Thoughtful and engaging discussion about the phrases Jesus uttered while dying on the cross. Surprisingly not boring and insightful (I had thought any book so blatantly about religion would be dry and boring). The author was a Lutheran who converted to Roman Catholicism so its an interesting perspective and not too heavy on the things that make Lutherans uncomfortable.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Waring

    I found this book to be one of the most complete spiritual books that I have read. Through the seven last words of Jesus, Fr. Neuhaus touches on topics ranging from suffering, to the Immaculate Conception, to martyrdom, to faith. He is a fantastic writer and every sentence is well crafted. What a good book to read during Lent.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This is an excellent book for Lenten meditation--it shed new light on scriptures I've read dozens of times. I learned a lot of theology, but it is also a very prayerful book, I stopped and reflected throughout each chapter. I could easily read it again every year (or more often) and get new things from it each time. Really, really wonderful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Isaiah Mary

    An excellent read for any time of year, but especially during the season of Lent. Neuhaus does a wonderful job of representing the work of the Passion and Crucifixion that is intelligent, concise and noteworthy. He doesn't dumb down the faith in any way. Rather, he makes a 'sideways' apologetic for it...proving that the Catholic faith much more open than people actually think.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julia DelSignore Peoples

    Heavy stuff. It took my forever to finish it. And I probably wouldn't have if it didn't come so highly recommended. I can't say I agree with everything he said. I can't say I understood it all at the first reading. It definitely needs to be read again, but I don't think I can make my way through it a second time.

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