On Good Friday, we hear the proclamation of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. This unique version of the story is filled with details not present in the other three Gospel accounts.

One detail particularly inspires me: "That the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and that they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.

"But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out....This happened so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: 'Not a bone of it will be broken.' And again another passage says: 'They will look upon him whom they have pierced.'"

The image of blood and water flowing from the pierced side of the Lamb of God stirs my imagination: the precious flow of mercy and grace flowed from the Savior's side, flowing in light upon all who will be washed in this luminous wave of love. They flowed:

* upon the cross onto Calvary's ground;

* upon Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved;

* upon the centurion who proclaimed Him to be the Son of God;

* upon the soldiers who cast lots for Jesus' garments;

* upon Pilate, who had handed Jesus over to be crucified;

* upon the chief priests who called for Jesus' death;

* upon Annas and Caiphas, who interrogated Jesus;

* upon Barrabas, who was a revolutionary;

* upon the guards who scourged Jesus and crowned Him with thorns;

* upon Peter, who wept bitterly in high priest's courtyard;

* upon Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver; and

* upon James and John who could not stay awake and pray with Jesus.

From the flowing blood and water of Calvary's cross, death was overcome. They flowed:

* upon Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who laid Jesus' body in the tomb;

* upon Mary of Magdala, as she wept at the sight of an empty tomb;

* upon Jerusalem and the disciples who were locked in fear; and

* upon Thomas who doubted the words of his brothers.

This blood and water flows through time and space:

* to Assisi and upon Ss. Francis and Clare;

* to Lisieux and upon Therese Martin, the "Little Flower" saint;

* to the New World and upon Blessed Kateri Tekawitha; and

* to India and upon Blessed Mother Teresa and the poor of Kolkata.

This Good Friday, mercy and grace flow upon us and our Diocese and our Church: upon our catechumens who will be initiated at the Easter Vigil...upon you and me...upon all the living and the dead.

In this wondrous flow, all is made well; all is made new! Such a wonder of mercy and grace prompts us to sing Alleluia - even on Good Friday.

(Father Paulli is chief of staff at Siena College, Loudonville.)