Good Friday isn’t a day I will say much about, it is the beginning of a great contemplative silence. It leaves one speechless, exhausted, and on ones knees. A very powerful day indeed. Today at the stations of the cross a collection was taken up for the holy lands. Its a tradition. This year those same lands have dominated the press. The announcement of this collection took on a bit more relevance. The violence of contemporary today can be viewed in the light of the day today commemorates. Certainly there is the Christian persecution that is the object of so many prayers and petitions. Today it seems thoughts drifted into another direction, to all of the residents of that troubled land. I thought of Christians persecuted for their faith, and the Jews who experience the same. I also thought of the Muslims who did not subscribe to their fundamentalist brethren’s agenda. Those that quietly live out their faith in harmony with other faith traditions. I view their mockery, and scourging even though an evil word never passed through their lips or entered their hearts. I think of their suffering and anguish and tears for a hatred they never possessed. They have suffered the bombs, they fled as refugees , and they were ridiculed for the opinions of others that look and dress like them. A prayer for people while contemplating a cross and crucifixion. A prayer for the people of the lands where that sacred cross once stood.
Jesus Meets His Mother. Think of those mothers staring at their wounded children. Those suffering through the harsh effects of malnutrition, or through the pains of an easily treated illness. Think of those mothers who suffer for their children, especially those who witness the suffering of a helpless child knowing that they can be saved. It is the torment of knowing that their child’s suffering can be prevented, but the means of relief are out of reach for her. It is the anguish of witnessing suffering helplessly. It is not for lack of desire these mothers witness their children’s suffering. They simply lack the ability to ease their child’s pain. Mothers stare helplessly at their suffering children every day in this world.
Jesus falls for the first time, the third station. Crosses can be heavy to bear, and many are crushed under the weight of them. To fall can be to be in despair. It is not simply the body that is crushed by a cross, those burdens weigh heavily on the minds and hearts of many who carry them. Think of those in despair, those tormented and suffering the mental anguish of their personal crosses. To fall the first time might land one in a mental institution, but they can only land there if people are compassionate enough to build them. They can only recover from their fall if people are compassionate enough to aid them in their recovery.
Jesus carries his Cross, the second station. Many today too wield heavy burdens, for one there is the burden of poverty. There is the burden of seeking food to eat and clean water to drink. Poverty can be a heavy cross to bear. Pick up a newspaper and seek those today that bear heavy burdens. Hunger is a heavy burden easy to focus on during this fast of Good Friday. For many though that hunger and thirst will carry on into Easter Sunday.