Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42
We belong, you and I, to Sunday’s fickle crowd and their waving palms.
We belong in the company of Judas who sold his friend for silver,
because he was disillusioned with a Messiah who didn’t fit his expectations.
We belong to Thursday’s circle at the meal of friends,
their eyes wide, wondering, watching, passing bread from hand to hand,
steeped in bottomless mysteries, in silence deep as wine,
in secrets soon to break open.
We belong to the sorry clan of those who betray and run away.
We belong to the crowds in the high priest’s courtyard and those who line the streets, caught up in the mob’s frenzy. We collude with them as Pilate hands over an innocent man to be executed as a criminal.
We belong to Friday’s vigil keepers, dazed and weeping, by the Cross.
We belong to Saturday’s women, faithful to the end,
who even in their grief gather oils and spices
and prepare to anoint the dead body of one whom they love.
From the Cross, Jesus looks down with tender pity for us who belong to all these,
but who also belong from all eternity to him and to his Abba, his Father.
He sees our fragile, broken lives, the bottomless pit of our infirmities and sorrows
into which he has plunged and which he has claimed as his own.
His holy love holds the whole world’s pain. (Richard Rohr, OFM)
The whole world’s pain.
Those who are persecuted. Abused. Afraid. Lonely.
People who have no home but the streets. Wounded veterans.
Those with mental or emotional illness.
Parents struggling to provide for their children.
Victims of gang violence, school shootings, random killings, terrorist attacks,
innocent people caught in the crossfire of wars and tribal hatred.
People living with cancer, with Alzheimer’s, with debilitating diseases.
People who care for them.
The pain of ravaged bodies, of Earth, our ravaged common home.
He looks at us with love.
His holy love holds the whole world’s pain.
This Good Friday, may we summon the courage simply to meet his gaze,
and with immense gratefulness, to return his look of love.
–Sr. Regina Bechtle
Sr. Regina, a retreat leader, speaker, writer and spiritual director, serves as Charism Resource Director for the Sisters of Charity of New York. She gives presentations to lay and religious groups about St. Elizabeth Seton and our Vincentian-Charity heritage of spirituality.
Image: Pixabay, Geralt.
Thank you Regina for your thoughtful reflections on this Good Friday. Much to think and pray about on a personal level.