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Friday, April 19. 2019
Good Friday is a Christian day for prayer and reflection - not that every day is not.
A quote from Kevin McCullough:
Image: El Greco, 1695
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(With apologies, I'm new here, and may have posted this reply somewhere else, but it is meant for the Good Friday essay by Kevin McCullough)
Beautiful essay for this holy day, perhaps the most resonant day in the Catholic liturgical year.
As a young girl, Good Friday meant a day free from school, the first free day of spring to explore the woods, scouting for new growth or shrewdly evaluating the damage that winter had done to our elaborate system of paths and forts. Free until three o’clock, when having been called in from the woods by our mother, we dutifully filed into a dimly lit church, which stood in sharp contrast to the bright sun outside, and took our place in the pews.
I remember once looking at the fresh spring dirt under my nails, and thinking this was the only day that my mother would allow us to wear sneakers in church. And she, usually dressed perfectly for Mass, had only removed her apron and just barely ran a comb through her beautiful red hair. No lipstick, no stockings. And that was how Good Friday was meant to be, I realized. The death of Jesus was an earthly event that took place smack in the middle of life.
I remember thinking that all we really all we are asked to do was to acknowledge it – to stop what we were doing and think about this event . It was immediately evident, even to a young girl, that we didn’t deserve this sacrifice.
Throughout Lent, the Stations of the Cross, would offer us the opportunity to re-enact this event on a weekly basis, but on Good Friday afternoon we were asked to relive it – to examine our role in the Passion, not just to choose our favorite characters (Simon of Cyrene, of course!) but to acknowledge the person we really are, and the actions we permit or perform that betray our commitment and fidelity to the Son of Man whom we have condemned (and continue to condemn) to death.
Thanks for posting this reminder to stop, once again, and relive this afternoon, to make it our own.
"I remember thinking that all we really all we are asked to do was to acknowledge it."
Yup, that's it. Thanks, Ada.
That is a lovely and reverent piece that you wrote. As a Catholic, then growing up in the world before Vatican II, I remember the awe that accompanied Lent and particularly Good Friday...and I have similar memories to yours of my own mother. Thank you.
"smack in the middle of life..
I remember thinking that all we really all we are asked to do was to acknowledge it-"
That the work on the cross had been done, He died for our sins.
We receive a free gift of undeserved forgiveness.
My contribution to this celebration of "Good Friday" must, unfortunately, come from You Tube--my own church having been gutted by the same (very same) individuals who will gut my nation. Enjoy:
Had we stood in that crowd that day, it is a forgone conclusion that we would have been part of the sneering mob, ushering him to eternal doom.
I really doubt there was a sneering mob there. It's unlikely that the folks would have sneered at one of their own. Too many of their own had suffered a similar fate for there to be much sneering going on. It's not really possible to know what happened but an anti-Jewish mood seems to prevail in many of the writings.
Bob, I am not convinced on the sneering either, and never had a sense of that as the over-riding emotion, but the point (or one of them) is that the crowd is not made up of Jews, removed in time and remote in geographic space, but of us, here and now.
"[The] crowd is not made up of Jews, removed in time and remote in geographic space, but of us, here and now."
It is not anti-Semitic to acknowledge that the mob was made up of Jews berating another Jew - Jesus - and calling for his crucifixion (in First Century Jerusalem, who else could they have been?). Further, Jesus was crucified precisely because he was a Jew and had blasphemed against his own Jewish faith.
However, it is patently anti-Semitic to blame the death of Jesus on every single Jew, living or dead, forever.
Because the congregation generally voices the part of the mob, I have always taken the liturgy of the crucifixion to mean that any one of us could easily have been in that motley rabble in Jerusalem yelling for the release of Barabbas.
Every time I hear the Palm Sunday liturgy I more easily recognize myself in Judas, in Pilate, in the crowd, than in any of the faithful followers. Their arguments are so reasonable, so political, so secular, so prudent, and so completely missing the boat.
The mob supported turning Him over to Herod and to Pilate; why should we imagine they were not sneering? (Some of them, that is, while others were grieving helplessly.) The point is not that they were Jews but that a good chunk of His own people were very willing to turn on Him. Do we really think a modern crowd of random composition would behave much better? In the urge to avoid anti-Semitism we shouldn't lose sight of human nature. Jews can screw up just like Romans, or Americans. It's not an ethnic trait.
let us consider the situation in cinematic terms that is, the movie Casablanca.
the relationship between Empire and Kingdom was analogous to that of the Reich (represented by Maj. Strasser) and Vichy (Capt. Renault). The Vichy government was permitted to exist only at the sufferance of the Reich, so long as it kept the lid on political opposition (Lazlo, Berger). Likewise, the kingdom (King Herod) was dancing on a political tightrope, trying to appease the empire (Gov. Pilate) to prevent an outright takeover (which would eventually happen in Judea and much later in France) while managing or deflecting the anti-roman sentiments of the street mob and its incipient violence. The theatrical arrest and murder of Ugarte ("shot trying to escape") by Renault for the benefit of Strasser bears a passing resemblance to the Gospel accounts of the arrest, show trial and murder of Jesus by Herod for the benefit of Pilate.
Hope that helps.
so don't beat yourselves up over it.