Good Friday 2018: Carrying Within, the Dark and Light
I have walked among many families through a cemetery to a gravesite to bury a family member. The journey always brings pause and tears. The journey is emotionally taxing and full of darkness and light. The journey always highlights division among family members and holy memories that compel people to wake up the following morning and live their futures. The journey also reveals how many people do not believe in God or no longer believe the mystery of the Church and how many people cling to such hopes. The journey from our cars to the cemetery often seems long, even endless, and yet, the journey is for everyone. We all carry within us to the gravesite, the dark and the light.
We read John’s (18:1-19: 42) account of the Passion today. We feel the darkness of betrayal from Jesus’ friend, the love he experienced on the journey, the loneliness he faced heading to his place of death. Today, we lift up all the is dead within us, all that seems lost and hopeless, all that is cumbersome and overwhelming, all that is unjust and horrific, all that seems unaccounted for and all that rouses fear within us. Today, we walk with Jesus to his death once again, waiting for the light within us to blink a sign of hope for us that faith alone shows us the way for a better tomorrow.
Today, we bring with us to the cross of Jesus the world’s suffering. We leave nothing out. We pray for people who are starving to death around our world, starving for food and for equal rights, thirsting for clean water and basic respect. We pray for our prisons behind bars and for our prisoners who live behind the bars of ignorance, hatred, violence and terrorism. We pray for the grieving families who lost a child in recent school shootings and we pray for a Christian interpretation of peace where love is our only weapon. We pray this day for those who live in outrage because of political systems of injustice and those who survive unjust power and abusive control.
We pray for the many children in our world who are tortured and controlled for sex, for those who are trafficked among nations and cities along our freeways. We pray for affordable housing and for people who live in their cars or in tents. We pray for all who are addicted to false power, to pain medications and heroin, to alcohol and gambling. We pray for immigrants around the world and those who are condemned because of skin color and language. We pray for the injustice within our Church, for people who are marginalized in our cities and in our pews. We pray for all that we carry within us that remain dark, waiting for light. We lift up all that is broken, lost and weary within our lives on this Friday we call Good.
Questions to consider:
What in this Passion narrative strikes your heart today? As you read or listen to the gospel, what opens you to further reflection?
What in your heart is in need of redemption and forgiveness?
What injustice or tragedy do you especially lift up on this Good Friday?
What does it mean for you to die to self?
How is God calling you to surrender to his love? How is Jesus calling you closer to himself in this Holy Week?
What does your heart ache for on this Good Friday?