Remember the poor who are condemned as Jesus was, says BROTHER COLLIN WEE
Good Friday as we all know is the day when Christians observe the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And we also believe Jesus died on Good Friday. It was His death day. But Good Friday must not only remain a death day, it must be connected to Easter, which symbolises the loving response of the Father to the obedient Son and of Christ’s victory and power over death.
As we reflect upon His crucifixion, I want to highlight three things Jesus said which are all variations of one central truth and at the heart of the Christian faith and life. I call it the ‘Amazing Paradox Jesus was Teaching”.
The first paradox was when Jesus said that life comes only with death.
The grain of wheat was ineffective and unfruitful so long as it was preserved, as it were, in safety and security. It was only when it was thrown into the cold ground, and buried there as if in a tomb, that it bore fruit. It is always because men and women have been prepared to die that great things have lived. But it is more personal than that. It is sometimes only when a person buries his or her personal aims and ambitions that they begin to be of real use to God.
The second paradox was the numerous times Jesus said that the man who hoards his life will lose it and the man who spends his life will gain it in the end.
We have only to think of what this world would have lost if there had not been men and women prepared to forget their personal safety, security, selfish gain and advancement. The world owes everything to people who gave themselves to God and to others.
The third paradox was when He said greatness comes with service.
The people whom the world remembers with love are the people who serve others. It is all too true that in the modern world, the idea of service is in danger of becoming lost. So many people are in business only for what they can get out of it. They may well become rich but they will never be loved, and love is the true wealth of life.
Jesus taught us that only by death comes life, that only by spending life do we retain it, that only by service comes greatness.
Perhaps in the past, on Good Friday, we have thought only of self denial, penance or mortification. Truly, all three are absolutely needed in the change taking place in us from a self-centred life to a Christ-centred life. But may I suggest that this Good Friday, while we reflect on Jesus giving up His life for us, that it also be a time of giving for us.
It is easy to recognise Christ and follow along the path where His blood has been dried for many, many years, especially when He is carved in marble or painted in oils. But do we ever follow the warm, moist footprints of His blood freshly drawn from the veins of our brothers and sisters in the world? Or do we vow with Peter, ‘I know not the man”.
Sometimes I wonder, how can we miss the man? He is still falling under the cross, still being stripped of His human dignity, still dying and being buried in the last, the lost and the least of our society.
As we listen to the reading on the Passion of Our Lord, let His sufferings and death come alive for us and let us remember the men and women of this age, those who are poor or in any way afflicted. Let us realise that the joys, hopes, grief and anxieties of these people are also the joys, hopes, grief and anxieties of the followers of Christ.
Br Collin Wee is a De La Salle Brother and is the Head of Home at HopeHouse.
This article was first published in The Catholic News on Sunday April 7, 2019.