Everyday Crucifixions

There’s a certain starkness to Good Friday. The silence in my family’s home growing up, the solemnity of the ritual of reverencing the cross, the absence of the Eucharist from the tabernacle at our parish church. But there’s also something grounding about this break in the noisy-ness of our routines. The time for reflection on crucifixion has a way of bringing me back to the things about our tradition that continually grab hold of me and don’t let go.

Some time during college, I started attending the LA Catholic Worker’s Stations of the Cross service at the downtown Federal Building on Good Friday. That afternoon, we gathered in the heart of the City of Angels, taking time to pray before the structures that oppress the most vulnerable in our society. As people buzzed about their business all around us, the meditative quiet of childhood Good Fridays seemed to pervade our little procession. It seemed the only appropriate response to the enormity of the everyday crucifixions that happen inside and outside those buildings. Mothers struggling to make a life for their children on public assistance, teenagers facing life sentences in facilities previously reserved for adults, homeless folks swept off the streets and into jail, antiwar protestors joining them after committing civil disobedience on the steps of the federal building. Like the four women at the foot of the cross, we stood in silent witness to the life being destroyed before us.

On this day so marked by silence and darkness, how can we be witnesses to music and light? How can we say no to unnecessary death and yes to the life that frees us to live in love? For me, these are the questions at the heart of our journey toward the Kingdom of God.


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