Good Friday

“Where you there when they crucified my Lord?”  This is a popular spiritual tune that is often sung at services on this day.  While being a beautiful spiritual and a lovely springboard for reflective prayer, I have always disliked its use during the liturgy.

By asking if we were there when our Lord was crucified, it takes our attentions back to a time and a place where we can have no influence or impact.  The question revolves around us and our emotions during the event – asking us to reflect on what we are feeling, and yes, it does cause us to tremble.

But, perhaps the better question is “Where are we when our Lord is being crucified today?”  In our society today, and even within our Church, crucifixions are taking place . . . of gays and lesbians; of women and children; of the poor and homeless . . . and where are we?  Are we doing anything to help put a stop to the pain and the suffering?

It’s not an easy question to answer.  I am inspired by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who did so much to help alleviate some of the pain and suffering that she saw in the world.  It is said that she was inspired by two words Christ spoke and that she had them hanging on a plaque over her bed as a constant reminder to her.  “I thirst.”

With those two words in mind, Mother Teresa saw anyone with any thirst – be it physical, mental, or spiritual – as Jesus himself, and she spent her life reaching out and offering them some refreshment and relief.

As Jesus hangs on the cross in our day and our time, can we also offer some relief?  Any relief?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?  No.  Are we here while they are still crucifying our Lord?  Let us look deep within ourselves for the grace to stand up and act to relieve some of the pain and abuse; suffering and oppression that are still crucifying people in our society, our church and our world today.  May our trembling move us to the grace of action.


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