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Grace: To hear the cries of the broken humanity and the silent weeping of creation in the death of Jesus

Today, on Good Friday, we contemplate Jesus, our Lifeline, on Mount Calvary being crucified for treading the path of kenotic (self-emptying) love, of ultimate justice and reconciliation – a day of silent listening. If we appropriate the Marga of Jesus, cross and death are inevitable.

The suffering and death of Jesus is not only an event of the past. Today as we look around with our eyes of faith, we notice that Christ is being crucified in the crucified of this world – people who are exploited, discriminated against, excluded and denied of their dignity. All faith traditions affirm that God listens to the cry of the poor, and God is close to those who suffer for ‘justice and reconciliation’. Our Lifeline, with an empathetic tone says, “I am with you” and “I suffer with you”. When we are in distress, God who is our mother and father is distressed (Isa 63:9).

Corona wakes us up from our slumber. First, we are invited to hear the cry of our ailing planet, groaning for liberation (Rom 8:22); second, ‘we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor’, the migrants, women and children; we remained anesthetized with ways of thinking and acting with misplaced priorities; that took us away from our roots of our belonging as brothers and sisters of common humanity. (Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi,27/03/20); third, this virus is also an indication of our distancing from God, our Lifeline (Col 1:21; Rom 8:7) and a call to trust in Him.

I am not alone in my suffering in the Corona lockdown. My suffering is an ‘interconnected reality’ – me, the other, creation and God. God’s marga (Way) to break this lockdown is ‘to suffer with’, in self-suffering love as in Calvary. “In hopeless situations of pain and suffering, God never abandons his children but rather remains close to them” (Pope Francis).

Pause and Reflect

  • With God life never dies … Embracing his cross means finding courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity (Pope Francis). What are you discovering as a ‘new way of life’ to co-labour with God in future?
  • What has been your attitude to the suffering of the crucified Lord and the crucified of this world – the poor and exploited?
  • Remain close to the Corona afflicted people during your prayer, and offer all of them to the care and protection of the Crucified Lord, your Lifeline.

Passages for Prayer and Reflection
Isa 52:13-53:12: The suffering and glory of the Servant
Isa 63:7-9: n all their distress, he too was distressed.
John 12:20-26: A grain of wheat has to die
Read meditatively any one of the passion narratives from the gospels. Get involved in the mystery as if it is taking place here and now. Pay attention to your interior movements. Share your joys and sorrow, fears and anxieties with the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, social distancing is all that I hear. Help me to go beyond the obvious. Allow me to embrace the cross and journey with you to experience the joy of self-suffering love.

Mantra: Help me to hear the cry of the poor.

Fr Joe Xavier SJ
Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru