And so, Good Friday has arrived. Have I accompanied the Lord? I am not sure that I give Him any comfort in my frenetic life and ways, even when I slow down. And today is about slowing down, recognizing the sacrifice and recognizing the love of God.
Whenever I think of His Passion, I think of myself as one of the soldiers whipping and spitting at Him. I think this is what I do. Sometimes, I’m Peter and I’m denying Him. The part of the Passion when Jesus looks at Peter always cuts through to me. John’s Gospel today is more subtle but, it is somber for me when he says “the cock crowed”. But, I think in the end I am one of the violent characters. I am torturing Jesus with my vanity, my rationalized way of being, my sinfulness. I know better so I’m not really like the soldiers, I’m worse. I just don’t want to think of myself as Pilate who also knows better or Judas who betrayed. I often betray.
In thinking about Jesus, I often forget his Mother and God the Father. Both must have wept. I often think Jesus weeps with and for us as much as he forgives us. And, I need forgiveness. Pray for me. I will pray for you.
Today is the first Good Friday without Benedict XVI’s public presence. Francis’ words hearten me although I still am having trouble getting used to him and his ways. I read a lot of interpretations of him but I have my own. One of which is that it must be really hard to become Pope. It must take a long time to have it really sink it. I’m sure he didn’t go around daydreaming – “I would do it this way if I were Pope”. It must be hard to know you can’t go back home. It must be just plain hard. And so, I ask the Lord to look over and bless Francis and to forgive me my inability to jump totally on board with His choice.
It is no longer that Francis is not Benedict. I just don’t understand all of what he does. Why does he bypass the rules and processes? I went to a Jesuit school and he is just reminding me of my experiences in which rules aren’t just broken but mocked. Rules for rule sake aren’t good but they help with telling us all what the boundaries are. But, when one says one is going to clean up the Curia and be more collegial and then bypasses curial process and structures to appoint a hand chosen successor, even if that is who you were going to pick doesn’t send a picture of collegiality or efficiency or love of your diocese who you do want to be led by the right shepherd. It sends the picture of an autocrat, a monarch, who thinks he can do whatever he likes, whenever – including make up his own rules. What will he make up next? These thoughts are the opposite of what and who Francis is or is he?. So, I am confused by the dichotomy and paradoxes he presents. Pray for me. Pray for him. I do not want to whip him. I want to trust him. I cannot yet. I am not giving the Lord comfort.
Also, let us pray to the Lord on this Good Friday that his love and mercy will reign and that all will come to the Father. Amen (I think this might be one of the many things Benedict is and has begged for, don’t you?)