Thinking about Good Friday, I wondered where it had taken me. Not very far, I’m afraid. The same rituals. The prayers. But what is Good Friday all about?
I took this to men who are differently-able, who are in lockdown because with “diminished capacity” cannot stand trial. As their chaplain I asked: “Does love have anything to do with Good Friday?”
Maybe we didn’t get very far because after I said, “God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to us as a human being. This means that Jesus experienced all the kinds of love we feel and think and will.” Their responses with some prudent deletions:
- “Jesus is churchy. You don’t do any lovin’ in church.”
- “Church people don’t like us.”
- “Did you say Jesus was arrested like us?”
- “He liked kids. Lots of adults don’t like kids. My dad didn’t like me.”
- “I like girls. Did Jesus like girls?”
- “I don’t believe that love stuff about Jesus.”
- “You’re saying Jesus would play cards with me? That’s crap.”
- “S*** Jesus ate with bad guys.”
- “And, bad girls!”
- “So, did Jesus have sex?”
- “You’re going to hell, Matt.”
- “You’re going to hell, yourself.”
- “You can’t talk about Jesus like that!”
- “Why not, she said he was human?”
These are high functioning young men with M.R. who have a hard time believing that “love stuff” was brought by Jesus so they could learn to love.
Are we any different? How do we love?
In some way, I think the Protestants have it right. They took Jesus off the cross. Still, we have crosses everywhere from jewelry to churches.
One of the men, who was quite thoughtful, asked if Jesus was killed today, if we really believed all this “love stuff” would we wear an electric chair as jewelry?
Christians used to be described this way…
THEY ARE CHRISTIANS SEE HOW THEY LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
My men don’t believe this for a minute.
Maybe it’s time to start wearing our love on our sleeve, to take Jesus off the cross and bring him into our everyday lives.
In Prayer…do we find ourselves always asking for something?
Do we ever say? “I love you.”
One of my guys said the last thing before he goes to sleep he says…AFTER he asks to “get out of here” is: “P. S. I love you.” And adds, “just in case.”
Pat Pickett, OblSB