On Good Friday, the spirit of inclusion offered by the message inherent in the Last Supper and Washing of the Feet is slapped in our faces with its truth. (Again, small disclaimer: I’ve researched this stuff or been told it by priests and other religious, forming my views.)
Regardless of what you believe about the truth of events over Easter, there are some things that can’t be denied. Like how Jesus was put to death because (as I mentioned previously) He dared to challenge the status quo by reaching out to all, even and especially those who were considered “untouchable”. That wasn’t all: his message was bread for a hungry crowd, sight for a previously blind one. People listened to him, which meant they, too, challenged the status quo as He did.
So the persecutors tempted one of Jesus’ friends, then manipulated the judge (Pilate) who officiated at Jesus’ show trial. Pilate literally “washed his hands” of the matter due to pressure from the religious leaders…one of the first examples of peer pressure from crowd mentality causing a person to cave in and support the dominant opinion, you could say.
It was hoped that by killing Jesus, they would kill His message. That plan failed, obviously.
Jesus taught that the things that mattered were compassion for each other’s weaknesses, strength to build each other up, a sense of community that was forging and non-judgemental. In a word, love.
Sometimes that vision (or the realisation of it) can be difficult to believe. Especially when our own egos and fears get in the way. I’ve come to realise that Simon Peter represents us in that regard. Jesus trusted in and loved him, though, even through his mistakes. As He trusts in and loves us. The message still resonates, despite how difficult it can be, because of its truth.
Today, Jesus is still present in the outcast people of society. We would do well to remember that in how we treat them. This is true for all of us, especially Christians, in our treatment of those who “don’t fit” our mould or idea of morality (like LGBTI people, or [in the Catholic Church] divorced and unwed parents [especially mothers], for example). Welcoming sounds nicer than holier-than-thou anyway.
One group of outcasts in whom Jesus can be seen are refugees. Below is a video explaining some things about the Syrian situation and refugee crisis. five years is too long. Something to think about during this time….they are the ones on the Cross right now, as borders shut and they are trapped in substandard conditions.The question is – what can we do to help them and other Cross-bearers in today’s society?
That’s what I hear in the story of Cross this year.