By Ricardo Márquez
Jesus’ death was shameful, humiliating, a disgrace. The spirit that inhabits us needs time and an openness to mature in the faith to gain a new perspective and come to understand and feel that, from that disgraceful act, was born a new hope and sense of life.
The injustice, abuse and humiliation that one good and just person was subjected to happened 2,023 years ago. The question for us today is if that same situation continues to be repeated today. That is not merely remembering the Crucifixion, but connecting with the emotions that surrounded that moment, emotions of frustration, rage, sadness and helplessness. Jesus, fully human as well as divine, His mother, and His disciples traveled these emotional paths. Conflicting emotions of pain and forgiveness, despair and love, fear and courage.
If we listen to the cries of the current world and see the complexities of an interconnected reality, we equally can feel shameful; we can see that we’re not on a righteous road, that we have made social and political decisions leading us to war, hunger, destruction and death.
When the motivations that guide our actions are a quest for power, prestige and money, the fruits of distrust, violence and division can be seen. By these fruits, we can know the seeds planted in society, communities and families. Otherwise, it’s difficult to understand where these human beings are coming from who are discouraged, aggressive, and capable of buying weapons with the approval or ignorance of their parents, to shoot children, teachers and innocent adults.
Paradoxically, in this precise moment, the seeds of goodness, of kindness, of compassion and love are also at work. They make less noise and don’t make the news. In this precise moment, there are persons helping the injured at roadside accidents, people embracing refugees at borders, volunteers who organize to distribute food, people who promote the protection of life, individuals who propose laws to control the poisons spewing into the air and sea, and communities of distinct religions praying for us to transform our hearts and cultivate hope.
The struggle between good and evil has been a “mystery” that human beings have always tried to unravel. The question of “Why does evil exist?” continues to trouble our hearts and minds. The clearest concept we have developed is that, in the end, these actions are a matter of personal choice, an exercise of our free will.
Good and evil are within us, and part of the reality that surrounds us; that’s why we have to make decisions constantly. The light that is lit in our Easter liturgy, the light of Christ, symbolizes the life of a Christ who has resurrected; that light passes to each of us and to everyone in the community. That light is fragile and can be extinguished by any stiff wind. It’s up to us to protect it, and to feed it so it can illuminate.
What do we choose to do? Do we choose to illuminate where we are, or do we choose to complain and curse the darkness that surrounds us? It takes time to wake up; let us ask in our prayers and in the silence of our intimacy for the grace to “see,” “hear,” and “feel” as Christ did.
Let us pray for the grace of being aware and thankful disciples of Jesus, who is the Light and who came to breathe new life into relationships, grounding them in fraternity and justice, and love and respect among all.
In every action we take, simple as it may be, in every act of service that we do, in every smile and healing hug we give, that is where the miracle of the Resurrection is occurring; that is where the light we received is shining, where we experience and are agents of the passage from darkness toward the light.
Ricardo Márquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.