Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

The Roman Catholic Church decrees this to be Good Friday, the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Romans at Calvary. All Catholics and Christians are expected to observe the day in holy reverie for the death of The Savior.

The sad part of this whole thing, is that so much energy is invested in telling this story and the story of the Resurrection, as if they alone were reason enough to revere Jesus and praise The Lord.

The value of the story of the rise and fall of Jesus Christ is not his being the Son of God, nor strictly that he was crucified, but all that comes in between. While the Western World has seen fit to make celebrations of his birth, death, and re-birth, it has done fairly little to promote the actual teaching of the precepts he outlined in his sermons and talks with those who followed him. They have been left to the dry and dusty pages of The Bible, only to be plucked out as need be to create sermon material. Very rarely, are those teachings used to light a fire under those who claim reverence for Jesus, but pay short shrift to the actual meaning of his life.

Jesus taught those of us who believe in him, that each an every person, no matter of what creed or race or state, was of value, and that we all carried within us, as part of the greater humanity, a human duty to perform those acts that would raise up those who could not pick themselves up: the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the sick, etc. He taught us that there was no value in proselytizing; they would see the value of his words where his adherents followed them and showed them to be the words of love and compassion. He enjoined his followers not to think of themselves, but to think of others. He implored them to take care of each other, for that love of humanity was the key to Heaven. Any careful reading of the New Testament that ignores the concepts in favor of the literal words, misses the point of Jesus' existence and denigrates the sacrifice he made.

It is not enough to stand in a place of worship, sing hymns to Jesus' greatness before the symbol of his death, take Communion, and consider yourself a "good Christian" or "good Catholic." If your actions do not match your worship, if they do not carry the spirit of The Savior, then they are hollow entreaties at best. Paying attention to the words and not their meaning, does not fill your spirit or cleanse your soul; it only papers over the shocking ignorance you have of the true sacrifice of a man for humanity as a whole. He, Jesus, died upon that cross, as exemplar of the sacrifice one must make to all humanity, if one truly believes in the worth of all people. He was willing to die upon the cross, to show his followers the true meaning of his words, that it was better to die for humanity's salvation, than live to see its degradation.

What sickens me, is that so many who will worship today, fervent in their desire to abase themselves before Jesus on The Cross and claim themselves as decent Catholics/Christians before God, are hypocrites of the highest order. They are more interested in the words than in their meaning. They believe simply being zealots in the name of Jesus makes them good adherents to his works, rather than through the practice of the precepts Jesus taught his followers. They shirk their human duty to others, violate the Commandments without thought, turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, then have the temerity to sit in church and claim a bit of Jesus for themselves. This is why I no longer participate in church on any frequent basis.

I will celebrate Jesus the best way I know how — by following his teachings and trying to do my human duty to my fellow human beings. I ask that all others, who truly believe in Him, would do the same. We must cast off the cloaks of hypocrisy, and embrace the light of salvation. We must show Him that we believe in him, not through praise to him, but through praise to humanity. We must look upon the dark hour, raise the lamp of hope, and shine it upon those who are bereft. Only then, can we truly know peace.

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