In the eight station of the Cross, the daughters of Jerusalem weep over Jesus, but he tells them to weep for their children. It’s in this statement that I find myself weeping for the world as we enter the Triduum. Last night as I walked one of the girls from the Newman Center home late at night I found it quite sickening that we lived in a world where we had to do that. Where it might not be safe enough for a woman to walk six blocks without something terrible happening to her. That people are so under the control of sin that we would hurt others. After I dropped her off and slowly walked back to my dorm, I enjoyed the still warm breeze and then thought of summer. And whenever I think of summer, I think of sin. I think of the people I see at the fairs and carnivals, at beaches and bars. I think of the lifestyles that many of these people lead that are totally contrary to the love of God, and they don’t care.
This is probably what Jesus was thinking the night of the last supper as Judas, someone who became so completely absorbed in himself, was preparing to betray an innocent and good man for a small sum of money. The sins of the sons and daughters of Israel were heavy on his mind, so heavy that he went off to the garden to pray and was so intense that he literally began to sweat blood. What is different today? Nothing. Our world is still so heavily burdened by sin. People care nothing for God. Here, as the day fast approaches when we remember the unjust murder of the God-man, many of us, as in, all the children of the world, will live our lives completely ignorant or forgetful of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We will let the memory of a man who was broken and bruised for us fleet past us without more than a glance, or a nonchalant pitiful remark like, “how sad”, and then turn around and continue sinning against our neighbors.
Maybe the reaction is out of fear that if we really look at what happened to Christ we will be convicted of our sins and will be unable to continue in them without seriously violating our consciences. Maybe we are afraid of change, of healing, of confession, of love, of condemnation, of persecution, or maybe we are just too prideful to believe that we have sinned. But we must take the time during this sacred three days to stop. Just stop. Put everything down. Turn off the music, the television, the internet. Just be quiet and look in the face of Christ. Look at the love. Look at the suffering. We caused that. Our sins. Me, you, the guy next door. We are the causes of his suffering. But we are also the object of his love. He did this for us that we might live with God for all eternity. All we must do is turn from our sins, and follow him. Follow him into the waters of baptism; follow him to the poor, the battered, the abused; follow him to the hurting and the unchaste; follow him in prayer; follow him in suffering; follow him in temptation; follow him into the confessional; follow him to the Cross, the table of the Lord.
How few of us, though, will actually stop to consider? And so I weep with Christ, not because I am better than the rest, but because I have hurt my Jesus. I have burdened him with my sin. I have contemplated the Cross and am that person who says “how tragic” and then turns back to my sins. I weep because I have abandoned and abused my Lord in the greatest hour. I am like the rest who mock and spit on God, who in the midst of trial and temptation, pull a Simon Peter and deny that I know the Lord. I am Judas who is willing to sell out my Lord if a higher bidder comes along. But these bids never satisfy, never. And I weep and I cry, and all I have for food are my tears.
My tears have been my food day and night, as they ask daily, “Where is your God?”
Lord Jesus, please have mercy on me. Help me to consider your suffering and your passion. Fill me with the graces to never leave you in the direst of moments. Help me cling to you in suffering. Amen.