This Holy Week our attention focuses on the story of Jesus’ Passion. For people of faith especially the suffering and violence to which Jesus eventually surrenders in death on a cross stirs the emotions and even brings tears during the liturgies of the week.
It is a moving story of sacrifice, love, betrayal and ultimate vindication and victory. It’s impact has literally changed the world and altered the course of history.
But if our humble observance this week stops at a reverent gazing upon the Cross of Christ, how then does our faith translate to today’s realities? Would Christ on the cross two thousand years ago not lead us to see Christ in the faces of those who suffer today?
Some Christians express concern today for the various ways people of faith strive to make religion relevant, popular, exciting and culturally palatable.
Then they need Good Friday. Because the cross keeps us grounded in the primary action of Christ. The cross stands at the center of the holy story. If any will question and scrutinize the actions of Christians, it will never be in helping the poor, standing with the marginalized, advocating for justice for those who suffer, all in the name of Jesus — as unpopular and undesirable as doing this might be.
This year the observance of Holy Week falls at a time when the crisis in Syria heightens and refugees stream over the borders into neighboring Jordan –Escaping violence, searching for safety and security, forced from their homeland. The escalating hundreds of thousands of refugees are alarming international aid organizations and local governments.
The Cross of Christ cannot but point us to look in this direction today. To the suffering, the dying. I was astounded to read earlier this week that tens of thousands of children die each day in poverty and from malnutrition — conditions often exacerbated in refugee camps.
Action among the living faithful must emerge out of a holy observance about God’s great acts in Christ. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ….
The world yesterday. The world today. And the world tomorrow.
From Golgotha to Homs, with love.
To hear a first hand account and learn more about the growing crisis in Syria, the Christian Council of the Ottawa Area invites you to “Joining in Prayer for Syria” on Thursday April 11 beginning with welcome and refreshments at 7:15pm at the Arch Diocese Centre at 1247 Kilborn Place in Ottawa.
A presentation will be given by Huda Kandalaft of Homs, Syria, and now of Ottawa. She will speak about the struggles of Christians in Syria today.