As a sacramental and progressive Christian, Good Friday is very, very complicated. The facts are clear: Jesus is put on the cross and he dies. The implications of that grave act are muddied with centuries of spiritual, social, political, and racial division.
The question that Holy Week is asking me this year is:
Christianity has historically cast blame for the whole endeavor on The Jews as a collective, “unrepentant” people (and in some places, tragically still places this blame either formally or informally.) While it is true that some of the people who put Jesus on the Cross around 30 CE were Jewish, it was not The Jews who crucified Jesus.
Also culpable in the crucifixion were the Romans (although nobody ever says The Romans in the same way that they say The Jews.) Pontius Pilate might have washed his hands of the execution, but his Empire’s legal system permitted for an innocent man to be tortured, mocked, humiliated, and executed. Pilate was a government official, a man with power and influence, a man with his hands tied behind his back by the Empire. Crucifixion was a typical form of Roman execution–another day, another denarii for those soldiers who hung Jesus from the tree.
In the end it was neither The Jews nor The Romans who killed Jesus.
Rather, I killed Jesus.
You killed Jesus.
We all killed Jesus.
Does that not sit well with you? Does that make you uncomfortable? Good. That’s the point. As I mentioned yesterday, the whole point of the Triduum is to make us feel uncomfortable with ourselves and our actions.
Our intolerance killed Jesus. Our silence killed Jesus. Our greed, our hatred, our lust, our indifference, our bigotry, our lack of fidelity, our independence, our nationalism, our militarism, our homophobia, our sexism, our ageism, our ableism.
We killed Jesus on that first Good Friday.
And we continue to kill him today.