NCR Today

Examples of engaged faith for Good Friday

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Six weeks before he was assassinated, Archbishop Romero gave a profoundly important speech in Louvain, Belgium explaining the socio-political dimension of faith in Christ.

The archbishop said his work as pastor among the poor of war-torn El Salvador had taught him “that Christian faith does not separate us from the world but rather submerges us in it: that the Church is not an elite but rather a follower of that Jesus who lived, worked, struggled and died in the midst of the city, the polis.”

Like Romero, many people have given witness to this Christ who chose to submerge Himself in this world, a place of exploitation and oppression as well as generosity and goodness. Tucked amidst all the tales of destruction reported in the news are examples of this engaged faith.

I came across two this week that are worth contemplating as we approach Christ’s Passion which occurred and continues to occur in the midst of the polis.

    The Crucifixion of the Earth

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    Earth Day this year (April 22nd) falls on Good Friday. Somehow, it seems all too appropriate this year.

    The eco-system of the Gulf of Mexico has been carrying the cross of the BP oil spill since the Deepwater Horizon well blew apart just one year ago. Radiation from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, is scourging not only Japan but the Pacific Ocean itself. We have no idea when that crisis there will end. As if these tragedies were not enough, the polar ice caps continue to melt at an alarming rate, and sea levels are beginning to threaten some island nations. All this is directly related to climate change. Then there is "hydraulic fracturing" or "fracking," an increasingly common means of extracting oil and gas from shale formations even though it endangers supplies of drinking water.

    The dogwood is in bloom this Easter

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    Across the Midwest, the dogwood is in bloom this Easter. Along the highways, the white flowers glisten in the sun. In St. Louis, where I live, my street is alive with brightness. Years and years ago I planted a pencil-sized Arbor Day dogwood tree. It had grown two stories high, covered in white flowers each spring and red berries each fall, food for the mockingbird family that nests there each spring and flies away in the fall.

    God and Moses with Google

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    Need something to lighten up your Holy Week? AISH.com (home of "Ask the Rabbi" and Jewlarious) has this really funny take on what the Exodus would have been like if God and Moses had Google. I know Holy Week is solemn, and Holy Thursday's commemoration of Jesus' Last Supper -- which three of the four Gospels infer was a Passover Seder although some folks argue it wasn't -- is serious business. Still, I think there's room for laughter this week. Take a tiny break from work and prayer to chuckle about how the Exodus would have been different if God, Moses and the Pharaoh had Google.

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    April 21-May 4, 2017

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