Friday, April 22, 2011

"Happy" Good Friday

I actually saw a news feed from a TV news talking head that started with "Happy Good Friday".  Now having been raised an observant Catholic, I thought to myself "gee, that sounds kind of odd".  It took me a while to figure out precisely why that seemed like such an odd statement, but it finally occurred to me that I was taught that there was nothing "happy" about Good Friday.

Now I'm religious or religiously educated enough to understand all of the subtleties associated with Good Friday, but what I do know that this is the day on which the faithful believe Jesus Christ was crucified.  Somehow the words "happy" and "crucified" don't seem to mesh very well together.  Now I do get it relative to the whole "salvation for mankind" deal, so perhaps on that level this is room for "happy", but still it seems to be a rather morbid concept to associate with the joyous.  Especially in this day and age.

Yes, it seems that there is no joy or happiness to be found in the concept of sacrifice in this day and age, unless you happen to be a soldier I suppose.  For most of the rest of us, the conditioning is in place such that we don't want to sacrifice anything.  Hell, we don't even want to be inconvenienced.  Remember, it was our society that created the very concept of fast food (getting food isn't enough...we have to get it fast, and if we have to wait five minutes for that burger, well damn we are going to be soooo upset).  The concept of "me, as the center of the word" is almost becoming ingrained in our DNA like a predisposition to an extra digit.  Maybe, hopefully, rightfully the pendulum will swing back one of these days and finding happiness in sacrifice for others will become fashionable again.

Maybe it really should be "Happy Good Friday" after all.

As a final note, one of the things that I've written and actually found insightful/inspirational was a posting from 2009 that I've pasted below.  Some things just seem well suited for an annual dust-off and display, and this is one of them

Repost...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

At the Garden of Gethsemane

One of the most insightful (at least for me) biblical stories is found in the Gospel of Matthew, and deals with Christ at the Garden of Gethsemane. In case you are not overly familiar with the story, it takes place the day before the Crucifixion of Christ. The details aren't so important to this discussion, other than Christ goes to this garden to pray, knowing that he would be betrayed by Judas, turned over to the Romans, and ultimately put to death.

Now what's so insightful about that?

Consider This: According to Christian teaching, Christ...being God...knew that by going to Gethsemane he would ultimately be put to death. At any point he could have changed his path and spared his own life, but he chose not to. He consciously sacrificed his own life, if you believe in Christian teaching, for the greater good of all mankind.

Consider This: To this day, people make conscious choices that ultimately lead to their death. For example, Father Mychal F. Judge, a Franciscan priest, went into the south tower of the World Trade Center after it had been hit by an airplane to minister to the wounded. While history doesn't record whether or not he thought he would die, it's pretty clear he knew what he was doing was exceptionally dangerous.

In the final analysis, some of us will be faced with our own "Garden of Gethsemane", where we need to make a choice between self-preservation or preservation of the greater good. Ultimately that is the most personal of decisions that anyone can make, and furthermore I doubt any of us are prospectively capable of saying what we would do if put into that situation. There is, however, no greater love that can ever be expressed than through the thoughtful and conscious act of sacrificing oneself for the greater good.

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