Good Friday and Happy Passover 2022

Good Friday and Happy Passover 2022

Posted by Maggie on  in From the editors

For Ukraine’s Christian/ Catholic/ Byzantine/ Orthodox Brothers and Sisters:

Христос воскресне

Christ will rise again.

Jesus Christ’s “14 steps” to the completion of His Father’s plan for us.

When I was a young Roman Catholic child in a Catholic grade school, and with a mother and father diligent Catholics (in practice, but not so much personal orthodoxy of living The Word) I struggled through the Latin High Mass(es) and dreaded Confession. However, in my Catholic school we would go to morning masses at our church across the parking lot on Holy Days, and on First Fridays (a monthly remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday). Since we would have the actual Good Friday off from school for Easter break my mother would take us to Good Friday evening Mass followed by The Stations of The Cross. Somewhere amid my lifetime accumulation of whatnots, I still have my little Catholic grade school Stations of The Cross booklet that we used to follow along on the Priest’s path from start to finish at each icon of The 14 Steps along both side walls of the sanctuary. To say that I enjoyed that particular ritual of my religious upbringing would be a malapropism. How would I enjoy the slow death path of Jesus? But it’s hard to explain. I guess I can say that I felt the most (Holy Spirit?) within me from this ritual. It was starkly more realistic and understandable to me, a child, than trying to comprehend the Mass ritual of turning the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood. I guess those First Fridays and Good Friday were the times, back then, that I did feel the closest to Jesus and His sacrifice.

His words as He felt the total pain of God’s creation and His own God-given human life draining away as He looked down at His Mother and brothers and sisters weeping at the foot of His Cross … to the two prisoners crucified on either side of Him … have always stayed with me more than any words from The Bible

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

“Woman [Mary], behold your son [John]!…[John] Behold your mother [Mary]!”

“My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”

“I thirst.”

“It is done.”

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

The ritual of The Stations of The Cross was my favorite. As an adult, after my daughters were grown, I became less of a church-goer. When I do attend church as an adult it’s a Byzantine Ukrainian church, where my two oldest daughters went to grade school and indeed did learn some of the Ukrainian language. However, even though I’m a strayed lamb from the gathered flock, I’ve never lost my personal individual and (most times) private core faith. The next time I felt the soulful movement deep inside me, what I had felt during those moments of attending The Stations of The Cross was while sitting in a movie theater in 2004 watching Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ” … only it was so much more vivid and soul crushing. My experience watching that film felt as if I had actually been transported back in time to that day in history. The entire sold out audience was stone silent through the very graphic and realistic movie. Until this scene…

There were audible ‘sobs’ amongst the audience … me included … mostly from women but even men could not hold back their deep-soul reactions. This scene, which was brilliantly imagined and crafted by Gibson, is indeed the perfect depiction of a Mother’s heart, mind, and soul when realizing she is helplessly unable to physically help and take away her child’s pain and suffering, and known impending death upon herself. A mother’s (and father’s) nightmare realized and their humanity shaken and shattered. I have the same reaction every time I watch the movie. It goes beyond the horror. Even though Mother Mary knew this was a fulfilment of God’s plan and promise, it was so impossible to let her child go. While my love and faith for Christ was heightened by the movie depiction, my understanding of His Mother Mary was more awakened that just the “Hail, Mary” prayer idea. The movie, while offering a most visually impactful experience of the brutality and torture and execution of Jesus Christ, Gibson wanted us to fully understand and accept that His suffering and death showed the pain inflicted on His loved ones He had in this life, and most especially His Mother whom He sought to comfort during the moments of His last breaths. As He implored John and Mary to cling to each other for comfort, we see it as His last selfless human act of healing amid His own suffering. I think Gibson intended for us to see the direct human roots and bond Jesus and His Mother shared were now to be horrifically torn away, and how in His comforting of Mary from the cross was meant for us to always consider her the way He did, with love, admiration, and sympathy and empathy. The director succeeded.

I can’t help but make a bit of an analogy here, and I mean no disrespect. I am an observer of parallels in this life. Sometimes I think I am recognizing that in the movies some of them are intentionally symbolic. And this dialog from the movie “Steel Magnolias” after the mother M’Lynn watches her beloved daughter Shelby die and then buries her, never to see her again, has always struck me to the core of my motherhood, and my never-ending care, concern, hope, and fear for my children and now my grandchildren. The scene is actually quite simplistic on a human and a faith level. Her Christian fanatic friend tries consoling her, but not in her usual preachy manner. In a compassionate subliminal sharing of the promise of her faith that she genuinely feels in that moment of watching her friend painfully suffer the Earthly loss she witnessed and must now come to terms with…

Missing from the next video is Annelle’s comfort and promise to M’Lynn:

Miss M’Lynn, it should make you feel a lot better that Shelby is with her King.

Yes, Annelle, I guess it should.

Then we should all be rejoicing.

Well you go on ahead!! I’m sorry if I don’t feel like it! I guess I’m a little selfish. I’d rather have her here.

Miss M’Lynn, I don’t mean to upset you by sayin’ that. It’s just that when somethin like this happens, I pray very hard to make heads or tails of it. And I think that in Shelby’s case, she just wanted to take care of that little baby, and of you, of everybody she knew. And her poor little body was just worn out. It just wouldn’t let her do all the things she wanted to. So she went on to a place where she could be a guardian angel. She will always be young, she will always be beautiful. And I personally feel much safer knowin’ that she’s up there on my side [M’Lynn turns to face Annelle] It may sound real simple and stupid and…Well maybe I am, but, that’s how I get through things like this.

Thank you, Annelle. I appreciate that. And it’s a real good idea. Shelby, as you know, wouldn’t want us to get mired down and wallow in this. We should handle it the best way we know how…and get on with it. That’s what my mind says. I wish somebody’d explain to my heart.

“I just sat there. I just held Shelby’s hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.”

It is beautifully strange how that scene just connected with me to how Mother Mary was now left to manage her loss, surrounded by His Disciples and followers that were brave and faithful enough to stay, as she knowingly lived her son’s purposeful life and death with Him with full and unwavering trust in His Father. But unlike M’Lynn, Mother Mary, while feeling the same way, could not have a meltdown. Her silent tears and calm acceptance of her son’s death as she cradled His bloody lifeless human body was what God had entrusted to her decades prior upon choosing her to carry and care for His son incarnate in order to fortify His words of promising life eternal outside this rough, struggling, unfair, and often times evil world that His son had spent most of His Earthly life preaching and promising to anyone that would listen … even His own mother.

The relief of “It is done” is reluctantly accepted. However, great the personal loss and however deep and gaping the wound. But the promise kept healed all leaving this world, and those left behind…

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Jewish Passover:

For Ukraine’s Jewish Brothers and Sisters:

Песах тут зі свіжістю весни і благословеннями Божими! Gut Yontiff для всіх!

Happy Pesach. Wishing you and your family G-d’s blessings of peace and light this holiday season.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments