Friday, April 14, 2006

"Good" Friday? Uh, don't think so!

I know its because it's that this is the day that resulted in "good" for all of us, but really, I never really got into why we call this "Good" Friday. Let's look at this from Christ's perspective: Even though you knew it was coming, you get up after dinner with your friends. One of them narcs on you to the government, and even though you sort of asked him to do it, he does it with a kiss! Couldn't he have just discreetly said, "Uh, that's him. Later, guys." And on top of that, he only gets $30 for this! So of course you get arrested, and while they're taking you away, one of your best friends claims he's never heard of you. After a fruitless talk with a clueless magistrate who doesn't get it, you get sent away with a bunch of soldiers who beat the living crap out of you. They shove a bunch of thorny sticks in your head, calling it a "crown" because you're supposedly the "king" (even though you've said a hundred times that your kingdom is not of this world, so don't worry, Ceasar, nobody's stepping on your turf). Then they pile a heavy cross on your back and make you schlep it across town (and this is the cross they're going to nail you on, literally) while everybody throws crap and spits on you. You go up a hill, they drive nails through your hands and feet and leave you to die. While you're hanging up there, even the other guys dying are giving you a hard time about all this like you or they haven't got bigger fish to fry. Meanwhile, on the ground, they're betting over who gets your clothes when you finally do kick. About the only "good" thing about this is since you're not dying fast enough, they slice open your abdomen -- but its not like they do this to put you out of your misery, it's so they can all go home and have dinner already. All in all, this just isn't my idea of a "Good" Friday. This isn't even a Bad Friday. No, this is a flat-out crappy Friday as best as I can see.

All around, we Catholics apparently aren't supposed to take this from Christ's perspective, as best as I can tell. We're supposed to just be glad that he took all this crap so we don't have to. Take the Friday services at church. At least they admit that even though this is "Good" Friday, they don't "celebrate" mass. No communion, no music, not even incense. I remember as a kid, going to the Friday service, and its like you're acting out the play of everything that went down that fateful day. The priest plays the part of Christ, some deacon becomes Pilate, a few chosen parishoners act as Peter, Judas, and The One Whom Jesus Loved. And who did we all get to be, including us little kids? The angry mob! Maybe it was some kind of lesson about the evil lure of mob mentality, because while we were supposed to yell "We Want Barabbas!" and "Jesus? Crucify him!!!" I really wished I had the balls to yell out "No! Let him go! You don't have to kill him!" butI didn't because I was afraid to get in trouble. I knew it was just a play and all, but I really felt bad about having to either choose between Jesus and Barabbas, and as part of the chickenshit angry mob, condemn the Nicest Guy Who Ever Lived to death. Like Pilate even said: "He's done nothing wrong." I knew that "now Barabbas was a robber," and I really didn't want him to die, either. I've never really been for the death penalty anyway. Couldn't we just make him give back all the stuff he took? So maybe that was the point: That we all are too chickenshit to do the right thing for fear that we'd get in trouble, that we're next on the list if we speak up. And that maybe God understands this and is ready to let it slide, because even though Peter was too afraid to tell the Romans "Hey, I DO know the guy, and he's allright with me!" Jesus still made him CEO of the church once he left for bigger and better things. Maybe that's why they make us be the angry mob. Because we are. We're the same angry chickenshit mob that stood by and said "Its not my problem" a whole lot during history. The Romans. The Inquisition. The Nazis. The Taliban (before they hit our own turf -- did anybody really give a crap about the burqas before 9/11?). Are we ever going to learn from this? Are we ever going to learn that in the long term, it pays to speak up and do the right thing?

Really, its "Good" that we can be forgiven like this, but how many times is God going to put up with our angry mob mentality crap? How many more good people have to be tortured and die before WE FINALLY GET IT?

Wow, I didn't mean to get all preachy and all. But it is Good Friday, and if you can't get preachy on Good Friday, then you might as just well play The Ten Commandments Drinking Game.

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