BSM Blog: A Change of Heart this Good Friday
My family went to Mass on Palm Sunday at the Parish my parents belong to and our celebrant was Archbishop Hebda. After the reading of the Passion - during which my first grader sounded out the words in the parts of the people, and to which she enjoyed shouting along with the people gathered “We want Barabbas!” - the Archbishop talked a bit about the “crowd mentality.” How easy it can be for us to shout, along with others, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Today, the crowd shouting may not be exactly as they were on that day Jesus was condemned but we can easily be swayed to follow the crowd.
When I talk with students about their Lenten journeys, I often talk about metanoia or change of heart. Hopefully, that as they walk through this season of Lent, they use all that they experience to have a change of heart. It’s this profound change of heart that can lead to the courage it may take to move counter to the crowd - to stand up to the shouting of “Crucify Him!”
As we approach Good Friday and reflect on the death of Jesus, our own change of heart may be accepting that parts of us may need to “die” as well.
Perhaps in order for us to move away from the crowd, we need our selfish desires to die. We need to let go of our egos and instead make room for the grace of God to be our motivator.
Perhaps in order for us to move away from the crowd, we need our prejudices to die. We need to let go of the biases we have against others and instead see only the dignity of each other.
Perhaps in order for us to move away from the crowd, we need our self-doubt to die. We need to stop the negative self-talk and instead know that we are all called by God to do wonderful things.
And maybe as we understand the deaths that we need to undertake, we can begin to change the narrative of the crowd. Shouts of vengeance can change to shouts of mercy. Shouts of division change to shouts of unity and shouts of pain can change to shouts of joy.
This Good Friday perhaps more so than in other Good Friday’s past, our reflection on Jesus’ great gift to us, his arms open on the cross, showing the depth of his love can call us to more deeply love each other. As Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk and theologian has said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”
“Love!” That is what the crowd should be shouting!