Moving on from Good Friday ‘sorry time’

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9 Apr 2015

This article was first published in Province Express and is used with permission

Some years ago when I was visiting a remote Aboriginal community, I was asked if I might put some time aside to spend with a group of women. They wanted some Bible study, so, it being the time after Easter, we looked at the stories that described the experience of the disciples after the Resurrection.

The women found it relatively easy to focus on Good Friday. They knew their community well and the suffering it had endured over years, particularly around violence, alcohol, suicide and the imprisonment of their men. They’d experienced discrimination and loss. They could identify with Jesus, his suffering and passion.

The Resurrection was something else. Moving from the shared ‘sorry time’ of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday did not come quickly or easily.

We looked at the stories of the women who were the first to encounter the risen Jesus. We looked at their reactions, their ‘fear and great joy’ when they met him, and how that experience radically changed their lives.

We saw how their energy and life spread throughout that small Jewish community that had felt so fragile, wounded and even guilty when Jesus had suffered and died.

As the days went by and the group of women returned to these gospel stories they discovered something new: Jesus’ Resurrection did not deny his Passion. It did not seek to ‘move on’ from the Cross as if it never occurred. No, it deeply embraced it and promised new life from within it.

Every morning that week the group of women returned to look more carefully at those stories and the promise they offered.

Recently, I attended a workshop of men who had experienced sexual and other forms of abuse. They called themselves the ‘Stations of the Cross Group’, naming a key element of their journey as Christians.

As these men shared their stories and experiences of belonging to this group what emerged was the new life and companionship they experienced as they listened to one another.

For them, this was a glimpse of the Resurrection, the promise and experience of healing and new life; not putting aside past hurts, but allowing the risen Jesus to embrace them.

In our post-Easter journeys let us not forget the Passion we know and experience, but at the same time allow the power and hope of Jesus’ Resurrection to filter more deeply into and across our lives and families.

Fr Brian McCoy is Provincial of the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus
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