Personally, I don’t like to think about Good Friday because it reminds me that Jesus’ suffering and death were violent. I don’t like to think about crucifixion as violent. Yet how could it not be. As Isaiah offers in the 4th suffering servant song, the servant endured these sufferings for us…for our offenses, for our sins. St. Ignatius invites us to ask to feel shame that Jesus had to endure this for our sins. Now I know why I don’t like to think about this.
But I must. It is in looking at the human suffering of Jesus at his death that we are aware of our participation in the suffering of others in this world. And then, while looking at how Jesus responds to others during his death, we may learn how to respond to the violence and suffering here and now, with compassion, with mercy, with forgiveness. In Jesus’ death we see his love for us. The severity of the experience invites us deeper into the humanness. Lord, grant the grace to feel shame that you would do this for our sinfulness. May we know the depth of your love.
—Fr. Kevin Schneider, SJ is the director of adult spirituality programs at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE. He is a spiritual director and offers parish missions and retreats in the style of Ignatian Spirituality.