When beloved individualism runs into the common good

By Dan Misleh

This reflection was recently published in a newsletter of the Catholic Climate Covenant by Dan Misleh, the Executive Director. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


Dan Misleh

Clearly, I live in a bubble. Having worked in the Catholic Church my entire career, the importance of the common good and solidarity are as familiar to me as baseball is to a baseball fan. As Catholic Christians, we are, in fact, called to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers. Yet I continue to be puzzled by how many people embrace—as if it is an article of faith—the ethos of American individualism. This ethos is seen in the “choice” of bringing a baby to term or in the flaunting of the obligation to protect ourselves and our neighbors from COVID by wearing a mask. Too many of us act as though we’ve never even heard the terms solidarity or the common good. I often ask myself, what happened to love of neighbor and the expansive definition of neighbor that is defined so clearly in Matthew 25? I wonder why so many embrace individual “rights” but ignore the corresponding “responsibility” to secure those rights for others.

Over the years, responses to the climate crisis have been similar. Instead of seeing the threat to current and future generations, too many of us go about our fossil fuel-fueled lives as if their lives don’t matter. Sure, we have a right to own a car and heat and cool our homes, but we also have a responsibility to protect others from a warming planet resulting from these behaviors. We ignore the science because it asks us to change our lives, to live more simply, and to take seriously that we are co-creators with God.

None of us perfectly live our faith. But, at a minimum, we ought to be questioning the dangers of runaway individualism and be willing to think beyond our own needs and desires.

As we enter into the sixth anniversary of the release of Laudato Si’, I pray that we can be reminded, as Pope Francis says so eloquently, that all is connected, that we must hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, and that we’re not faced with two crises, one environmental and one social, but one crisis that is both environmental and social.

In gratitude,

Dan

Dan Misleh
Founding Executive Director
Catholic Climate Covenant

Published in: on May 5, 2021 at 10:30 am  Comments (1)  

Love is of God

Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter by FAN Member and Advocate, Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF

This reflection was originally posted in our May 3rd Newsletter


“Let us love one another, because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.”
(1 Jn 4:7)

What beautiful and appropriate readings we have this sixth Sunday of Easter, a day in the United States when we remember and celebrate Mothers. This year, we are drawn to remember those mothers who are among the over 560,000 people who have died from the Coronavirus.

Sadly, we also need to remember the mothers among, or impacted by, the over 43,500 people who died from gun violence this past year in our country. Many children are grieving the loss of their mothers this past year. Many mothers are grieving the loss of their children.

According to the gun violence archives, we are on track this year to surpass the number of deaths last year due to guns. In the first four months of 2021, over 12,800 people have died from guns, including over 400 children under the age of 17. Why are children and teens living in the United States fifteen times more likely to die from gunfire than their peers in 31 other high-income countries combined? When did the right to purchase a gun override a child’s (or any person’s) right not to be shot?

“I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” (Jn 15:16)

Even after all too many mass killings of children, our society cannot find the political will to change laws to protect our children. As of the middle of April, there were 147 mass shootings in our country this year, more than one mass shooting a day. Let us pray that the latest mass shooting may prove not to be just another tragedy from which we learn nothing.

Whenever we advocate for legislation that addresses gun violence, we witness to the tradition of peacemaking handed down to us from Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Let us create a society not only safe for every child but also worthy of each Mother’s child.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Member and Advocate

Published in: on May 4, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

When Racial Tension Comes Close to Home

by Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF is a Franciscan Sister of Allegany based in upstate New York and a member of the Franciscan Action Network Board of Directors. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


Protestors in Elizabeth City, N.C.
(Photo Credit: Gerry Broome / AP)

Like many people I had felt disheartened and sickened as I watched the media play and replay the scene of Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds. This act, while George Floyd cried out, “I can’t breathe,” was so brutal and inhumane.

I felt drawn to watch the trial of Derek Chauvin wondering whether the often prevailing powers that dominate our justice system would win out or if the voices and eye witnesses would be heard and true justice would prevail? It was on Tuesday, April 20 that the guilty verdict was announced. I must admit on hearing the jury’s decision I felt that justice had won the day. However, deep down I knew that true and restorative justice must not just win the day, it must become the daily motivation and desire that brings an end to the racism, bias and prejudice that often lays hidden and dormant until the next situation erupts. And erupt it will!

Not twenty-four hours after Chauvin’s guilty verdict was handed down and many were celebrating a victory for justice and the black community, the news of yet another violent incident against a black man occurred. This time, for me, the news was a little too close to home. On the morning of Wednesday, April 21, Andrew Brown Jr. of Elizabeth City, N.C. was fatally shot as sheriff deputies of Pasquotank County attempted to serve an arrest warrant. The Office of the County Sheriff has yet to release the full bodycam footage or any further information. Like many other communities that have experienced police shootings, the tension and unrest is growing within the community of Elizabeth City because of the lack of transparency and accountability.

I feel compelled to write because Elizabeth City, N.C. is not just any small, generally peaceful southern town. It has been home to members of my family since the late 1970s. I’ve visited and vacationed there for close to forty years after my sister and her husband were stationed there with the Coast Guard and my parents retired and moved from New York City. As happens with many families, other family members also moved to Elizabeth City. Many of my nieces and nephews have been born, raised and schooled within this community and it has been a good, healthy and safe environment for all.

I recall one early recollection, while on vacation with my parents, after they had moved. In a conversation with my mother she told me about the local Catholic churches in Elizabeth City, St. Elizabeth’s founded in 1915 and St. Catherine’s later founded in 1941 to serve the local black community. To my mother, members of my family and myself, experiencing two separate and somewhat still segregated churches was an eye-opening experience. It was not something we had experienced while living in the New York City area.

Both churches, St. Elizabeth and St. Catherine, at that time, were staffed by the Conventual Franciscan Friars who were diligently working to bring together the two communities into one parish family. Finally in 1978, the parish councils of both churches voted to merge into one combined parish of St. Elizabeth/St. Catherine’s. Years later in 1989, both church buildings were closed and the Catholic community of Elizabeth City came together as one parish family in the appropriately named Holy Family Parish. Unity, true communion, justice and equity takes time, presence and attentiveness to grow and to achieve sustainability. It’s a goal that we can aspire to but should never blindly assume that it has been attained. True racial justice and equality must become a daily, conscious choice and a journey entered into together with people of all nationalities.

I had long ago forgotten that conversation with my mother and her sense of unrest with the history of racial segregation in the churches in Elizabeth City. The recent killing and unrest have reawakened that memory for me. Perhaps the real lesson here is to not allow our difficult and unsettling memories to be lulled into a forgetfulness and a passive acceptance that believes on the surface all is well. Let us wake up, actively work and speak out against racial injustice and for true healing in all our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities and in our country.

Published in: on May 1, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

The verdict is in, but the jury is still out

by Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose writings are published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


Although a court jury’s recent verdict convicting former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the death George Floyd has been declared, the jury is still out on how we will comprehensively educate and work to rid our society, nation and world of racism and prejudice against various ethnicities and minorities.

But whatever strategies we come up with, violence in any form, must never be part of the equation – especially for believers. The famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton said it so very well, “The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.”

Violence, in all its many evil forms – including riots – is always harmful and hurtful. Violence is never the answer.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who consistently preached and lived Gospel nonviolence, said in his 1967 “The Other America” speech “I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. …

“It is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. …

“But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”

King added, “America has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility, and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity … Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention” (watch: https://bit.ly/3eVqJZv).

We must honestly ask ourselves, “Are we truly committed to justice, equality, humanity, social justice and progress for all?” And hopefully if so, where do we go from here?

I spoke with Brendan Walsh, co-founder of Viva House – the Catholic Worker House serving homeless, poor people located in southwest Baltimore where in 2015 rioting occurred after the tragic death of Freddie Gray – who died from a fatal injury that happened while in transport by Baltimore police, according to an initial investigation.

Walsh noted that many U.S. corporations have moved their operations from cities like Baltimore, to very poor countries where they can get away with the injustice of slave labor, and in the process have left many Americans without decent paying manufacturing jobs.

Walsh asked, “What are people to do when there are so few blue-collar jobs available that pay a living wage”?

Walsh believes that every city police officer should be required to live in the city. He said this would help police to better understand the difficulties faced by many city residents, and in the process better relationships would be established.

Walsh also noted there are not nearly enough drug treatment facilities. He said people need to be medically treated for drug addiction, not thrown into prison.

Baltimore’s Catholic Archbishop William E. Lori, said it well: “For without love, respect and personal relationships, our lives make no sense. We shouldn’t expect a person whose life makes no sense to pull himself up by his bootstraps into a productive and prosperous life.”

Please watch “Race Matters: America in Crisis” https://to.pbs.org/3f1jlvL. And kindly consider prayerfully reading the 2018 U.S. Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter against racism “Open Wide Our Hearts: the enduring call to love” (see: https://bit.ly/2UeCmmp). Doing both of these in some way together as a parish would be excellent.

Each of us needs to be part of the solution. Pope Francis said, “My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life” (see: https://bit.ly/308Hxbl).

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Published in: on April 29, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Remain…

Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter by FAN Director of Advocacy, Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our April 26th newsletter


The Gospel of this Fifth Sunday of Easter brings me back to childhood memories. Having been born on a farm, surrounded by vineyards, the images that Jesus uses in the gospel passage are very clear and vivid in my mind. I have watched time and time again my father pruning a grape vine leaving me wondering if there will be grapes in late summer. As I grew, I realized that what was really important were those two short branches that remained attached to the grape vine. They looked insignificant but without fail they would grow and produce an abundant harvest.

More childhood memories stirred from the words: “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” Again, I remember spending time playing in the vineyard while pretending to help my mom collect the cut branches and make big bundles with them that would become kindling for the fireplace in winter or if too many, burned in a big pile.

In the Gospel, Jesus uses the word “remain” so many times in this short passage: remain in me, as I remain in you, it remains on the vine, anyone who does not remain in me…and so on. So, what is the message that Jesus wants to convey, what is he calling us to?

I believe we are called to remain in intimate union with God and that God never tires of calling us to it. Our hearts long to remain in God’s loving embrace and apart from God we will never be satisfied. To remain in God is the goal of all of us who are striving to be faithful followers of Jesus of Nazareth. It was the longing in St. Francis’ heart that gave him the desire to spend great periods of time just alone with his God. His remaining in God bore fruit when he came down from the woods around Assisi to serve his brothers and his neighbors.

Remaining in God is also a commitment to act on what is important for God. We cannot remain in God and ignore our fellow human beings, especially the ones God is especially concerned with: the ones in pain, in despair, in distress, in poverty and in sub-human standard of living, the ones treated unjustly or imprisoned without proper representation, the ones at our border seeking refuge and safety.

To remain attached to the vine is yes, to enjoy the certainty of God’s love, the assurance of God’s mercy and tenderness toward us, but also to be mercy for someone else, to act with justice towards others. It is to love as Jesus loves.

As I am writing this reflection the country woke up to yet another mass shooting. More people’s lives taken that did not need to be, more families are grieving the loss of loved ones. What would Jesus do? If we remain one with the vine, what fruits are we producing?

We cannot illude ourselves by spouting that we are a Christian nation and allow these slaughters to continue in the name of a conveniently interpreted second amendment of our constitution, or the money that gun sales provide to few, sometimes powerful, people. Jesus challenged the empty words of the law, wanting the law to be for the good of all the people. As difficult as it is, we cannot stop denouncing the sale of guns that multiply each day in our country out of fear. We cannot be afraid of a future that will look different if people of different colored skin will more and more become our neighbors.

I wonder if we, as a country, deserve to be cut and thrown out like branches, let to wither and be burned. Is Jesus warning us of this possibility, no matter how good it feels to remain in God’s love?

John in his first letter invites us: “Sisters and Brothers let us love not in word or speech, but in deed and truth.” If we do that we will be certain to REMAIN in God and bear fruit.

Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF
FAN Director of Advocacy

Published in: on April 27, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

The Good Shepherd

Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Easter by FAN Board Member, Sister Marge Wissman, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our April 19th newsletter


The purpose of this Sunday’s gospel is to expand the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd beyond the parish priest or pastor to every Christian and church leader. The actual word ‘pastor’ is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘shepherd.’ In this gospel we are offered both comfort and challenge. The comforting good news is that the Good Shepherd knows us, provides for us and loves us. The challenge is that we are called to be good shepherds to those entrusted to our care. When introducing himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus makes three claims: first, his sheep recognize his voice, second, an emphasis on this self sacrificing life – “the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, and third, his deep desire that many other sheep follow him – “There are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well.”

I was once part of a justice group called Pastors for Peace. When asked about the name, the founder of the group, Rev. Lucius Walker, said we are all pastors in the eyes of the people we serve. So Jesus shares his life of being a Good Shepherd with us. Everyone entrusted with the care of others is a Good Shepherd. We are a good shepherd by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time and talents for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers. Who are the people to whom you are a good shepherd? At the time that I am writing this reflection, I am also formulating a letter to send to an immigration judge and lawyer. It is on behalf of someone who is trying desperately to get a green card to remain in the United States with her husband and children. I feel that I am a good shepherd to her. Use this example to think of people for whom you are the good shepherd.

This Good Shepherd Sunday is celebrated after Holy Week when Jesus was put to death by the High Council. And then to their dismay and wonderment Jesus rises and is with us again on Easter Sunday. It is testimony to the truth that God’s plan will prevail. Even if they reject this stone, it will still become the cornerstone that will one day be recognized. But the rejection of Jesus and his followers will not alter God’s plan. The ultimate goal is to have one flock under one shepherd. It will be accomplished by Jesus laying down his life for all his sheep.

Sister Marge Wissman, OSF
FAN Board Member

Published in: on April 20, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Earth Day –an urgent reminder to protect ‘our common home’

by Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose writings are published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


As we approach the global celebration of Earth Day (April 22), it would be wise for Catholics to reflect on Pope Francis’ famous environmental encyclical letter “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”

Citing Francis of Assisi – patron saint of ecology – Pope Francis writes “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. …

“This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”

Pope Francis explains, “Each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive, from homes and businesses, from construction and demolition sites, from clinical, electronic and industrial sources. The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

The Holy Father then weighs in on climate change. Ignoring the weak scientific claims of those who deny the climate is changing and that the earth is warming – due principally to human pollution – he writes, “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system” (see: https://bit.ly/3taVOQl).

Indeed, the scientific consensus is very solid. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities” (http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/).

The last five years were the hottest on record (see: https://bit.ly/3ed1rYf). And Antarctic land ice, which covers 98 percent of the continent’s land mass, is melting at an alarming speed thus causing a dangerous rise in sea levels. Furthermore, human-induced climate change is happening so quickly that many animal and plant species don’t have enough time to adapt, thus causing various species to die. Frogs, which are among first to die when ecosystems start losing their balance, are now dying off in great numbers (see: https://bit.ly/2Q1vLg2).

Now consider the endangered human species – especially the poor.

According to a Catholic Relief Services (CRS) policy brief titled “Climate Change and Global Solidarity” today “there are 3 billion people estimated to be a serious risk to the effects of climate change. Many people live in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, and their simple lifestyles contribute little to the problems we face. Pope Francis calls us to action – for our immediate response to their needs, but also for longer-term solutions which ensure the enduring benefits of nature for generations to come.”

CRS is urging us to email and call our national legislators (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) urging them to robustly increase financing to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the 3 billion brothers and sisters most at risk form climate change. And to fulfill and exceed the $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund – the premier global climate-finance fund (see: https://bit.ly/3wTVBTV).

The Earth Day user guide (see: https://bit.ly/2PYLoF2 and www.earthday.org) recommends:

• Get informed – knowledge is power
• Calculate your carbon footprint
• Unplug – using energy more efficiently
• Travel smarter
• Your food’s carbon footprint
• Advocate your school and company to serve plant-based meals
• Shop smarter – support socially responsible and environmentally sustainable companies
• Vote for the earth and its people.

Join Catholic churches and schools that are going green (see: https://catholicclimatecovenant.org/).

Planet Earth – God created it. It’s good. And its’ the only home we have. Let’s treat it with the respect it deserves for our good, the good of the poor and the good of generations to come.

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Published in: on April 17, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Opening Our Minds to Christ

Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter by FAN Board Member, Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our April 12th newsletter


Recently, in reading Pope Francis’ newest book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, I found his words full of hope and the possibilities of God’s unfolding future. In the midst of this seemingly endless pandemic and the pains to dispel racism and poverty, there are signs of hope in promoting change and the awareness for true equality, equity and working for the common good of all people.

One line in Francis’ book stood out for me. “A fruitful thought should always be unfinished in order to give space to subsequent development.” On a light note one might think that these words were found in a fortune cookie. However, for me, they go right to the heart of our readings for this Third Sunday of Easter. The fruitful thought of God’s resurrected love and Christ’s ongoing and revealing presence should always be unfinished to give us the room and the space for subsequent developments. We cannot, should not, look upon the revelation of God’s dynamic presence and the resurrected life of Christ as simply an historical event to be remembered and celebrated. Our God is not static!

Speaking of discernment and being open to the continuing guidance of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis also wrote, “Tradition is not a museum, true religion is not a freezer, and doctrine is not static but grows and develops, like a tree that remains the same yet which gets bigger and bears ever more fruit. There are some who claim that God spoke once and for all time – almost always exclusively in the way and the form that those who make the claim know well.”

In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter was bold in holding the people and their leaders accountable for the death of Jesus. “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.” He acknowledged that their actions were the product of their own ignorance and their inability to see beyond what they believed and held to be true. We hear in both this reading from Acts and in the First Letter of John that repentance is always available if we are open to “knowing” the Christ and seeing God’s divine action unfolding. God’s mercy is not static!

Our gospel invites us to reflect on another post-resurrection event. The events of Christ’s appearances to his disciples and followers had to have been a tremendous paradigm shift in their understanding, their comprehension of faith and of God’s presence, Christ’s presence, beyond the limitations and boundaries of our human reality. Jesus’ words were calm and reassuring, “peace be with you,” “touch me and see,” “have you anything here to eat?” His words and invitation to the basic human gestures of touching and eating can be seen as ways in which he opened their minds to a new and different reality of divine presence and resurrected life. Christ’s presence is not static!

We live in a post-resurrection world. Alleluia! But are we living with a static and stayed notion of the teachings of scripture and the presence of God? We must take Pope Francis’ words to heart. “Tradition is not a museum, true religion is not a freezer, and doctrine is not static but grows and develops…” If we are open to God’s redeeming, merciful and unfolding ways then we must let go of old and bias attitudes and behaviors that limit our vision and judgment of people based on their religious beliefs, their skin color, facial features, country of origin and sexual orientation. We cannot be static!

Margaret Magee, OSF
FAN Board Member

Published in: on April 13, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

We also are sent out

Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) by FAN Friend, Tom Mariconda

This reflection was originally posted in our April 5th newsletter


Image by Anja from Pixabay

Year after year, we hear about “doubting Thomas” on the First Sunday after Easter. But this Gospel is actually much larger than the doubt of Thomas. It is about our being empowered by the Spirit to go out into the world to “restore all people to unity with God and each other in Jesus Christ.” This is God’s Mission, and we have all been commissioned to play a part in it by virtue of our baptism.

The doors where the apostles had gathered were locked, trying to keep the unsafe world outside, like many of us have been doing in response to COVID-19. The apostles were afraid for their lives, but locked doors and their own doubting hearts could not stop Jesus from coming to them where they were. Jesus came to them and greeted them with “Peace be with you”. The Apostles rejoiced at seeing their Lord again, but his greeting of peace was not just “Hello” — it was a goodbye as well. Their Lord had risen, but he was also leaving them. His work on earth was finished and he was going to return to the Father. He was commanding them to continue his work of reconciliation to the world. Jesus doesn’t ask the apostles if they want to be sent out into the world to continue the mission he started; he simply sends them out as the Father had sent Him.

We are also sent out each and every day to live the Gospel in the context of our daily lives. Jesus believed that the apostles could continue his work — and so can we. Can we put aside our own doubts and believe that we can make a difference in the world? I truly believe that we can make a difference. Does this mean that we will always succeed in seeing our goals become reality in all cases? The answer is, regrettably, no. But I believe that we can all make a difference in the world by simply standing up and demanding that our society could do better and by giving the gift of our presence, by serving those in need or being a voice that demands justice for the marginalized.

When we get involved in feeding the hungry, providing for the homeless, serving those in need, or demanding that all God’s people be kept safe, we make Christ visible in the world and we do make a difference. We make a difference not only to those we serve, but by opening ourselves to being transformed by the encounter as well. Our call is to simply bring the gifts of our presence, our faith and our hope, so that we can make a difference in the lives of those we encounter daily.

For now, let us always remember the Easter greeting:
The Lord is Risen, Alleluia
He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia

Tom Mariconda, TSSF
FAN Friend

Published in: on April 6, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

A Good Friday reflection on Jesus’ suffering with the world

By Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose writings are published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


Pope Francis has often urged us to prayerfully meditate before the crucifix. Because by prayerfully meditating before the crucifix, one can see and begin to understand the ultimate result of sin.

The Romans’ sins, the Jews’ sins, our sins nailed our Lord Jesus to the cross. The cost of sin is death. Our sins killed the Son of God. Our sins crucified our loving Lord. And our sins continue to cause him to suffer.

God is not the grand watchmaker, who created the world and now sits back and watches from afar as humanity suffers. No, by his incarnation, life, passion and death he has proven that he is with us – especially in our suffering.

And it is most important that we be with Christ in his suffering.

The late deeply insightful theologian Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar said, “It is the Cross that the Christian is challenged to follow his Master: no path of redemption can make a detour around it.”

So, let us pray.

From the personal sins of pride, arrogance, selfishness, greed, indifference, envy, lust, anger, unkindness and violence, save us O Lord. Make us instead men and women whose lives reflect your humility, compassion, selflessness, generosity, justice, kindness, purity, gentleness and nonviolence – in short, your love.

From our indifference to the structures of sin so evident in our society and world, like the abortion industry which profits from the brutal dismembering and murder of unborn babies, save us O Lord.

From an insufficient government response to the suffering of our poor and hungry brothers and sisters in this country, and throughout the world, save us O Lord.

From the many corporations that reap huge profits from the use of sweatshop labor, that refuse to pay a living wage, that produce unsafe products, that pollute and dangerously warm our earth, save us O Lord.

From the military-industrial complex which produces the guns used in many murders committed on our city streets, which manufactures the light arms, tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, war ships, bombs, missiles and drones that fuel the world’s wars and kill far more innocent civilians than combatants, save us O Lord.

From the research facilities and factories that produce nuclear weapons of mass destruction, save us O Lord.

From a government that is more committed to astronomical military budgets and tax cuts for the wealthy than it is to adequately funding needed programs for the poor and the middle class, to fixing the nation’s infrastructure, to helping family farmers, to trading fairly with poor nations, to ending global poverty, to legalizing our hard-working undocumented population, and to committing full funding for clean, renewable energy sources, save us O Lord.

Let us also remember that the crucifixion was not only the ultimate sign of the evil of sin, but was also the ultimate sign of the love God has for us.

On March 27, 2020, with the deadly coronavirus increasingly raging throughout the world, Pope Francis presided at an evening Lenten prayer service and extraordinary blessing “Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) – before an empty St. Peter’s Square. This strikingly, out of the ordinary, deeply prayerful event, highlighted in a mystical way a heavenly call to humanity to pay serious attention to what is most important in life.

Pope Francis declared that during this pandemic crisis we are being called to make a choice between “what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not.”

He added, “It’s a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”

For a deeply moving Lenten/Holy Week experience reverently watch Pope Francis’ mystical prayer service (see: https://bit.ly/3ebGa2n).

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Published in: on March 31, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment