We have turned time into such an important aspect of our lives. It rules our days and is deeply rooted in each of our plans. It is an important aspect of discipline and a very strong reason for stress in our lives. As our age increases, the awareness of time and our own mortality becomes more obvious, due in part to the fact that the years we may still have available to live with health are more limited as time passes.
After experiencing different ages in our lives, we slowly begin to concentrate the span of our attention within this tunnel that becomes narrower as time goes by. We aim for certain goals to achieve, and sooner or later we achieve some or most of them. When this happens, the man in the mirror looks at us with a familiar smile, even if wrinkles, some white hairs and some skin damage may now be present. The cost of remaining alive is wear and tear and no beauty cream can erase the splendid scars that our daily efforts generate. Each of us should exhale our final breathe with gratitude and peace once the time to leave finally arrives.
The daily challenges continue as an opportunity to improve who we have been until today. Ageing does not always equate to wisdom but it does guarantee a larger variety of opportunities to grow. If the lessons are well learned our wisdom will be equal to the internal peace we attain.
We have had many examples that help us improve our reactions to unexpected challenges. Religions are available to guide mankind, and imperfect as they may be (which is unavoidable, being man-made institutions) they do offer a wealth of guidance. Rejecting them for reasons of pride, ignorance or materialism only deprives us from the advantages they provide. Nobody is hurt we turn our backs to religion, but us.
I am aware that attending mass and listening to two thousand year old scriptures that have been filtered, modified, and faded away by translation and tradition is by far, not the best option way of spiritual lessons; but for most people, this is the only option readily available. Yet, there is something that transcends the obvious limitations of such practice; the message is intrinsic, regardless of whether the tailored words express it clearly or not.
The undeniable presence of Jesus, today still opens the internal eyes of the emotionally blind and gives strength for the defeated to continue. Miracles happen every time I receive communion as I experience the presence of the Christ overwhelming me and my turmoil, soothing my emotional wounds and transforming my burdens into very light loads.
More than 2000 years ago, Jesus was crucified on this Good Friday. The excuse for his trial and punishment was in reaction to the enormous effort he made to open the eyes of the people of his time. Being ruled by the Jewish tradition of well over 600 precepts or laws that every man and woman had to follow in order to be worthy of God, people were enslaved to an impossible mission. Guilt pervaded, offers to the temple were constant and this gave people some false feeling of peace, while in reality the people of his time would rarely be able to attain spiritual awareness under this trap.
His message was as wise and clear back then, that it has remained and overflowed to every corner of our planet, regardless of time, race, geographical or political limits. If there has ever existed a true hero in mankind, that hero by far is Jesus the Christ: a hero that decided to accept an unfair punishment that ultimately killed him so people would understand that lives experienced in the darkness were not worth living at all.
By accepting an unnecessary passion driven by hatred, envy, fear and blindness, this decision of his eventually killed the best man this world has ever seen. His blood spilled over the filthy streets and dirt paths of Jerusalem, and eventually combined with the falling rain while hanging on the cross and giving his last drop. The stream of red water that washed from Jerusalem eventually washed into rivers and oceans, and is still present today in every drop of water that exists on this world, even if it has been modified a million times since then.
Good Friday is a deeply important day. To me, this day is always difficult to fully understand because it generates so many emotions. I will repeatedly feel the sadness of his undeserved punishment, the overwhelming joy of his resurrection and the awareness that leads me to know we have all been given an unconditional opportunity to attain peace and grace at any given moment in our lives if we should choose to do so. This awareness offers to transform every aspect of our lives with deep joy.
Are his life and death worth remembering? If we value peace, wisdom, joy, compassion, forgiveness, charity, generosity, mercy and love over everything else, then the answer is an overwhelming yes. The opportunity to recover the joy we all deserve is available if we simply choose to embrace it. The required task is personal and the particular details are as varied as there are people; but the dusty path he followed is clearly marked and exists for each of us today.
Author: Robert Bonnet