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4.10.2009

Good Friday: Holy Week

'Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, we were there when we crucified our Lord. Recognizing the line that runs through every human heart, no longer do we try to draw the line between "them" and "us." Who can look long and honestly at the victims and perpetrators of history's horrors and say that this has nothing to do with me?... Knowing myself and fearing God, knowing a thousand big and little things that I have done and failed to do, I cannot deny that I was there. In ways I do not fully understand, I know that I, too, did the deed, wielded the whip, drove the nails, thrust the spear.
'About chief of sinners I don't know, but what I know about sinners I know chiefly about me. We did not mean to do the deed, of course. The things we have done wrong seemed, or mostly seemed, small at the time. The word of encouragement withheld, the touch of kindness not given, the visit not made, the trust betrayed, the cutting remark so clever and cruel, the illicit sexual desire so generously entertained, the angry answer, the surge of resentment at being slighted, the lie we thought would do no harm. It is such a long and tedious list of little things. Surely not too much should be made of it, we thought to ourselves. But now it has come to this. It has come to the cross. All the trespasses of all the people of all time have gravitated here, to the killing grounds of Calvary.
'Not only about our entanglement in the loss of each but also in the consequence of our deeds, John Donne was right: "No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." It was not only for our sins, but surely for our sins too. What a complex web of complicity is woven by our lives. Send not to know by whom the nails were driven; they were driven by you, by me.'

- from Richard John Neuhaus's Death on a Friday Afternoon

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