For the Latino/a community popular religious practices are public forums where the symbols of our faith are often juxtaposed against the social experiences that we confront. These practices offer a counter-cultural message reminding us of the Gospel of life and liberation, a Gospel that carries with it both social and spiritual implications. It is a reminder for us that the God of our tradition is one of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
Good Friday is one such popular event where the Latino/a community celebrates this countercultural message. In the Via Crucis we accompany the God who suffers injustice and who in turn accompanies us in our unjust suffering.
Pope Francis has released his own “Way of the Cross at the Colosseum.” It looks like our Latino Pontiff has adopted this message within his own Good Friday liturgical procession. It is impressive to note that the meditations are offered by the young adult Lebanese community. What you will get is not a high Christology that keeps Christ at a transcendental level, instead these meditation reveal a God who is very much incarnate within our own suffering. Consider this stanza from the twelve station of the Cross:
From the height of the cross a cry is heard a cry: a cry of abandonment at the moment of death, a cry of trust amid suffering, a cry accompanying the birth of a new life. Behold, hanging on the tree of life, you deliver your spirit into your Father’s hands, causing life to spring up in abundance and forming the new creation. Today we too face the challenges of this world: we sense the surge of fears which overwhelm us and shake our trust. Grant us, Lord, the strength to know deep within our heart that no death will conquer us, until we rest in the hands which have shaped us and accompany us.