Magazine article U.S. Catholic

How I Almost Missed Good Friday

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

How I Almost Missed Good Friday

Article excerpt

It must have been about the time that I was chopping up the melon for my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter's breakfast that the angst set in. Here it was Good Friday, and I hadn't done a single liturgical or sacramental thing during the entire expanse of Lent despite the best of intentions that I had at the beginning of the season. Over the past 10 to 15 years since my own personal conversion experience (your basic "Roman Catholic by culture" to "Roman Catholic by conviction" transformation), doing something in addition to the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist has become an integral part of my spiritual life as a way of identifying with and celebrating my Catholic heritage.

And as I doted on that angelic face that was now making full use of all eight teeth by eagerly consuming the melon, I felt the pangs of guilt and ambivalence. While I know that the same sense of love and commitment that motivates me to be the best father and husband that I can be also inspires me to grow and mature in my teaching and writing ministry, it sometimes seems as if my two commitments requires me to sacrifice the other.

One of the most memorable passages in the gospels for me appears in the third chapter of the Gospels of Mark. In this earliest form of a story that is found in all three synoptic gospels--culminating in Jesus' teaching that his word and put them into practice--Mark alone says that Jesus' mother and brothers have come to take him home because they fear he has become insane. This verse has an unmistakable ring of truth for me; often the way we judge how much other people love us is based on what they are willing to do for us that they would not necessarily do for someone else. How would any one of us likely to react therefore, to a family member who seemed to really believe that all human beings belong to the same family and who actually lived that way? Would we praise and honor his or her generosity of spirit? or would we be outraged, confused, perhaps even wondering about this person's sanity?

All women and men of good will recognize and in their own ways honor the importance of family. But how many of us really understand--or want to understand--the meaning of that revolutionary teaching that holds that all human beings are brothers and sisters? …

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