Reliving Jesus' crucifixion and death
“On Good Friday in the streets of San Antonio, the first and twenty-first centuries meet and intertwine.”
On Good Friday in San Antonio, Texas, curious tourists and the faithful mix together and crowd the streets for the annual religious procession commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion and death. On this day, the walls of the city’s cathedral expand to embrace the city streets; sidewalks and roads become sacred space. On Good Friday in the streets of San Antonio, the first and twenty-first centuries meet and intertwine.
For the reenactment and procession, actors assume their roles as Roman soldiers, citizens, faithful women and even Jesus, who begins a slow and painful walk to the front of the cathedral. At one point in Jesus’ journey, the monseñor takes the cross from Jesus and carries it for him. Screams, sobs and the passion of the moment penetrate the air.
Jesus does not suffer alone
Participants do not just play a role, they relive the moment of Jesus’ historical suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. As the soldiers “nail” Jesus to the cross, tears well in the eyes of the faithful. The pain Jesus experiences mirrors the suffering of the crowd, who, in suffering with Jesus, makes sure Jesus does not suffer alone. Because Jesus suffered, they do not suffer alone. He accompanies them all in the daily sufferings of the struggle that is life.
Latino/as emphasize Jesus’ concrete historical reality and its implications for our understanding of Jesus today. At the center is the Crucified Jesus, who reveals God’s love for humanity and God’s presence with and advocacy for the poor. The Latino/a faith in the Crucified Jesus cannot be found in the dogmas, official teachings or theological treatises of academic theology but instead is situated in the concrete faith and lives of Latino/a communities. The Crucified Jesus accompanies the Latino/a community in all their struggles and suffering.
We do not suffer alone
Much has been made of what has been characterized as a Latino/a “obsession” with suffering. Indeed, we Latino/as are “Good Friday” more than “Easter” Catholics, and Ash Wednesday holds a special place in our hearts. It is both the materiality of the ashes and the reminder of our mortality that resonate with us. Yet this emphasis on suffering does not create a morbid or fatalistic spirituality. Instead, for Latino/as reminding ourselves that Jesus suffered and accompanying him in that suffering reveals to us that we do not suffer alone.
Similarly, Marian accounts such as Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparition before an Indigenous man during the conquest and Our Lady of Charity’s discovery by an African slave and two Indigenous men in Cuba reveal to us the Mary of the Magnificat who “lifts up the lowly” and sings of a God in solidarity with the marginalized.
How do you commemorate Jesus’ death? In what ways does your Good Friday experience reflect Latina spirituality? Share your thoughts by clicking on Contact Us
Wednesday, March, 18, 2009