Today Christians around the world commemorate the death of Jesus on a Friday we so strangely call good. On his journey to the cross, Jesus experiences the fullness of human dysfunction: greed, jealousy, disloyalty, fear, abandonment, and death itself.
We too experience this in our own flesh. Good Friday allows us to admit our own destructiveness, our own vanity, and our own failures. Too often we have built our lives on the misfortunes of others. Too often we have preached peace and justice for the world, but have practiced hate and indifference in our own homes and communities. And too often we have ignored the suffering of our families, our friends, and our neighbors because of how busy we imagine ourselves to be.But Jesus enters into all of this to save all of it. Christianity is a human encounter with a person who endured temptation, suffering, and death on a cross to redeem every man, woman, and child.
Today, the Church invites to undertake the paschal mystery of Jesus, a journey that includes the cross. The road is uncomfortable, but it isn’t sterile. With Jesus, we can change, turn around, and be converted. And with his cross, our Easter joy can be complete.
This reflection is partially excerpted from an essay the author wrotefor TIME on April 18, 2014.