We have all heard Shakespeare’s famous “All The World’s a Stage” line from As You Like It wherein we are reminded that life is but a large play in which we are players who change roles depending on the circumstances that face us. I propose that increasingly, this world is Good Friday, and we as Christians will play various roles in that production. Sometimes we will portray the terrified followers of Jesus, boasting eternal loyalty just before heading for the hills like terrified sheep. Other times, we will gleefully embrace the role of Pilate; boasting of authority, and pretending to be wise, while judging while clothed in hypocrisy and washing our hands in cowardice. Perhaps this will be the year we sink our teeth into the role of Simeon the Cyrene, annoyed to no end at being forced to help Christ carry His cross only to be eternally depicted in that fraudulent gesture of assistance. How many times have we impressed the audience with our portrayal of Peter, denying Our Lord while warming our hands in the fire of this world’s perceptions?
Before we are through, unless we have already mastered the role of the soldiers driving the nails into Christ’s hands with our sins, we will play the villains in this play with increasingly realistic effectiveness. Whether we are mocking Jesus with our demands that He prove His power, gambling to see who can own the robe of His fame, or pushing the crown of thorns on a Christ we want to twist into our own deluded sense of majesty, we will all take turns in this litany of roles offered on the most important Friday this world has ever seen.
While I am sure that each of us has grabbed the chance to take the low hanging fruit that the roles above represent, roles that allow us to participate, on our own terms and in our own time, perhaps this is the year we stick our necks out and try for those more challenging roles which Good Friday offers. Maybe, with a little effort on our part, we can try the role of the weeping women, at least identifying and mourning the injustices that sin inflicts upon this world. Perhaps, in fact, we can go outside of the envelope and portray Veronica, bravely ignoring risks to provide a little comfort to our suffering King, with a resulting reward of His Image in our hearts that is far better than any golden trophy. Dare we aspire, for that matter, to play St. John, standing by Our Blessed Mother as Our Lord blesses our fidelity to Her?
Ideally, as followers of Christ, we are supposed to be carrying crosses right behind Our Lord on this Good Friday play, enthusiastically and proudly proclaiming to all our firm loyalty, love, and obedience to the Playwright of our eternal stage. Ideally, we should be embracing every mocking insult, sarcastic challenge, and spitting utterance of hatred in His Name. In our own way, we should be sacrificing ourselves for others regardless of how much they actually appreciate our efforts, and loving the very actors who want to turn our masterpiece play into a farce. However, as God very well knows it and we very well depict it on a daily basis, we are far better at playing some roles than others and, all too frequently, those roles are the low hanging fruit from the same tree that first caught Eve’s eye.
Perhaps, just maybe, this will be the year we stop pretending and portraying, running and hiding, or judging and seeing being a Christian as some annoying task or convenient mask of imagined immunity. Possibly, this time around, this will all be more about living as, and being, a follower of Christ instead of merely portraying one in this world’s very temporary stage.
Copyright, 2014 Gabriel Garnica All Rights Reserved.