Despiséd, rejected

Once more we ‘go up’ to Jerusalem with the Jews of old to celebrate ‘the Pasch’. We do not go by foot or bus or plane and it is not for that ancient Passover.

But we are invited to make the journey nonetheless. Once again, we will see him, in George Handel’s words in the Messiah, ‘despiséd, rejected’, (there are three syllables in both sung words of the aria) as he goes to his Passion, but this time in his people; mothers and children sheltering underground in Ukraine – or some girls in Zimbabwe schools.

Fr Lawrence Daka has cited a witness in a collection of essays on child protection whose report makes for disturbing reading.

On 15 March 2019, 145 secondary school girls from a renowned nun-   owned Catholic girls’ mission boarding school in Zimbabwe, mobilised     themselves as early as 4am and walked seven kilometres to a nearby         police station to report rampant girlchild abuse in the school. … the story sent shockwaves … some were shocked at the girls’ courageous action.           Others condemned the girls who they accused of tarnishing the image of    the school and the Church. … The local Church responded with silence     … symptomatic of the ills and challenges that have bedevilled what is    desirable of responsible, transparent and accountable leadership in the     Church and in society.

In another case of a school principal being convicted of raping a nine-year-old girl, the local faith and civil community was angry and said the girl, the police and the health professional were all lying and the women in the community were more aggressive than the men in condemning the girl.

Abuse and cover-up. The words ring around the world but there is still resistance to responding to the pain and ruin caused to so many young or vulnerable lives. Victims still have to live their lives as best they can while carrying their untended wounds. Too many of us are not prepared to change our way of thinking.

The Passion of Jesus is not ‘something out there’ – a painful event that we remember for a while each year and then pass on. It is a searing reality of our human condition today which we can find hard to accept. It touches, if we allow it, the limits of our daily consciousness and invites us to reach further, beyond our comfort and security, to that unchartered territory where our own fragility is exposed.  Then we are really in the Passion, sharing with Jesus and our wounded sisters and brothers, the experience of being despised and rejected.

Post published in: Faith

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