(Introduction to the Faculty and Staff Prayer Service for Holy Week on Wednesday afternoon, 1 April 2015)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
The Stations of the Cross are a treasured prayer for the Christian community, for they remind us of the last hours of Jesus, his final journey. However, this “way of the Cross” is more than simply a memory. It is and can be a retelling of our own personal journeys and, in fact, the journey that must be taken by this institution, La Salle Academy.
In this “Busted Halo” re-telling, we discover that these last hours in the life of Jesus reveal the consequences of his vision, his narrative, his new story of a radically different world, “The Kingdom of God.” It is a world that challenges the suppositions of both the past and the present that violence triumphs over peace, that hoarding triumphs over sharing, that death triumphs over life. It is a vision over which Jesus would not compromise, for which he would be pushed aside, ignored, walked over—for which he would fall three times. It is a Kingdom that presents itself as friend helping friend in need; a Kingdom in which we put others before ourselves, we forgive instead of exacting revenge, we put a priority on the poor. And it is a Kingdom that has been entrusted to us, even as the bruised and bloodied body of Jesus was entrusted to his mother.
Thus, if La Salle Academy is to be a place that has the vision of Jesus, that tells the narrative of a world that can be better than it is, that promotes the Kingdom of God over the kingdoms of men, we too must be ready to walk our own path of challenges and trials and sorrows. In our school-wide and classroom prayer and in our instruction and in our modelling and in the experiences we create for our students, we need to stand with those who advocate for social justice, who are the truth tellers; we need to remind ourselves and our students that for this vision, we Kingdom builders might be ridiculed, laughed at, called “dreamers” or “traitors” or “do-gooders.”
We may be tempted to avoid the pain of another—a friend, a co-worker; the hungry and the homeless of McAuley House; the aborted child; the neglected kids of Smith Hill Day Care; the developmentally different children of Meeting Street School; the people of Camden and the Blackfeet Indian reservation; the immigrants of Apopka and the border near Tucson; the children of the St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle School in Haiti and the students of Rongai.
We may be challenged by popular culture and business and governmental policies as we teach that, in this Kingdom, we protect the weak, that we turn the other cheek, that we feed the hungry, that we place the poor in front of the wealthy. And if and when we find ourselves working against the Kingdom instead of for it, and if and when we experience the cold and darkness of the tomb—our failures and our doubts and our frustrations; it is then, it is then that we turn in faith, as Jesus did, to our God who always forgives, who never leaves us, who turns the Cross from an instrument of defeat to one of triumph.
Yes, this way of the cross is our way and it is the way that we must point out to our students. Here at La Salle Academy we are not only educating our students; we are making them “Builders of the Kingdom of God.”
Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC