It is Good Friday. Meditating on speech and silence in various Good Friday texts can enlighten us about our own uses of each. The choices of those present that sorrowful day may bring us to a fruitful examination of conscience, as we see:
Accusation: “The chief priests accused him of many things.”
Truth: “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.”
Betrayal: “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” [Peter] said, “I am not.”
Lies: “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”
Mocking: The soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head,
and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
James Tissot, What Our Lord Saw from the Cross, Brooklyn Museum Online Collection
Silence: Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Threats: “Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” and “If you release him, you are not a friend of Caesar.”
Cowardice: “I am innocent of this man’s blood! It is your responsibility.”
Rashness: “Give us Barabbas!” and “His blood be upon us and our children!”
Forgiveness: “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they do.”
Putting God to a Foolish Test: “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and then we will believe you.”
Dismissal: “He trusted in God; let him deliver him.”
Hope: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Promise: Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Selflessness: He said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”
Passion: “I thirst!”
Trust: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” and “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit….It is finished.”
Faith: “Truly this was the Son of God.”
Listening to each word, where do I find myself convicted? Sorrowful? Grateful? Ashamed? What will I do about what I see in this scene as I examine my own speech and silence?
May God’s love touch your heart today through the power and silence of the Cross.