Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

June 15, 2012

Gray Jackson

Junior, Chemistry Major

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Hos 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9
Isa 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Eph 3:8-12, 14-19
John 19:31-37

The reading that stood out the most to me today was the Gospel, John 19, especially the line, “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.” Until this point, the soldiers and others in the crowd did not fully realize what they had done. They did not realize Jesus of Nazareth was actually the Messiah and they did not realize they were willing accomplices in his brutal crucifixion. Not only do they realize his identity, but in this statement, they admit their guilt. In today’s society, sometimes I find it hard to recognize those whom I “pierce.” It is difficult to see the implications of our actions in an increasingly complex world.

I am not talking of simply slighting others—gossip, harsh words, or the like—but crucifying others through my actions. I see myself as complicit in structural sin that allows for the mistreatment of others. As an American, I am bred to be a consumer: if it doesn’t work, we just buy another one. I just returned from a presentation on sweatshops, and I am disgusted in my participation and furthering of that type of treatment of workers. Because of our demand for cheap shoes and companies' profit margins, there are workers living on less than $1 a day. Personally, I have not experienced poverty, but the point that drove it home was the choice between aspirin to stop a fever and eating the next three meals. How can someone live with dignity in such conditions? I know I can plead some form of ignorance, but it is an unsettlingly necessary experience to look at someone who has been crucified. There is no perverse pleasure, but a combination of emotions-heart-wrenching compassion and indescribable anger. Unfortunately, this type of “piercing” is much closer to home as well.

Each week, I sit in on the “community meeting” at the Siena/Francis House, which is a homeless shelter just down the street from Creighton. I have been welcomed into the meetings for the past few weeks, and it has been incredible. People get up and share their stories—their ups and their downs—and everybody comes together to pray at the end, linking hands. The majority of the guests at Siena/Francis are recovering addicts or alcoholics. I am not going to lie: I’m a college student and I’m 21: I drink. However, my recent contact with so many others who continue to struggle with alcoholism has caused me to view things in a new light. The past two weekends, I made the unfortunate decision to go to house-parties. I only stayed for one hour: I couldn’t bear it any longer. I saw drunkenness and overindulgence and excess. Worse yet, I saw myself reflected in the actions of those around me. To think about those with whom I share my Friday mornings sickens me. By embodying the actions that have broken their lives, I have “pierced” them.

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