Looking at the crucified

Whenever a serpent bit anyone,
that person would look at the bronze serpent and live.
Numbers 21: 9 

When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
you will know that I AM.
John 8: 28 

 Praying over the lectionary readings this morning, with the help of a meditation of Megan McKenna in Tasting the Word of God. Volume 2: Commentaries on the Daily Lectionary, I began to think about the importance of gazing upon the crucified Lord.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola recommends that we situate ourselves before the crucified Lord, gazing on Jesus suffering, and ask ourselves several questions:

Imagining Christ our Lord present and placed on the Cross, let me make a Colloquy, how from Creator He is come to making Himself man, and from life eternal is come to temporal death, and so to die for my sins.

Likewise, looking at myself, what I have done for Christ, what I am doing for Christ, what I ought to do for Christ.

Jon Sobrino, the Salvadoran Jesuit theologian, has rephrased these questions for us in light of Ignacio Ellacuría’s concept of the crucified peoples of the world:

 Let us place ourselves before the crucified peoples and ask ourselves:
“What have we done to put them on the cross?”
“What are we doing as we stand before their crosses?”
“What are we going to do to lower them from their cross?”

As we approach Holy Week, let us place ourselves in our imagination at the foot of the cross of Jesus and ask ourselves the questions that St. Ignatius suggests. But let us not forget to place ourselves with the crucified peoples of this world, seeing and experiencing their sufferings and deaths, and ask ourselves Sobrino’s questions.

Perhaps, looking on the crucified Jesus and the crucified peoples of this world, we shall live and not die of what we have done to put them on the cross.


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