Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

Lectionary: 40


See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.

Next to myself



We could not bear the sight of his privates
So we took from the river bottom
a worm-eaten loincloth and wrapped his waist.
The clotting blood held the rag,
Soaking its fibers with septic filth
of the streets. Even in the gale
the blackened rag clung to his skin.


It was supposed to be a linen undergarment
to cover his pure naked flesh from hips to thighs;
He should wear it as he went into the tent of meeting,
And when he came near the altar
to minister in the holy place;
lest he bring guilt on us who die.


It was supposed to be his pride, his delight!
He would sport it as a toddler
sports his underpants
for Grandma to see, with
panda bears and ninja turtles.
He would boast,
Next to myself I love my people best!”


We could not prevent what happened without
Rewriting everything we knew.
His betrayal, trial and death
followed our scheme of things.
The loincloth in this image
recalls the sacred linen drawers of
the priest Aaron
Witless, we demanded of the fool Pilate,
His blood upon us and upon our children.”
We should be guilty and should die.
But we could not bear the sight of his genitals;
We looked on him whom we had pierced and
mourned as for an only son.


By the rivers of Babylon now
we bathe in his blood
until a sticky paste of street dirt, excrement and
linen binds us to his loins.
The veil of our devotion
with its reek of body odor
and its sweet-smelling stench of incense
parts as the High Priest enters once for all the sanctuary,
and shamelessly displays linen drawers
emblazoned with “my people, my name, my praise and glory.”


we follow now in full assurance of faith.

       Fr. Ken Bartsch, OFM Conv.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.