Good Friday: Not Some Grim Duty
BY FR. GREG BOYLE, S.J. | April 10, 2020
Reflexión en Español
It goes without saying that before it was Good Friday, it was the worst of all Fridays. Yet, Jesus would not have us wallow in some bleak, brutal re-enactment of that day. For indeed, it was love that made the cross salvific…not the sheer torture of it.
Part of the task for all of us at Homeboy Industries is to “transform our pain, rather than endlessly transmit it.” I have watched gang members bravely come to terms with the things that have darkened their lives and then step into the bright light of forgiveness and mercy. Grumpy is a burly gang member, who at 19, found a community of tenderness at Homeboy Industries. He learned how to make friends with his considerable wounds and finally made the acquaintance with his own wholeness…a buoyant and resilient compassion. He ran away from home at 9, joining a gang shortly thereafter. His mother tortured him…putting cigarettes out on him; holding his head in the toilet and flushing until he nearly drowned; tethering him like an animal in the back yard for weeks on end. Running away from home at 9 years old was a reasonable thing to do.
Now, Grumpy loves being loving. He has even managed to forgive his mentally ill mother.
Following Jesus is not some grim duty. Can we just love being loving? Love…made the cross salvific.
Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J., is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His new and third book is The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness that recently debuted in fall of 2021.
P. Greg Boyle. S.J. es fundador de las Industrias Homeboy en Los Ángeles, California. Homeboy se ha convertido en la mayor iniciativa en intervención, rehabilitación y programa de reinserción de pandilleros del mundo, empleando y entrenando a convictos en un amplio espectro de emprendimientos sociales, además de brindar ayuda a miles de hombres y mujeres que cada año atraviesan sus puertas en busca de una vida mejor. Asimismo, es autor del éxito en ventas del New York Times, Tatuajes en el corazón: El poder de la compasión sin límites y Amor incondicional: El poder de la hermandad.
As always, Greg is good, even on Good Friday. Homeboy Industries is a meaningful initiative, where the community members, accompany one another on their way to their personal and community Easter.
Thank you Fr. Greg for that uplifting thought on this day. As always, you inspire us with your words. Blessings on you and your ministry.
Yesterday Fr. Boyle and the Himeboys were a source of inspiriation for us staff at our lunch break at the Food Pantry / Meal for Homeless at St. James Catholic Chicago. Truly GRACE can transform each of us to be a community of LOVE.
Thank you for this message of transformation and hope. It gives more depth to the meaning of Good Friday that guides us to Easter Sunday. We can experience the start of salvation through love and healing here on earth. Jesus saved us through his love poured out in his blood on the cross. If we separate Christ’s love from His sacrifice on the cross, we are left with a brutal killing demanded by God of his own son.