Social Justice Way of the Cross: Good Friday

By Darlene O'Leary

Jesus Dies and Is Risen

Jesus shows us that even in death, sorrow, and struggle, we can know life, mercy, and hope.

The reality of poverty beats down the spirit and isolates people from each other. We know this pain is a daily reality in Canada for so many – the child who goes to school hungry; the senior on a fixed income who can barely pay his bills; the Indigenous youth whose voice cries out for a share of what others easily access, like clean water and education; the refugee woman who has lost her home and identity and is unable to find adequate housing and employment.

We must recognize the depths of this pain and hear the voices of those impacted.

But we also must celebrate, knowing that the spirit continues to rise, even when beaten down. 

Rising, we see generations coming together to call for justice and healing for Indigenous peoples, through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Idle No More.

Rising, we see people with lived experience of poverty from all backgrounds and abilities fight for their voices to be heard, through anti-poverty networks in communities across the country.

Rising, we see communities of faith and public policy advocates push for political representatives to develop policy that will end poverty in Canada, through campaigns like Dignity for All.

Through Jesus we see that mercy is not pity. It is understanding life’s anguish and joy, beauty and harshness and seeing that in each person. It is extending compassion and kindness to ourselves and each other, leading us to join in solidarity with those whom Jesus privileged – those marginalized – to act for a more just, compassionate, and merciful world.

God, open our hearts so that we recognize that all pain and suffering are met with your grace and mercy.  We pray for your love to ignite the fire for justice and compassion in our hearts, as we rise together to end poverty and exclusion in Canada and the world. Amen. 

  • Darlene O'Leary

    Darlene O’Leary has followed the path of social justice for many years, leading her to work in the areas of refugee resettlement and international development, as well as in an academic setting as a researcher, writer, and professor in the fields of theology and ethics. Darlene has a Ph.D. (Theology) from Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Her dissertation focused on ethics and economics in the context of Canadian Catholic social ethics and the work of Jesuit theologian Bernard Lonergan. She served as the Executive Director of Galilee Centre, an Oblate retreat centre in Arnprior, Ontario, where she managed operations and programs, including a Spirituality and Social Justice Program. Darlene recently completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the University of Prince Edward Island, Faculty of Education, which involved research on Inuit Educational Leadership, guided by the inspiring women who have taken part in the UPEI Master of Education (Nunavut) program. Darlene has been an active member of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, serving on the National Council for several years as the PEI representative. Currently, Darlene lives in Ottawa with her husband, Digafie, and their dog, Che.

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2 thoughts on “Social Justice Way of the Cross: Good Friday”

  1. A truly beautiful, practical
    A truly beautiful, practical and accessible application of the message of Easter, and the Risen Lord, to our everyday lives.

    Let us work together to make this world a more beautiful dwelling place for all who live here!

    Ted Glover

  2. A truly beautiful, inspiring,
    A truly beautiful, inspiring, practical and accessible application of the Easter message, The Risen Lord and Saviour!

    Let us work together to make this world a better and more beautiful dwelling place for ALL those who inhabit 1

    Ted Glover


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