Who are the crucified?

Ignatio Ellacuría was an El Salvadoran Jesuit priest recognised for his advocacy for human rights; action which led to his murder in 1989. He spoke about a sign that appeared in every age that reveals the truth about ourselves and the nature of God. He said, “That sign is always the historically crucified people, which remains constant although the historical forms of crucifixion are different”….The humanity of Jesus “is still being disfigured by the sin of the world, whom the powers of this world are still stripping of everything..”[1]

Where is this sign today? Who are the crucified whose humanity is being disfigured and who are being ‘stripped of everything by the powers of this world’?

This week, those diverse in gender and sexuality have been the object of media discussion over whether laws should be enacted which could exclude them, as if they were an object to be debated and as if their presence was somehow outside of religious communities. If we are to look for who are the crucified people amongst us, surely we would see them here. Jesus always crossed boundaries and identified with the poor and excluded…something which is at the heart of his teaching in the Beatitudes we will hear this Sunday.

Blessed are you who are poor,
   for yours is the kingdom of God….

Jesus calls us to act and live with a gentleness and generosity of spirit which places our shared humanity above any other desire for security or measure of purity or success. This speaks to all the systems that create and sustain financial poverty as well as the powers that rob others of their opportunity to flourish. Ellacuría’s words point us to the truth that Jesus is present with us in all who are marginalised and oppressed, and that it is these who are ‘poor’ who can help us know the truth about ourselves and also help us find our humanity…something we are in danger of losing whenever we do not hear the cry of the excluded. Unless we are all present and welcome at the table, we also cannot receive the gifts others bring to help us grow and to build a world of peace and justice for all.

Grace and peace,

[1] Ignatio Ellacuría, as quoted in Sobrino, Jon. No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays (p. 3). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.

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