Walking the way of the Cross ….
I recently came across a picture of a brightly-coloured cross from El Salvador, painted in an attractive, folk art style. I discovered that it was commissioned by the friends of a woman called Maria Cristina Gomez who wanted, after her death in 1989, to remember how she lived her life.
Marie Gomez was a primary school teacher, a community leader and a devout Baptist Christian. The cross displays scenes from her life, pictures of her at home with her family, tending her animals and her farm, and working as a teacher. In the centre of the cross, Maria stretches out her arms to openness to her world.
Maria spent many of her weekends teaching peasant women how to read. She wanted to empower them; to enable them to learn how to farm more efficiently; to look after their children’s health and to gain the knowledge and confidence they needed to stand up for their rights. She wanted them to flourish.
Her actions displeased the Salvordorean government of the day, controlled as it was by a handful of powerful families. They regarded her as a troublemaker. One Spring day she was abducted on her way home from school. Two hours later she was found dead on the side of a main road. Her murderers were never brought to justice.
Maria’s story resonates so strongly with the story of Jesus that it is little wonder that the Maria Gomez cross is now famous all over the world. Looking at it helps us to understand more about what it means to live ‘cross-shaped’ lives.
The cost of following the path of open-hearted love towards others may not be as great for us. The invitation to live out our faith and our commitment to justice in all the ordinary, everyday aspects of our lives is the call of every disciple of Jesus.