In 2010 and 2011, I spent Holy Week in Haiti. I spent most of my time in Haiti living in a slum named Girardoville. The following comes from my 2011 journal.
Palm Sunday was a perfect day for me to reflect on my time in Haiti. The people of Haiti have been continuously thrown overboard and have known deep darkness for centuries. To live in a slum, even for a short period of time, is to see Haiti from a different perspective, to see it through the eyes of the outcast and oppressed, the eyes of the hungry and powerless. To see Haiti from the point of view of those who are suffering changes everything. Suddenly, the cross of Christ and solidarity with the oppressed are linked in a bond of tangible holiness. In this bond, the sufferings of others become as important as our own sufferings…for in truth, they are one in the same, all united in the mystery of Christ’s painful death on the cross.
To contemplate the naked and rejected Christ on the Cross as we share in the lives of the suffering poor helps us see our own weakness, vulnerability and failure. In recognizing my true nakedness, I see more clearly how we are all in need of God’s loving and merciful embrace. In Girardoville, I am no different or no better than anyone else. In Girardoville, I faced my worst fears and they were slowly overcome, and from their death new life is being born.
On the Cross, violence ended…and death was no longer repaid by death.