Elí, Elí, ¿lama sabachthani?
In Valladolid, Eastern is traditionally one of the most special cultural events of the year. Dozens of processions go across the city with amazing statues in polychrome wood. At night, the darkness is illuminated with warm lamps, and the silence is broken by the penetrating sound of drums and trumpets.
I am agnostic but every Eastern I remove the dust of the Bible, and I read again the gospels. Even not being religious, as Spaniard and European, they are a very important part of our culture. At night, the words of the Gospel are clearer: ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ (Matthew 19:23-24). But reading them I realize the number of contradictions between the words that I read and what I hear from the head of the Catholic Church in Spain and those Politicians, who regularly show off about their religiosity. During the time of economic crisis and decrease of social rights, they were always speaking loudly but however staying along with the powerful and rich.
The Good Friday, I was watching one of the last processions of one of the most famous brotherhood. Arriving at the church, a woman interrupted their arrival shouting desperately: “I should be your virgin Mary! Without a job, without money, without anything! I should be the one receiving help”. One of the processions members, visibly upset, pushed the woman away arguing: “don´t you see you are disturbing us? Go away please”. This image came to my mind along with the words I read the day before: “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
I have shared unbelievable time with amazing Christians and missionaries in Ethiopia and Spain learning about commitment and dedication. However, during those days, the images of those processions became dark and phantasmagorical, the hypocrisy hidden under the cowl that shows how to pray but they just take care of themselves. In those moments came to me the last words of Jesus: “Elí, Elí, ¿lama sabachthani?” – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”