Friday 08 April 2022

Bible Book:

The oppressed shall speedily be released; they shall not die and go down to the Pit, nor shall they lack bread. (v. 14)

Isaiah 51:9-15 Friday 8 April 2022

Psalm 143


Is this a pipe-dream or an achievable project? That in the name of God, the oppressed might be released and that there might be bread for the poor? Long live the food banks where surplus bread is distributed for free. Clearly more bread is baked than could be consumed. As economists point out, there is enough food for all to be fed. The problem is not with food production, but with food distribution. The problem is the lack of equity in wealth distribution.

A week today is Good Friday when the Church commemorates the sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of the world. This is not of historical interest only. For Christians, Christ is still crucified again today in the suffering and death of the oppressed, the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalised. Here is the real reason for fasting, for the wearing of sackcloth and sitting on ashes, in other words, for deep shame and repentance.

I remember the day – 13 May 1988 – it was the centenary of the abolition of slavery in Brazil. As if to confirm that slavery was not necessarily confined to Brazilian history books, I was confronted with the body of a young black man, killed and set alight, and dumped by the railway. He was naked, his hands tied together behind his back. He looked like a Black Christ to me, a sacrificial lamb.

Even after the shocking killing of George Floyd by the police in the USA, and the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, the number of deaths among black young men in Rio de Janeiro is higher than ever. The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro,  has even encouraged the police to kill suspects saying "criminals should die like cockroaches".

In view of such injustices and suffering, Isaiah calls us to participate in a project to build a society in which the oppressed "shall not die and go down to the Pit", and shall not lack bread to eat.


To Ponder:

  • In the Eucharist, Jesus is priest and offering at the same time. How is Jesus to be the bread of life for the whole world?
  • How do the suffering and deaths of George Floyd and other marginalised people represent Christ for us today?


As I receive bread and wine, make me one with you Christ Jesus, eternal priest and eternal offering. Amen.

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