Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

April 3, Good Friday

Men and Women for Others

Another two-time Jesuit alum, Matt Cuff works as a policy associate in the national advocacy office of the Jesuit Conference in Washington, DC. Matt’s focus on immigration as well as criminal and juvenile justice is evident throughout his passionate Good Friday reflection.

Good Friday Readings

IS 52:13—53:12
HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9
JN 18:1—19:42



Daily Reflection

Cries for Help
by Matthew Cuff

I’ve heard Greg Boyle, SJ, suggest, "We all need healing. All of us are a cry for help. It’s one of the things that unites us as people."

When Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" he reveals his own pain and feelings of abandonment. Who could blame him? He, the Son of God, is hanging from a cross.

Jesus' cry is comforting. We've all felt pain and maybe we’ve even blamed God. If Jesus felt it, it’s ok for me to feel it. This week, we’ve reflected on what it means to be "men and women for others." So what does it mean to be a man or woman for others when we hear Jesus cry out to God?

For me it, it means recognizing the pain of others, especially the forgotten (the working poor), the excluded (undocumented immigrants) and the thrown away (kids serving life sentences) as something that both unites us and makes our lives poorer.

I can try to respond like the Prophet Isaiah, who proclaimed "The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them." But if I stop here, offering words of comfort, am I living our Ignatian ideal?

What would happen if I reflected more intentionally on what comes a few words later in the famous Pedro Arrupe quote about men and women for others, the part where he calls us to be "men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce"?

Maybe being a man or woman for others means challenging a world that places an innocent man on a cross, deports an immigrant from her loved ones, hides a kid behind bars for his whole life and sticks a single mother working a full-time job below the poverty line.

Gritos pidiendo ayuda
Por: Matthew Cuff

He oído a Greg Boyle, SJ, sugerir, "Todos necesitamos sanar. Todos nosotros somos una súplica pidiendo ayuda. Y esto es una de las cosas que nos une como personas."

Cuando Jesús suplica, "Dios mío, Dios mío, ¿porqué me has abandonado?" está revelando su propio sufrimiento y sentimiento de abandono. ¿Quién podría culparlo? Él, el hijo de Dios, está colgado de una cruz.

La súplica de Jesús es alentadora. Todos hemos sentido dolor y tal vez hemos culpado a Dios por esto. Si Jesús lo sintió, está bien que yo también lo sienta. Esta semana, hemos reflexionado acerca de qué significa ser "hombres y mujeres para los demás." Entonces, ¿qué es, ser un hombre o una mujer para los demás, cuando oímos a Jesús suplicando a Dios?

Para mí significa reconocer el sufrimiento de los demás, especialmente de los olvidados (los trabajadores pobres), los excluidos (inmigrantes indocumentados) y los expulsados (niños condenados a cadena perpetua), como algo que nos une y que, a la vez, hace nuestras vidas más pobres.

Puedo tratar de responder como el Profeta Isaías, que proclamó "El Señor me ha instruido para que yo consuele a los cansados con palabras de aliento." Pero si me detengo aquí, ofreciendo palabras de aliento, ¿estoy viviendo nuestro ideal Ignaciano?

¿Qué pasaría si reflexionara más intencionalmente en las palabras que vienen más tarde, en la famosa cita de Pedro Arrupe acerca de los hombres y las mujeres para los demás, la parte donde nos llama a ser "hombres y mujeres completamente convencidos de que el amor a Dios, cuando no se expide en la justicia para los demás, es una farsa"?

Posiblemente, ser un hombre y una mujer para los demás, signifique desafiar al mundo que crucifica a un hombre inocente, deporta a un inmigrante de sus seres queridos, encierra a un niño detrás de las rejas por el resto de su vida y deja a una madre soltera con un trabajo de tiempo completo por debajo de la línea de pobreza.

Matt Cuff, a Pennsylvania native, serves as a policy associate in the national advocacy office of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US in Washington, D.C. He attended Scranton Prep in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and received his degree in theology from Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. At the Jesuit Conference, Matt works on issues related to economic justice and poverty in the United States, criminal and juvenile justice, immigration, U.S. policy towards Central America and Native American rights.


you hung upon a cross for others, not for yourself.
You have no need of that kind of sacrifice, but for us:
who need your sacrifice, your model, your example, you.
We need to see that redemptive suffering is possible,
to see what world-changing love looks like.
Give us the ability to accept that love
and the desire to return by living for others,
especially those who need it the most.


For the Christian the only appropriate way to cope with the negative is in the light of the cross. Following the cross does not mean cultic adoration, mystical absorption, or ethical imitation. It means practice in a variety of ways in accordance with the cross of Jesus, in which a person freely perceives and attempts to follow his own way of life and suffering.
: Hans Kung

oh antic God
return to me
my mother in her thirties
leaned across the front porch
the huge pillow of her breasts
pressing against the rail
summoning me in for bed.
I am almost the dead woman’s age times two.
I can barely recall her song
the scent of her hands
though her wild hair scratches my dreams
at night. return to me, oh Lord of then
and now, my mother’s calling,
her young voice humming my name.
: Lucille Clifton

Only in Christ is the fullness of life revealed to us, and death, therefore, becomes 'awful,' the very fall from life, the enemy. To accept death as "normal" and to see this world as something to be abolished and replaced by a better world, and to call this "religion" is the Fall of Man.
It is this world and not any other; it is this life and not some other life that were given to man to be a sacrament of the divine presence. It is when Life weeps at the grave of a friend, contemplating the horror of death, that the victory over death begins.
: Alexander Schmemann

Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling; darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like smoke from an unseen fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city.
: Margaret Atwood


Silent Mourning

Symphony No. 5. IV Adagietto (G. Mahler/L. Bernstein, Vienna Philharmonic)

Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)

Questions about the program? Email the coordinator by clicking here.

Click here to download the announcement PDF for "Igniting Our Values."

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 10/14/19

America 9/30/19

America 9/16/19

Loyola House of Retreats
Loyola House of Retreats is located on 30 acres of beautiful lawns, gardens and woodland in a quiet section of Morristown, N.J.