Dear Friends of Bánica,
Where is Galatia? I think this is an important question that everyone who reads scripture ought to ask. After all, St. Paul speaks to the Galatians rather harshly when he says: “O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” (Galatians 3:1)
If Galatia were a borough of Jerusalem, this would mean one thing: that the
people had seen when our Blessed Lord was crucified. However, located in the middle of Turkey, we ought to ask: How was Christ “portrayed as Crucified” before the eyes of the Galatians? The manner that Paul speaks implies that there was some kind of visible portrayal that they were able to use their eyes and see, and yet despite this they are not believing. Was there a Living Stations? Was there an image? Was there some kind of visible demonstration that revealed that what was previously written was fulfilled in what happened to Christ?
What a wonderful thing to know the answers to these questions! In the meantime, however, we know they were witnesses to Christ’s Crucifixion in some visible way.
In Bánica during Holy Week, many folks come from the capital. There is a regrettably visible presence of carousing and vice. However, there are also wonderful men and women who devote their time and energy to the solemn occasion that we celebrate during Holy Week, the week set aside to reflect on Christ’s great gift to the world.
One of the major aspects to this celebration in Bánica is the Living Stations. The Living Stations are prepared two months earlier with some folks organizing the event, others sewing the outfits or painting the helmets, and others memorizing their lines.
This year there were two people behind this great effort: Angelo, a college student who has been very involved in the practice of his faith this year, and Freddy, who portrayed Christ and is a teacher in our parish school.
Between each station the people sang but I was not able to sing. As I was too moved with tears in my eyes, I could not bring any sound to add to those who were with me. With one spirit we recalled and made present the sacrifice of our Lord and then entered into the liturgy shortly after.
In all parts of the world we have one faith through one baptism and share in the one
Bread from heaven, Jesus. It is before our eyes that Christ is portrayed as Crucified.
Yours in Christ,