By Chuck Baclagon

As many commemorate Good Friday by celebrating the person who embodied a life of open healing and shared eating, of radical itinerancy and egalitarianism, of human contact without discrimination and hierarchies, of preferential option for the poor, and who was executed by the Roman Empire because of these…

We likewise remember and consecrate the lives of those who exemplified the same virtues.

We remember Berta Cáceres and Nelson Garcia, who were assassinated this month for rallying the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras to wage a grassroots campaign that led the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam; Sikhosiphi Radebe who was killed while fighting against a company trying to mine titanium in the Wild Coast of South Africa.

We remember the Kalinga tribal leader Macliing Dulag, killed in 1980 for opposing the Chico dam project; Dr. Leonardo Co, a botanist murdered amidst the indigenous trees of Leyte; Doc Jerry Ortega, shot and killed in Puerto Princesa City for standing up as a journalist against environmental degradation in Palawan; as well as the many, faceless environmentalists in the frontiers who risk their lives to see that the Earth is healed and given a fighting chance to stand against our unsustainable lifestyles.

Remembering them today also reminds us of the Cross standing in solidarity with the other crosses carried by those who commit their lives to something bigger than themselves. The Cross stands as a contradiction to the values and principles of the world. It summons us to change the way we see things. It calls us to look at our relationships with the natural world as well as with others. The Cross offers a life that counters the death offered by those who simply use the world’s resources for their own gain.

Good Friday tells the tragedy of death amidst struggle. But Good Friday is the necessary step to Easter. It puts in perspective the setbacks we experience in the loss of friends and comrades. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of any movement for life against the painful slow death of the planet. For in whatever defeat we may experience at the extinguishing of lives, we know that ultimately in the end our labor will not be in vain. The light of renewal will eventually dawn.

In the meantime our task is to wait and struggle in eager anticipation of a better world…