The Cross and the Crucified

By Bishop Jose Luis

The cross and crucified bring another dimension of mercy: the one who preached and gave mercy experienced the hardness of heart and rejection of many: religious and political authorities and people in general. He was then crucified. That was the worse possible punishment that could be given.
Many years’ ago there was a film called “Mission”. At the very end a certain Monseigneur (I think) tells a Cardinal: “Your Excellency, this is how life is”. The Cardinal replies: “No. This is how we have made it”. True. This is how we have made it.
The cross and the crucified bring to our eyes the faces of all the innocent that are suffering because of the hardness of our hearts, because of us being so stubborn… We have chosen violence as the only way to solve our differences. We have come to believe that only violence can bring peace in our lives and relationships.
The cross and the crucified continues to reveal how violent we are and how much suffering we inflict on others…
  • for those who follow news, we have vivid images from Syria and children dying because of chemical weapons. We will never ever know who was responsible. No one takes responsibility. No one would dare do so. Innocent victims of lords of wars;
  • not sure you have followed the news of the hunger affecting the northern part of our continent. Part of it is the fruit of climate change but probably most of it is – once again – the result of these lords of wars feeding with weapons a conflict among just a few and inflicting suffering on many;
  • truth, in any case, is the first victim of any war, of every violence… One can easily hear Pilate wondering again: “Truth? What is that?”
  • but even in our own small world we look for lawyers who would protect us from taking any responsibility for our actions or we find different words to justify our actions… but we are never responsible

 

Think of:
  • the reality of child abuse in a so called Christian country – innocent victims of our personal and social violence;
  • our daily news about gender based violence… the violence of the powerful over the powerless and this in our own families and communities;
  • the reality of poverty. If anything is clear in the Bible is that God protects the “orphan, the widow and the foreigner”. They are innocent victims of our personal, political, financial choices that seem to leave them behind;
  • the reality of fear in our families, communities, country and world. We are afraid to talk, afraid of the violent consequences and then we finish confusing “peace” with a “cold war”;
  • the violence of words in our relationships, in our families (between husband and wife, between parents and children) in schools, in social media… Social media has become a space in which people get hurt by the power of a word or an image. It has become a space in which we show our personal violence because we are unable to listen to each other and respect the different views. Many then become innocent victims;
  • our believe that Christian pastors have the right to enrich themselves in the name of the Gospel. Does it has anything to do with that Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, went into Jerusalem on a donkey, wash the feet of the apostles, died on a cross and who clearly declared we cannot serve both God and money? This too is violence against the innocent…

 

The cross and the crucified reveal to us our choices protecting the powerful and sacrificing the powerless and the innocent like it was done with Jesus for our own selfish interests.
The cross and the crucified revealed to us our choices of silencing and doing away with the one who does not think like us as it was done with Jesus.
The cross and the crucified revealed to us how limited we are, when we choose violence – any form of violence – thinking it will solve a problem. It never does. Violence – at familiar – community – political level just brings more violence. Jesus, in fact, put an end to the cycle of violence. We don’t do that and therefore we keep on producing new victims.
We love to believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is a personal matter between “him and me”. It is much more than that. It has a social dimension that challenges us not only to stop our own violence – in thoughts, words and actions – but also to put an end to the cycle of violence by giving up our lives as He did.
Even today he could repeat what he said to the apostles at the last supper: “I have given you an example for you to follow”.
Only that would bring a more human world and good news to the poor.

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