WHAT IS GOD DOING ON A CROSS?
According to the Gospel account, those who were passing by Jesus on the cross at the top of the hill of Golgotha sneered at him. Ridiculing his powerlessness, they said to him, If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. Jesus does not answer their provocation. His answer is a silence full of mystery. Precisely because he is the Son of God, he will remain on the cross until death.
Questions are inevitable: How is it possible to believe in a God crucified by men? Are we aware of what we are saying? What is God doing on a cross? How can a religion, founded on such an absurd idea of God, survive?
A “crucified God” constitutes a revolution and a scandal that obliges us to question all the ideas we humans have about a God that we supposedly know. The Crucified does not have the face or the characteristics that religions attribute to the Supreme Being.
The “crucified God” is not an almighty and majestic being, unchangeable and happy, a stranger to human suffering, but rather, a powerless and humiliated God who suffers with us pain, anguish and even death itself. With the Cross, either our faith in God ends, or we open ourselves to a new and surprising understanding of a God who embodies our suffering and loves us in an unbelievable way.
In the face of the Crucified, we begin to sense that God, in his ultimate mystery, is someone who suffers with us. Our misery affects him. He suffers when we suffer. There is not a God whose life transpires, so to speak, outside the margins of our pains, tears and misfortunes. God is in all the Calvaries of our world.
This “crucified God” does not allow a trivial and selfish faith in an almighty God who is at the service of our whims and claims. This “crucified God” puts us face to face with the suffering, abandonment, and helplessness of so many victims of injustice and misfortune. We meet this God when we come close to the suffering of any crucified person.
We Christians put ourselves through all kinds of twists and turns to avoid running into the “crucified God.” We have even learned to raise our eyes toward the Lord’s Cross, diverting our attention from the crucified persons who are before our eyes. Yet the most authentic way to celebrate the Lord’s Passion is to rekindle our compassion. Without this, we dilute our faith in the “crucified God” and open the door to all kinds of manipulations. May our kissing of Jesus on the Cross make us always face those who are suffering, whether they are near us or are far away.
March 20, 2016
Palm Sunday (C)
Luke 22, 14 – 23, 56