Friday, March 30, 2012

Identified with the victims

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Eclesalia Informativo
March 28, 2012

Mark 14:1-15:47

Neither the powerful in Rome nor the Temple authorities could stand the novelty of Jesus. His way of viewing and experiencing God was dangerous. He didn't support Tiberius' empire and called all to seek the Kingdom of God and His justice. He didn't care about breaking the Sabbath laws or the relilgious traditions. He was only concerned about alleviating the suffering of the sick and malnourished people of Galilee.

They didn't forgive Him for it. He identified too much with the innocent victims of the empire and those who had been forgotten by the temple religion. Mercilessly executed on a cross, God now reveals Himself in Him, forever identified with all the innocent victims throughout history. The cry of suffering of God Himself is now united with theirs.

In this disfigured face of the Crucified One a surprising God is revealed, one who breaks our conventional images of God and puts into question any religious practice that claims to worship God while forgetting the tragedy of a world where the weakest and most defenseless are still being crucified.

If God has died identified with the victims, His crucifixion becomes a worrisome challenge for Jesus' followers. We cannot separate God from the suffering of the innocent. We cannot adore the Crucified One and turn our backs on the suffering of so many human beings who are being destroyed by hunger, war, and poverty.

God keeps on calling out to us from the crucified of our times. We are not allowed to continue being spectators to this immense suffering while nourishing a naive illusion of innocence. We have to rebel against this culture of neglect that lets us isolate ourselves from the crucified ones by displacing the unjust suffering of the world to a "distant place" where all clamor, moans, and sobs disappear.

We can't close ourselves up in our "society of well-being", ignoring this other "society of ill-being" in which millions of human beings are born only to die after a few years of a life that has only been death. It is neither humane nor Christian to settle into security while forgetting those who have only known an insecure and threatened life.

When we Christians lift our eyes to the face of the Crucified One, we contemplate the fathomless love of God poured out unto death for our salvation. If we look more carefully, we will soon find in this face that of so many other crucified ones who, close to us or far away, are asking for our compassionate love and solidarity.