Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Before the Crucified One

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
March 24, 2013

Luke 22:14-23:56

Arrested by the security forces of the Temple, Jesus no longer has any doubt: The Father hasn't listened to his wishes to go on living; his disciples have fled seeking their own safety. He's alone. His projects are fading away. Execution awaits him. Jesus' silence during his final hours is overwhelming. However, the evangelists have gathered some of his words on the cross. They're very brief, but they helped the first generations of Christians remember the crucified Jesus with love and thankfulness.

Luke gathered the ones he says as he's being crucified. Between shudders and cries of pain, he's able to utter some words that show what's in his heart: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." That's how Jesus is. He asked his own to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors. Now he himself dies while offering forgiveness. He changes his crucifixion into pardon.

This prayer to the Father for those who are crucifying him is, first of all, a sublime gesture of compassion and trust in the fathomless forgiveness of God. That is Jesus' great legacy to humankind -- Never mistrust God. His mercy is without end.

Mark gathers the dramatic cry of the Crucified One: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Those words uttered in the most total loneliness and abandonment, are overwhelmingly frank. Jesus feels that his beloved Father is abandoning him. Why? Jesus moans about His silence. Where is He? Why is He silent?

That cry of Jesus, identified with all the victims in history, begging God for some explanation of so much injustice, neglect and suffering, remains on the lips of the Crucified One, demanding a response from God beyond death: Our God, why do You abandon us? Are you never going to respond to the cries and moans of the innocent?

Luke gathers Jesus' last word. In spite of his mortal anguish, Jesus keeps his trust in the Father to the end. His words are now almost a whisper: "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit." Nothing and nobody has been able to separate him from Him. The Father has been animating him with His spirit all his life. His mission over, Jesus leaves everything in His hands. The Father will break His silence and resurrect him.

This Holy Week, we are going to celebrate the Passion and Death of the Lord in our Christian communities. We will also be able to meditate in silence before Jesus crucified, delving into the words that he himself uttered during his agony.

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