by Richard Rohr
The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: he who was everything had everything taken away from him. He who was seemingly “perfect” (Hebrews 1:3, 5:9) was totally misjudged as “sin” itself (Romans 8:3-4). How can we be that mistaken? The crucified Jesus forever reveals to us how wrong both religious and political authorities can be, and how utterly wrong we all can be—about who is in the right and who is sinful (John 16:8). The crowd, who represents all of us, chose Barabbas, a common thief, over Jesus. That is how much we can misperceive, misjudge, and be mistaken.
Jesus hung in total solidarity with the pain of the world and the far too many lives on this planet that have been “nasty, lonely, brutish, and short.” After the cross, we know that God is not watching human pain, nor apparently always stopping human pain, as much as God is found hanging with us alongside all human pain. Jesus’ ministry of healing and death, of solidarity with the crucified of history, forever tells us that God is found wherever the pain is. This leaves God on both sides of every war, in sympathy with both the pain of the perpetrator and the pain of the victim, with the excluded, the tortured, the abandoned, and the oppressed since the beginning of time. I wonder if we even like that. There are no games of moral superiority left for us now. Yet this is exactly the kind of Lover and the universal Love that humanity needs.
This is exactly how Jesus “redeemed the world by the blood of the cross.” It was not some kind of heavenly transaction, or “paying a price” to an offended God, as much as a cosmic communion with all that humanity has ever loved and ever suffered. If Jesus was paying any price it was to the hard and resistant defenses around our hearts and bodies. God has loved us from all eternity.
Adapted by Fr. Richard Rohr from The Great Themes of Scripture: New Testament
(available from Franciscan Media)
Image by Salvador Dali