13 March, 2015
Who's To Blame?
Why did the Son of God suffer so much? Why was He scourged? Why was He crowned with thorns? Why did He carry His own Cross? Why was He nailed to it to finally suffer an agonizing suffocating death?
We are sometimes tempted to blame the Jews, or the Romans. This is a claim that has arisen from time to time throughout the Church's history, but at no time did such a claim hold up. In fact, the Church has always rejected blaming the Jews or the Romans for the crucifixion. It is certainly true that individual Jews and Romans were involved, but we cannot lay the blame on them. Did He not say, "forgive them, they know not what they do?"
It seems that some people forget that they believe Jesus is God. There is no earthly power that could take, torture, and kill Him if He chose to prevent it. Therefore, we cannot really blame even those individuals who performed the acts for the fact that they happened. Yet God hung on His Cross and we are still tempted to assign the blame.
It is an interesting failing of ours, to always look outward when trying to assign blame. We see a figure of Him on the Cross, but don't want to really consider why He's there. We see the image of thorns on His head, the nails through his limbs, and the spear wound in His side, and we don't want to blame ourselves for all of that. But that is the message of the crucifix. That is precisely what we are supposed to do when we see one.
Christ died for our sins, not only for all of humanity, but for each of us individually. When I look at a crucifix, I am supposed to look into my own soul and realize that He suffered for me. He suffered to redeem me from my personal sins, not just to remove the state of Original Sin. My sins. My failings. My unfaithfulness. That is the focus of Lent. That is the point of every Friday as a day of penance. Christ suffered and died for me. He loves me so much that He took on my curse and hung from a tree on my behalf.
The crucifix is at the heart of our call to repent and amend our lives. Every time we see a crucifix we should be encouraged to be better Christians because God loves us so much He chose to suffer the curse of our unfaithfulness. He is there, in our place and on our behalf.
Who's to blame for the crucifixion?
Every Catholic should answer, "I am."