(RNS) — Throughout Holy 7 days, we are called to hold our eyes on Jesus as he follows the route that qualified prospects him to the Golgotha and dying on the cross. When I was increasing up in the 1950s, preachers employed to emphasize that Christ was dying for our sins. Our sins — any sins — were so offensive that it took the struggling and dying of Jesus to harmony the scales, to atone for our sins.
This theology led to thoughts of guilt and sorrow for our offenses. More importantly, it led to a great appreciation and love for Jesus who was eager to die for us.
The risk with this tactic, if oversimplified, was that it could make God the Father search pretty vindictive. He would not forgive us except if his son endured and died for us. This does not seem like the father Jesus explained in the parable of the prodigal son.
Jesus never ever provides his father as a vindictive judge who can only be contented by the suffering and loss of life of his son. Relatively, Jesus tells us that his father is loving, compassionate and forgiving. Jesus tells us that his father does not want vengeance but only that we answer to his adore by loving 1 one more as brothers and sisters. Jesus will save us by incarnating the faithfulness of God to us, even to dying on a cross.
A a lot more nuanced theology, hence, sees the struggling and loss of life of Jesus not as shelling out for our sins, but as a consequence of his commitment to the mission that the Father gave him — a mission of preaching adore and justice in the globe. Jesus died making an attempt to make the environment a better place. As well quite a few people, primarily spiritual and political leaders, rejected his information and noticed it as a threat to their place in the globe. Roman authorities and their Jewish collaborators united to get rid of the menace to their positions.
If we see the life of Jesus in this light-weight, then we can see that Holy 7 days is not just a single week in the 12 months. Rather, it is the daily everyday living of millions of men and women around the environment who go through due to the fact their consciences explain to them to live and operate in approaches that political and spiritual authorities discover objectionable. They, like Jesus, endure and die due to the fact of their commitments to justice, flexibility, peace and adore.
We see this in the marked enhance in antisemitism in our possess region and about the environment. Antisemitism is one of the greatest of Christian heresies and sins for the reason that it involves a hatred of the Jew Jesus and his closest relations.
We also see it in the assaults on Christians, other believers and people of no faith who are persecuted for what they imagine or never feel. Christians in China and India, Muslims in India and Myanmar, spiritual dissenters in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and people of conscience in significantly much too quite a few nations around the world are suffering for their faith.
But it is not only believers who endure for adhering to their consciences and getting on a mission of justice. Thousands of journalists are harassed, persecuted, arrested and killed due to the fact they communicate out with a prophetic voice towards injustice, corruption and tyranny. Like Jesus, they are attacked for what they say. They are attacked since they protect the inadequate and oppressed versus unjust rulers and systems.
Holy 7 days reminds us how soldiers arrested and tortured Jesus. Much too generally those who are meant to shield the peace are utilised as instruments of oppression. The innocent are arrested, police violence is condoned and the impressive are safeguarded.
Through Holy 7 days we bear in mind how Jesus ate a last meal with his friends. They have been delighted to love his existence when things were being heading perfectly, but they ran when issues arrived. Much too routinely, we far too abandon those people who are persecuted, those who are arrested. Rather than focusing on what is heading on in the planet, like Peter we tumble asleep. Holy 7 days is a time to keep in mind that what Jesus suffered is still likely on in our world currently.
As Pope Francis claimed in his Palm Sunday homily, “Christ, in his abandonment, stirs us to find him and to appreciate him and individuals who are themselves abandoned. For in them we see not only individuals in need, but Jesus himself, deserted.”
By participating in human suffering, Christ created it redemptive, not vacant. It sales opportunities to life, not dying. It does not continue to be at Very good Friday, but moves on to Easter. In baptism, we die with Christ so that we can be raised with him. As users of the entire body of Christ, our struggling is united with his so that we too will join with him in his victory over loss of life.