FAST FOOD (2014): Second Helping
Again, “We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him” (Pope Francis, 6/21/14).
Why does God have to, “offer Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins?” In other words, why does Jesus have to die on the Cross to save us?
Is it because God is infinitely angry with humanity for having not conformed to what He told people to do, that nothing can assuage His infinite anger towards them other than the Infinite punishing of Himself by allowing Himself to become fully a human being, and then be beaten, lacerated, tortured, humiliated and murdered by other human beings? But, why can God’s anger toward human beings only be mollified by willingly submitting to gruesome suffering at the hands of those who are responsible for setting off His anger by refusing to obey His will? Does not this seem more like the “release” given to some people by masochism—except raised to infinite proportions and value—than it does infinite holiness and love?
If this were truly the raison d’être for why humanity’s sins had to be expiated by the Cross, then the nonviolence of Jesus, which He lives and calls His followers to live, would amount to an impotent life of choosing to continually accept punishment and pain at the hands of others with no response other than to endure.
As we communicate what we believe God says and does, we are simultaneously making a communication about the nature of God. God is what God does. He and His will and what He wills are One. So, while all Christians agree, “Jesus saves,” the question is, “How does Jesus save humanity?” “By His Cross,” or “By His blood shed for us on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins,” are the typical answers given with more or less erudition to the question, “How does Jesus save?” But, what is the meaning of “By His Cross?” Depending how that phrase is understood, as is clear from the divine masochism interpretation above, different gods are adored and followed.
I would submit that the interpretation of the clause that Pope Francis employs, “Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins,” is central to the truth of Gospel Nonviolence, as well as, central to the untruth that is referred to as Christian Just War Theory.
Think about it.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
(To be continued)