to reveal to the mud that the rungs of the ladder (Genesis 28:12) on which we can climb out of and escape from the hostile desert of godlessness are made out of love (Matthew 22:36-40).   The ladder of love is the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8).  Love is the escape route from godlessness to paradise. Knowledge of it is more valuable than any treasure. Treasure only holds us down. It encumbers us with roots that inextricably bind us to the hostile desert of godlessness.  It hinders our escape.  It makes us settlers instead of pilgrims.  Pilgrims travel light so they can climb high (Luke 10:4).

The knowledge of God, it was decided, would be transported from heaven to earth and into the hands of the children of Adam and Eve. The question was, ‘what would be the proper package to hold and carry it during its journey?’. Ordinarily, to hold and carry knowledge, knowledge is put into a book or into some other traditional repository of knowledge. However, not in this case. The knowledge of God was so valuable that no ordinary, conventional, no-frills, humdrum repository would have been suitable. Indeed, in this case, a treasure chest was needed for the knowledge of God is the most precious of treasure. Therefore, into an extraordinary treasure chest, the knowledge of God was poured. The treasure chest was unique. It lived and breathed and had its own exalted being. Into Jesus, the knowledge of God was poured. During His Visit to us, He shared the treasure with us. He made us rich. However, Jesus was sent into our world not just to share the treasure with us. Jesus was sent into the world to guarantee the genuineness of the treasure as well. He was not just the word of God, He was also its certificate of authenticity. Furthermore, the certificate of authenticity was given to us in a manner that was both apocalyptic and dramatic. A collision was arranged. At and about Calvary outside the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, a collision known as the Crucifixion took place between Good and Evil. It was bigger than the Big Bang. it was larger than the Large Hadron Collider. What survived the collision? The answer is important because the byproducts of the collision unambiguously reveal the identity of Jesus.

THE PUZZLE OF THE CRUCIFIXION

Can You Solve It?

The Crucifixion is not a mystery or a secret whose meaning is beyond our understanding. The Crucifixion was revelation and revelation is meant to be understood. The Crucifixion was disclosure. In the Crucifixion, God published their nature to us (and our potential - we have the potential to become godlike). A veil separated the Holy of Holies from the children of Adam and Eve. In the Crucifixion, “[t]he veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom”. God stepped out from behind the veil to reveal the glorious splendor of divinity itself.  “Behold the nature of God” were the words the angels sang during the Crucifixion as the Son of God was showing us His nature. The payload of the Crucifixion was knowledge of God.  “... for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9). In the treasure chest of the Crucifixion, the knowledge of God was revealed. 

On the canvas of the Crucifixion in the pigments of pain, suffering and death, the Brush of Truth painted a self-portrait of God.  The self-portrait is a high fidelity representation of God.  Its fidelity exceeds the fidelity of all other representations of God made by human hands. Hence, they must bow their knee to it - they must yield to it.  Because it is a self-portrait, it is reliable.  Reject all lesser representations of God as counterfeits. Cling to the self portrait. Let it become your touchstone. Do not let yourself be deceived by those who tout a different picture of God. Measure everything against the self portrait. Reconcile everything against the self portrait. The Crucifixion shows you the truth that sets you free. As a source of knowledge of God, the Crucifixion is infallible. The Crucifixion is the rock on which you can build an unshakable understanding of God (Matthew 7:24-27). 

The Crucifixion was the apocalyptic collision between the treasure chest that held the knowledge of God and the black hole of tortured and death. One revelation was given to us before the collision. Two revelations emerged from the collision itself. Can you articulate all three revelations?

Introduction (The Black Hole of Torture and Death): The story of the Crucifixion begins with brutal ugliness - our brutal ugliness. Our brutal ugliness is the root of the Crucifixion story. While the Son of God - the treasure chest filled with the knowledge of God - was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest, we tortured and killed Him. He suffered and died. We exposed the Son of God to our brutal ugliness. We did evil to Him. What worse evil could we have done to Him than to torture and kill Him? This was the sin of sins. The sin of sins marked the conclusion of the visit that the Son of God paid us. It was over. It had ended in abysmal failure. It had concluded in abject and utter defeat. Or so it seemed on the skin or reality.

Many misunderstand the Crucifixion. They think that Jesus is recommending suffering and death to us. 'Jesus suffered and died, therefore, we must suffer and die' is their primitive, simplistic, superficial, fallacious and hopeless logic. Do this in memory and imitation of Him is their sinister, sadistic and stupid mantra. They took their mantra from its proper context - the perpetual memorial to His victory over the serpent - and inappropriately extrapolated it into an entirely different context - His suffering and death - where it does not belong. God is not a sadist. On the contrary, God is a philanthropist. A philanthropic God acts in accordance with His nature. He does not act contrary to it. 'The tree is known by its fruit' is an aphorism that applies not just to trees but to God as well. God is not a fugitive from this truth. God is subject to the truth as are we. A philanthropic God does not recommend suffering and death to us. Only a sadistic God does. The many who misunderstand the Crucifixion paint a portrait of God that is inconsistent with His sweet yoke and light burden. It conflicts with the self-portrait that the Son of God painted for us in the Crucifixion. Therefore, it must yield to the self-portrait.

The black hole of torture and death made its appearance in the life of Jesus to open bloody wounds in His body. The bloody wounds are windows. They were opened not for us to look at them but for us to look through them. When we look through them, we see the sublime victory of the Son of God that took place on the subcutaneous layer of reality during which He crushed the head of the serpent with His heal. On the skin of reality, abysmal failure and abject and utter defeat appeared. But on the subcutaneous layer of reality, we see His glorious victory.

When a person sees a half of a glass of water, he or she can declare that it is half empty or half full. When a person sees the Crucifixion, he or she can declare, "Ouch! Look how He suffered!" or "Wow! Look how He loved!". The many who misunderstand the Crucifixion never declare, "Wow! Look how He loved!". They always declare, "Ouch! Look how He suffered!".

In the Crucifixion, the Son of God Himself presented to us the ultimate graduate school class in the management of evil. Evil, like cancer, is more managed than cured. Jesus in the Crucifixion taught us about the management of evil not its cure (John 17:15). 'What shall we do when the black hole of torture and death comes for us?' [And it will!] Jesus answered the question. The secret to managing evil is hanging in plain sight on the Cross. Therefore, when the Son of God asks us to pick up our cross and follow Him, He is asking us for something more sublime than merely to suffer and die. He is giving us His recommendation about how to manage evil when evil enters into our lives. 

The many who misunderstand the Crucifixion possess a pathological and morbid obsession with the black hole of torture and death. It occupies their entire mind to the exclusion of all else. Yet, the black hole of torture and death is only a part of the Crucifixion story. It sits in the middle of the Crucifixion story. Inputs entered the black hole of torture and death and outputs emerged. If we look just at the black hole of torture and death and not at its inputs and outputs, the Crucifixion teaches us nothing.  The Crucifixion only conveys its meaning when we observe His entrance into the black hole of torture and death, His passage through it and His exit from it, that is, when we observe the full story.  Observing only part of the Crucifixion story damages and distorts the meaning of the Crucifixion.

The evil we did to Jesus is the root of the Crucifixion story. However, it is not the branches. From the root of the Crucifixion story, three branches sprout. The three branches represent the three revelations of the Crucifixion. The first revelation arises before the apocalyptic collision between the glorious star of Bethlehem and the black hole of torture and death. The second and third revelation are the byproducts of the collision. The byproducts of the collision that we call the Crucifixion verified the knowledge of God. It authenticated it. It guaranteed it.  

In the Crucifixion, sublime beauty is juxtaposed against brutal ugliness. We supplied the brutal ugliness. The Son of God supplied the sublimebeauty. The contrast between our ugliness and His beauty highlights and emphasizes and intensifies and magnifies His beauty. The ugliness amplifies the "goldenness" of the three revelations of the Crucifixion. It accentuates them. It gives them glorious resplendence.

It is, therefore, important to have a right understanding of the role that the evil we did to Him played in the story of the Crucifixion. 

Chapter #3 (Revelation #3):   The third revelation of the Crucifixion is probably the revelation that is most familiar to us. The third revelation is a byproduct of the collision, known as the Crucifixion, between the star of Bethlehem and the black hole of torture and death. There are two byproducts of the collision. The third revelation is one of the two. In the third revelation, we learned that Jesus is God

But, how do we know? What is the source of our knowledge? What is the evidence? What is the origin of this idea? Is the basis that supports our assertion that Jesus is God strong or weak? Here it is. You decide.

We killed Him but He did not stay dead.

This is our basis for asserting that Jesus is God. His death verified His humanity. His resurrection verified His divinity. 

The mighty black hole of torture and death was not strong enough to contain Him. Nobody escapes from the black hole of torture and death. He did.

Moreover, His escape gives us confidence in His promise that we, too, shall escape (Luke 16: 20-31) - that death is not the end but the beginning (John 3: 14-17).

P.S. His death and resurrection were witnessed and well documented - better than most historical figures.

P.P.S. Moreover, anyone who attends Mass gets to meet the Resurrected Jesus for themselves in the most Holy Eucharist. The most Holy Eucharist is the throne of Jesus upon the earth and the Mass is His palace. His throne is not empty. His palace is not vacant. Catholics do not pretend. There is nothing faux about the most Holy Eucharist and the Mass.  At Mass, we celebrate Jesus's victory over the serpent. In His crucifixion, Jesus crushed the head of the serpent under His heal. The serpent, in his final attempt to extinguish God's love for us, induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the very person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for us. God, however, was uncooperative and continued to love us nonetheless.  Thus, the serpent finally realized that trying to extinguish God's love for us is futile. The open question, however, is 'Have we come to the same realization as the serpent?'. Have we come to the conclusion based on the failure of the serpent to extinguish God's love for us that Jesus's love for us is inextinguishable - that the dial that controls His love for us is in His hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place? He has our back! Our savior has our back! Because He has our back, we can afford to take risks for the faith. Because He has our back, we can afford to turn the other cheek. Because He has our back, we can afford to be kind, generous and loving to our neighbors. Being kind, generous and loving to our neighbors is the sign that we hold the belief that God has our back. If God did not have our back, none of these things would be possible. Thus, we celebrate at Mass. The Mass is the party that the most Holy Trinity throw to celebrate the victory of Jesus over the serpent. Jesus is the guest of honor. How could we celebrate His victory without Him? It would not be much of a victory party without Him. 

Chapter #2 (Revelation #2): In our rush from His death to His Resurrection we often skip chapter 2.  Skipping Chapter 2 is a mistake.  Skipping the second revelation distorts the picture of God. The second revelation is the ingredient that gives paradise its sweetness. The second revelation is the honey that draws the bees back to the hive. It is what makes our God different than other gods. It is what makes our King different than other kings. Yet, in telling the story of the Crucifixion, many still skip over it. They bypass it. They leave it out. The second revelation is a byproduct of the collision, known as the Crucifixion, between the star of Bethlehem and the black hole of torture and death. There are two byproducts of the collision. The second revelation is one of the two. In the second revelation, we learned that Jesus's love for us is indestructible. 

We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. 

If God's love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. It survived. Surviving the torture put proof into our hands that God's love for us is indestructible. The dial that controls His love for us is in His hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Wow! Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in the body of Christ but not a drop - not a drop - of His love for us. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

That He did not stop loving us is as important a fact as the fact that He did not stay dead. 

God loves us. Jealous of God's love for us, the serpent has repeatedly attempted to extinguish it. The serpent's first attempt took place at Eden. The serpent induced Adam and Eve to abdicate the gift of paradise for godlessness. Surely, the serpent reasoned, their ingratitude would extinguish God's love of us. The serpent, however, was mistaken. God was uncooperative. He continued to love us nonetheless. The serpent's final attempt to extinguish God's love of us took place at Calvary. The serpent induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this personal insult to the body of Christ would extinguish God's love of us. Again, however, the serpent was mistaken. God again refused to surrender His love of us. He continued to love us nonetheless.  

At Mass, by the way, we celebrate the failure of the serpent's final attempt to extinguish God's love of us.

The failure of the serpent at Calvary to extinguish God's love of us made the serpent realize the futility of his attempts. The questions is, 'have we also arrived at the same realization?'. Have we come to the same conclusion as the serpent by virtue of the failure of the serpent to extinguish God's love for us?

Chapter #1 (Revelation #1):  The first revelation of the Crucifixion story is unveiled as Jesus approached and submitted Himself to the black hole of torture and death. Its unveiling takes place before the collision between Good and Evil in the Crucifixion. 

A difference in status separates us from Jesus. He is at the top of the ladder; we are at the bottom. Vis-a-vis Jesus, we are mud - "miry clay" (Psalm 40:2). Yet, this difference in status did not deter Him. Our God, who fashioned us out of the mud with His hands, put Himself into the hands of the mud (Matthew 3:13-17) (Psalm 40:2). The King of the Universe voluntarily descended from the penthouse to the basement to pay a visit to the mud. Not only did He pay the mud a visit, the King of the Universe became mud to save the mud despite the depravity of the mud. The mud had abdicated paradise for godlessness. We needed help. So He dove in after us.  He could have dispatched His subordinates to save us. He could have sent His flunkies. But He did not. He did the job Himself. He did the job Himself with full knowledge of its exorbitant cost. And He paid the cost entirely from His own pocket. He did not pass the hat among us to help defray the cost. He paid 100% of the cost. Moreover, He did not pay the cost from His limitless divine resources. He paid the exorbitant cost from His limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for Himself. He has never paid more for anything else. Paying the exorbitant cost Himself from His own pocket in the coin of suffering was the only way to give us a guarantee of the veracity of the three golden messages. No payment; no guarantee. Without payment, the three golden messages would be untethered to any proof of genuineness. With payment, proof of their genuineness was put into our hands. The yeast of divinity came to leaven the mud of humanity. The exorbitant cost of doing do did not deter Him. So He paid us a visit not above us as God but as one of us - on the same level as us - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. They say He pitched His tent among us. The first golden message of the Crucifixion is that Jesus is humble and brave. The exorbitant cost of the Crucifixion did not daunt Him. [Note: Humble omnipotence - a fact and not an oxymoron.]

 

Conclusion:   To tell the story of the Crucifixion, one introduction and three chapters are needed. An introduction is needed to describe the root of the Crucifixion story. And three chapters are needed to describe its three golden branches. The three golden branches represent the three messages that the Son of God intended to convey to us by undertaking the Crucifixion. Rest your head on the pillow of the Crucifixion to sleep the sleep of the angels. On the Crucifixion, build your understanding of the nature of God. 

 
The Mass is a repeater. It takes the signals that originated in the collision between Good and Evil at Calvary in the Crucifixion and propagates them to us here and now in the present.
 
At Bethlehem, God delivered to us a love note. “We love you”, God told us. The love note was not an ordinary love note. It was unique. It lived and breathed. The love note took flesh at Bethlehem. At Calvary, God delivered to us a guarantee that the love note was genuine. If the love note were counterfeit, God’s love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival gave us an ironclad guarantee that the love note is genuine. The love note and the guarantee of its genuineness are two separate and distinct gifts from God.
 
We tortured Him but he did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead. These are the two glorious rays of light that escaped the black hole of Jesus’s death. They convey two messages to us. 1) What message does, ‘we tortured Him but He did not stop loving us’ tell us? Jesus’s love for us is indestructible. The dial that controls His love for us is in His hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. 2) What message does, ‘we killed Him but He did not stay dead’ tell us? Jesus is God.
 
That God was willing to do the Crucifixion for us tells us in no uncertain terms that there is nothing God won’t do for us. When Adam and Eve descended from bliss into bitterness, we needed help. So God dove in after us. He could have dispatched His subordinates to rescue us. He could have sent His flunkies. But He did not. He did the job Himself. God has our back. Because God has our back, we can afford to take risks for the faith. Because God has our back, we can afford to turn the other cheek. Because God has our back, we can afford to be kind, generous and loving to our neighbors. Being kind, generous and loving to our neighbors is the sign that we believe that God has our back. If God did not have our back, none of these things would be possible.
 
At Eden, the serpent made his first attempt to extinguish God’s love for us. He induced Adam and Eve to abdicate the gift of paradise for godlessness. Surely, the serpent reasoned, the ingratitude of Adam and Eve would extinguish God’s love for them. God, however, was uncooperative and continued to love us nonetheless. At Calvary, the serpent made his final attempt to extinguish God’s love for us. He induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest. Surely, the serpent reasoned, the insult to the person of the Son of God would extinguish God’s love for us. God, however, was uncooperative and continued to love us nonetheless. Thus, the serpent realized that trying to extinguish God’s love for us is futile. The open question, however, is ‘Have we come to the same realization as the serpent?’.
 
 
 
 

 

Who is Jesus? Can you answer the question? What can you tell us about Him? The definitive answer is found in the Crucifixion. Not only did He give us the definitive answer in the Crucifixion, He gave us a guarantee of the veracity of the answer. The guarantee is as important as the answer especially to minds that tend to doubt. Jesus poured more and better theology into the Crucifixion than He poured into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live. The Crucifixion is autodidactic. It teaches itself. The Crucifixion is the source of infallible knowledge about Jesus.   Whoever builds his understanding of Jesus upon the Crucifixion has built upon a foundation of solid rock. Their understanding will never be disturbed.  

 
 
Let me introduce myself to you. See for yourself who I am. I who fashioned you from the mud of the earth with my hands put myself into the hands of the mud. Torture me and I shall not stop loving you. Kill me and I shall not stay dead. You can neither kill me nor kill my love for you. The indestructibility of myself and my love for you identifies who I am. Who am I? I am your lover and I am your God.
On the canvas of the Crucifixion, we collaborated with Jesus to paint the portrait of God. It was a triptych. In the first panel, He submitted Himself to us and we tortured and killed Him. In the second panel, He did not stop loving us. In the third panel, He did not stay dead.
He submitted Himself to us (humility). We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us (indestructible love). We killed Him but He did not stay dead (omnipotence). The house of Christianity is built on the foundation of these facts.
He submitted Himself to us. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead. If we lost the entire Bible - if we lost the entire Church - but we still had this fragment of history, it would be enough. From this fragment of history, everything else could be deduced. From a drop of water reasonable minds can deduce the existence of an ocean. From this fragment of history we can deduce the existence of a humble God who dearly loves us.
The three elements of the Crucifixion are 1) He submitted Himself to us and we tortured and killed Him, 2) He did not stop loving us and 3) He did not stay dead. If the humility of Jesus were counterfeit, He would not have submitted Himself to us. But He did. If Jesus’s obdurate love of us were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. It survived. If Jesus’s omnipotence were counterfeit, He would have stayed dead. But He did not. He is risen. In humility, God submitted Himself to His creatures; His love for us survived and He is risen.
Jesus submitted to the evil baptism into which we immersed Him (Matthew 3:13-17). His submission to us - God to His creatures - told us a little about Him. Our God is humble. However, what emerged from the evil baptism told us a lot more. He did not stop loving us. He did not stay dead. Humble. Our lover. Our God.
In our rush to go from His death to His Resurrection, we overlook an event in the life of Jesus that has as much significance to us as His submission to us and to His Resurrection. What is this most remarkable but overlooked event? We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. He clung to His love of us, held tight and did not let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man who clings to a life preserver in the stormy sea after his ship has sunk.
He was the Son of Man and the Son of God. His death verified His humanity. His Resurrection verified His divinity. These were constants. These are what we expect of God and of Man. No surprises here. But there was one variable that could have gone either way. What did Jesus think of us? Our torturing and our killing of the Son of God could have extinguished his love for us. The evil baptism into which we immersed Him could have alienated His affection for the human race. Grinding Him through the millstones like a grain of wheat could have antagonize Him. Hanging Him from a tree like a piñata and beating Him to a bloody pulp with sticks could, at the very least, have pissed him off. But God’s ways are not our ways; God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Surprisingly, none of these effects took place. He did not stop loving us. Surprisingly, He continued to love us nonetheless. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in His body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. On this cataract of blood, His very life itself exited His body. But not a drop - not a drop - of His love for us spilled. As we tortured and killed Him, His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. The Crucifixion showed us that the dial that regulates His love for us is in His hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place.
The serpent, jealous of God’s love for us, plotted to extinguish it. At Eden, the serpent induced us to abdicate paradise for godlessness. Surely, the serpent reasoned, such ingratitude would extinguish God’s love for us. However, the Son of God was uncooperative. He refused to relinquish His love for us. This was the serpent’s first attempt to extinguish God’s love for us.
The serpent, jealous of God’s love for us, plotted to extinguish it. At Calvary, the serpent induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest. Surely, the serpent reasoned, such an insult to the person of the Son of God would extinguish God’s love for us. However, the Son of God was uncooperative. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead. The serpent realized that trying to extinguish God’s love for us was futile. It was impossible to pry God’s love for us from His hands even when it is the objects of His love doing the prying. He holds onto His love for us with the iron grip of the drowning man who clings to a life preserver in the stormy seas after his ship has sunk. Although the serpent realized that trying to extinguish God’s love for us was futile, many of us have not come to the same realization. We doubt. That is why God gave us the gift of a self-portrait. The Son of God started painting it at Calvary and finished painting it at His Resurrection. In words, the self-portrait can be described as follows: We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead. We are loved and our lover is our God.
Two flames one match lit.
One match - two flames. The story of the Crucifixion is the story of one match that lit two flames. The match was the evil baptism into which we immersed Him at Calvary. One of the flames was the Resurrection. The other flame was His obstinate love for us. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead. Obstinate love for us and omnipotence are the two characteristics of our God.
A cruel experiment was conducted when the Son of God paid us a visit for approximately thirty-three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. We put Love into a petri dish filled with torturers and killers. No one expected that Love would survive in such a hostile environment. But He did. The torturers and killers were unable to extinguish Love. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead. This is the good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.
Take a hundred dollar bill and rip it in half. Doing this does not double its value. It makes the hundred dollar bill worthless. Contemplating the crucifixion of Jesus without contemplating the two miracles that arose from the evil baptism into which we immersed Him is akin to ripping a hundred dollar bill in half. Each miracle revealed only half the picture of God. Only by contemplating the two miracles together do we get the full picture of God. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead.
The suffering we inflicted on Him played a well-defined role in the Crucifixion. He passed through it and, at its end, surprises emerged from it. He did not stop loving us. He did not stay dead. These are the two surprises that emerged from the evil baptism into which we immersed Him. Ordinarily, they would not have emerged. But He was no ordinary man. His passage through suffering exposed His extraordinariness to us.
Suffering was the guarantee of the genuineness of the two messages of the Crucifixion. No suffering; no guarantee. God wrote the two messages of the Crucifixion in the ink of suffering. The two messages are more important than the ink. Yet, the ink confirmed the genuineness of the two messages. Suffering is a special kind of ink. Ordinarily, it extinguishes that which passes through it. However, that which emerges from it, is verified by it.
I know a guy. Yes, I know a guy. He is infinitely wealthy and infinitely powerful. And, He loves me dearly. He loves me like a son. What, me worry?
I can answer the question ‘Who is God?’. Can you? Moreover, I can tell you the source of my knowledge. God introduced Himself to me in the Crucifixion. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us (obdurate love) We killed him but He did not stay dead (omnipotence). From these facts, I conclude that the Son of God is my omnipotent lover. Wow! Whom or what do I have to fear? I have an omnipotent lover. He has my back. I can take chances. I can take risks. My omnipotent lover has my back!
Faith is the confidence that we have an omnipotent lover and our omnipotent lover has our back. The Crucifixion is the source of our confidence. Moreover, faith changes behavior.
Darkness hid the nature of God from us. A light was needed to illuminate the darkness so the children of Adam and Eve could see the nature of God for themselves. He became the candle whose light illuminates the darkness. However, the candle is consumed in the process of illuminating the darkness. Hence, the candle pays an exorbitant price for the light. He paid the exorbitant price of salvation not from His limitless divine resources but from His limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for Himself. He has never paid more for anything else! The exorbitant price that needed to be paid to rescue us from godlessness did not deter Him.
Suffering is the only universal language that survived the confusion of languages that took place at Babel. All creatures who suffer understand it. The language of suffering is simple. Here is how it works. Nobody dives head first into a baptism of suffering, or, for that matter, dips even a toe into it unless he is crazy or the benefit of suffering outweighs the cost. We are creatures who suffer. Suffering is our native tongue. The Son of God became, like us, a creature who suffers so He could communicate the nature of God to us in our native tongue. The Son of God did not want there to be any ambiguity - any misunderstandings.
In the Ten Commandments, God included a prohibition against making representations of them. Why? God knew that the fidelity of any representations made by human hands would be low. They would be distortions of God. Moreover, God knew that they would give us the definitive representation of God in the Crucifixion. All other representations of God must yield to the representation that God themselves gave us.
At Bethlehem, a love note was delivered unto us. It was no ordinary love note. It was alive. The love note lived and breathed. At Calvary, a guarantee that the love note was genuine was delivered unto us. If the love note were counterfeit, God’s love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. It survived the evil baptism into which we immersed Him. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but He did not stay dead. These facts guarantee that the Love Note is genuine.
The Son of God let us impale Him, like live bait, on the sharp hook of salvation and cast Himself into the cesspools of sin to fish for the children of Adam and Eve. The members of the Society of the Hook, Line and Sinker have taken the bait. Reel us in, Lord. Reel us in.
— Matthew 4:19

The biggest problem facing the Church today is its leaky roof. Unless we fix the leak in the roof, the entire edifice of the Church will crumble. In fact, it is crumbling as we speak. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass and none are going to confession. Why is this happening? It is happening because the Church has allowed the illusion that God is a stranger to take hold of our minds. When God becomes a stranger to us, there is no reason to spend time with him at Mass or in Confession. When God becomes a stranger to us, there is no reason to consult with Him or to converse with Him or to get His advice through prayer. As always, however, reality shatters illusion. The reality that shatters this illusion is the Crucifixion. The two miracles that emerged from His Crucifixion at Calvary prove that God is not a stranger. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. We killed Him but he did not stay dead. God is not a stranger but our omnipotent lover. A stranger is unwilling to lay down his life for the sheep. An omnipotent lover, on the other hand, ... (John 10:11-14). The building material needed to fix the leaky roof is found in the story of the Crucifixion. In the Crucifixion, God revealed themselves as our omnipotent lover. What more do we need? Hence, the first priority of the Church is theology in the strictest, most narrow, sense of the word. Everything else - the sacraments, applied Christianity, the official rules and regulations of the Church, sin, morality, the standards of behavior that the Church claims optimizes our behavior here on earth - is a lower priority until we can answer the questions, 'Who is God?' and 'How do we know it?'. Nothing else matters until our heads are filled with knowledge of God. Unless and until we realize that God is our omnipotent lover, we cannot be transformed. Once we realize that God is our omnipotent lover, all of the other stuff falls into place.


Why are you involved in this? What is your interest? Why don't you just sit back and shut up? Why don't you leave the pontificating to the professional pontificators? In my exploration of the mystery, majesty and magnificance of God, I stumbled upon a "law of physics" that spans both universes. It applies to the world of paradise and to the world of godlessness. This "law of physics" describes a fundamental truth about the both worlds in the same manner as E=MC 2 . It can be summarized in these terms: "more carrot; less stick." It arises from the fact that God is not a sadist - that God is a philanthropist. It is based on the fact that God created a current of salvation to carry us away from the sourness of godlessness and back to our home in the sweetness of paradise. Two great engines generate the current of salvation: 1) the sweetness of paradise pulls us into paradise and 2) the sourness of godlessness pushes us out of godlessness. The "law of physics" over which I stumbled states that the more we submit to the pull of the sweetness of paradise the less the sourness of godlessness is needed. Hence, "more carrot; less stick." I want to protect my spouse, my children, my loved ones and any rational person with ears to hear from "the stick". Selfishness drives me to speak up. The invisible hand of self-interest opens my mouth. Hitch your wagon to the sweetness of paradise to avoid the sourness of godlessness. Please, put my hypothesis to the test.


 

WHO IS GOD?

What can be said about God? Moreover, what is the basis that points to the truth of the statements? These are the questions that this website seeks to ask and answer. In fact, these are the only questions in which this website is interested. This website is not interested in discussing the Church. This website is not interested in discussing the official rules and regulations of the Church. This website is not interested in discussing the penal code of the Church, that is, its system of classification of human behavior into the categories of not sin, venial sin and mortal sin. This website is not interested in discussing the standards of conduct that the Church claims optimizes our lives here on earth, that is, morality. This website is only concerned with a conversation about God. We are only interested in theology in the strictest, most narrow, sense of the word. Why? Because no one else is.

There are many scandals in the Church but none worse than its failure to share its knowledge of God with the children of Adam and Eve. For more than two thousand years, the Church has explored the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. During the exploration, the Church has accumulated a vast treasure chest of knowledge about God. Its experience has given it great confidence in its understanding of the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. Yet, in the present age, it has neglected to upload any of its knowledge of God into "the conversation" in which the various aspects of Christianity are discussed. 

The conversation that takes place about Christianity has become filled with the little aspects of Christianity. The little aspects have displaced the big aspects. The Church, the official rules and regulations of the Church, the Penal Code of the Church, the standards of conduct that the Church claims optimizes our lives here on earth have become the exclusive topics of the conversation. They have elbowed God out of the conversation. More than two thousand years ago, there was no room for God at the inn. Now, there is no room for God in the conversation. 

God is not dead. Indeed, God is very much alive. However, the conversation about God is dead. Killing the conversation about God is tantamount to killing God. The enemies of the Church understand this. The Church does not.

As a result of the omission of God from the conversation, we no longer know our God. Our God has become a stranger to us. And, nobody follows a stranger. This point is so important that it bears repeating. God has become a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger. When God is a stranger to us, is it any wonder that fewer and fewer are going to Mass and none are going to Confession? When God is a stranger to us, there is no reason to pay them visits at the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise. When God is a stranger to us, there is no reason to include them in our lives. When God is a stranger to us, we do not worship them.  When God is a stranger to us, the Church is pointless.

The debacle of our parents, Adam and Eve, shaped our attitude to the stranger. Their encounter with the first predator triggered the evolution of a defense mechanism within us. The encounter was a catalyst. We adapted. The defense mechanism includes the presumption that the stranger is the enemy. The presumption protects us from giving the stranger undeserved credibility. It prevents us from being duped by the serpent again. When God becomes a stranger to us, our defense mechanism kicks in, identifies God as the enemy and causes us to treat God accordingly even though God's status as our enemy is far from the truth. When we get to know God, we begin to understand that God is not our enemy but our friend - a dear, faithful, solicitous friend - a father who wants to bestow on us every good thing. Therefore, it is very important that we get to know God.

The first priority of the Church, therefore, is to fill our heads with knowledge of God. It is not to fill our heads with knowledge of the Church. The Church is useless unless we have knowledge of God. It is not to fill our heads with knowledge of the sacraments. The sacraments are meaningless without knowledge of God.  It is not to fill our heads with the official rules and regulations of the Church. It is not to fill our heads with the Penal Code of the Church. It is not to fill our heads with the standards of behavior that the Church claims optimizes our lives here on earth. The first priority is to fill our heads with knowledge of God.  All of these other projects belong in the subsequent rounds of the new evangelization - not to the first round. The first round of the new evangelization must be reserved for the project of shattering the illusion that God is a stranger. Reality shatters illusion. The truth sets us free. The reality that shatters this illusion - the truth that sets us free from it - is knowledge of the approximately thirty-three year visit that the Son of God paid to us at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. Until a clear, high fidelity picture of God is resurrected inside our heads, nothing else matters. Moreover, when this is accomplished, everything else falls into place.

How do we do this? To do this, we must return God to the conversation that takes place within Christianity. We resurrect the conversation about God by asking ourselves,

  • 'What is the picture of God that we hold in our heads?' Can we articulate it? 
  • On what is our picture based?
  • Is it an accurate, high fidelity picture of God?
  • Or is it an inaccurate, low fidelity picture of God?
  • Is it clear or blurry?

 
 

Spilling the Beans

The Details of God's plan to Rescue Us from Godlessness Revealed!

Extra! Extra!

Read all about it!

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
— Matthew 11:25-30

The Gift of God's Love for Us

God has given their love to us. God places no limitations on the gift of their love of us. God attaches no strings to it. No quid pro quo is expected of us. It is not a loan that we must pay back with interest. It is not one side of a bargain for which God expects good and valuable consideration in return. There is no fine print. There are no qualifications, conditions or exceptions. It is a gift. It is a gift from God to us.  A gift is free. We do nothing to earn it. That God's love for us is a gift and not something else is a reflection of the perfect generosity of God.

  • The proper response to a gift is gratitude.
  • A thank you may be appropriate.

The Serpent was Jealous of God's Love For Us

The serpent became jealous of God's love for us. God made a monumental error of judgment in giving us the gift of their love, the serpent thought. We are not worthy of it. We do not deserve to be beneficiaries of it.

  • The serpent is not wrong about our unworthiness.
  • God is free to give gifts to whomever - the worthy and the unworthy.
  • God is a philanthropist. God is not a sadist.

The Serpent Plotted To Extinguish God's Love For Us

The serpent plotted to extinguish God's love for us. The serpent's desire to extinguish God's love for us drives the plot. The methodology of the serpent is to induce us to do something that would piss God off - that would antagonize God - that would cause God to relinquish His love for us. The methodology of God, however, is to be uncooperative - to not get pissed off - to not be antagonized - to cling to their love for us, hold on tight and not let go. 

The Serpent's First Assault on God's Love for Us took place at Eden and Failed.

The serpent's first assault on God's love for us took place at Eden. The serpent conjured up an illusion to induce them to abdicate the gift of paradise for godlessness. The illusion was that a life lived as gods in godlessness was superior to a life lived with God in paradise. Adam and Eve, however, had absolutely no experience in godlessness. Their only experience was in paradise. Thus, they knew nothing about godlessness. God had given Adam and Eve the gift of existence and the gift of paradise simultaneously. There was no delay between the two gifts. In retrospect, we fault them for being gullible. However, without any experience in godlessness, the serpent's illusion was plausible to them. Moreover, this was their first encounter with a predator. Therefore, a defense mechanism had not yet evolved within them to guard them against predators. In addition, during their encounter with the serpent, the "good shepherd" was AWOL. Only the word of God was left with them. The word of God, however, was not enough. They needed more. Newly minted humanity versus a fallen angel - it was no contest. They were doomed to fail. Their failure was preordained. They had no chance. The odds in favor of failure were stacked against them. Hence, they fell for the illusion. They traded paradise for godlessness. Surely, the serpent reasoned, their ingratitude would extinguish God's love for them. But, it did not. God's love for them survived. The serpent's foul plot failed because God refused to relinquish their love for us. God clung to their love for us, held tight and refused to let go.

  • The story of Adam and Eve is viewed by many as a child’s fairy tale with little or no relevance to us today. Its lesson is judged too simple and, hence, too well-understood, to deserve any further serious contemplation. It is taken for granted. Few sermons are preached about it. Yet, the story of Adam and Eve informs us about the origin of our predicament in godlessness and sets the stage for our rescue therefrom. It explains the dynamic that drives us through our existence. It gives us the context into which we fit. In other words, it is ripe with existential wisdom.

  • The debacle of Adam and Eve demonstrated that our faculty of obedience is broken. It is busted. Perhaps, it never existed in the first place. We think for ourselves. We are reluctant to let others think for us. We place a high value on the freedom to think for ourselves and to come to our own conclusions.

    • God exploits this preference to think for ourselves and to come to our own conclusions in God's rescue plan. God feeds us the truth about godlessness and paradise so we have a proper basis for coming to our own conclusions. This is why God said the truth shall set us free.

The Problem and the Solution

The debacle of Adam and Eve illustrated the problem and suggested a solution. The solution suggested is being applied now to the children of Adam and Eve. 

What was the problem?

When Adam and Eve disobeyed the word of God, they, ipso facto, abdicated paradise for godlessness. This was done after the gift of paradise had already been delivered to them.  They had paradise in hand but gave it up. The chain of events started with disobedience and ended with abdication. 

Which do you think was more important to God? Having us obey? Or having us stay in paradise and out of godlessness? 

Let me ask this in a different way.

Which was the original sin? Was our disobedience the original sin? Or was abdicating paradise for godlessness after the gift of paradise had already been delivered to them the original sin? How about the entire chain of events?

God did not issue the command to Adam and Eve to avoid the tree because God wanted to test whether or not their faculty of obedience was functioning. God wasn't playing games with Adam and Eve. God issued the command to them because God did not want them to abdicate paradise for godlessness. God issued the command in an attempt to protect their welfare. Obedience is only important to God because obedience protects our welfare. Protecting our welfare is God's primary goal.

Abdicating paradise for godlessness is what did Adam and Eve and us real injury. Godlessness sucks. Obedience would have prevented the abdication. However, the debacle of Adam and Eve demonstrated that our faculty of obedience is broken (See below).

God does not want us to repeat the mistake of Adam and Eve. God has taken steps to make sure there is no repetition. When God delivers to us the gift of paradise, God wants us to keep it. This is the problem for which God devised a solution. 

God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as they delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than they were with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.

Note: Our need for more than the word of God was the reason that, when the Son of God paid us a visit, God delivered to us not just the word of God which was a love note but also a guarantee that the love note was genuine.

The Serpent failed but the Children of Adam and Eve wound up Homeless in Godlessness 

When Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise like foolish children, they took us with them into godlessness. Godlessness sucks. In godlessness, we are like fish out of water. In godlessness, we are the tree emancipated from the "bondage" of the soil.

  • "Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree."--Rabindranath Tagor

The children of Adam and Eve are the civilian casualties in the serpent's war to extinguish God's love for us. 

God formed a Plan to Rescue Us From Godlessness

God formed a plan to rescue the children of Adam and Eve from godlessness. God's rescue plan consisted of a handful of distinct elements. The biggest role in God's plan to rescue us from godlessness was given to the dearly beloved Son of God. However, He was not the only element of the rescue plan.

The Goal of the Rescue Plan is Twofold: 1) Getting us home to paradise and 2) Keeping us there

The goal of God's plan to rescue us from godlessness is twofold: 1) to get us back to our home in paradise and 2) to keep us there. Keeping us there is more difficult to achieve than getting us there. Recall that Adam and Eve abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to them as did a gaggle of angels led by Lucifer. They had paradise in hand yet they gave it up. They were duped by the illusion that there is something better out there than a life lived with God in paradise. This is simply not true. 

God will not Force Us to Come Back to our Home in Paradise against our Wills Kicking and Screaming like Recalcitrant Children

Absent from God's rescue plan was the option of forcibly dragging us back from godlessness to our home in paradise against our wills kicking a screaming like recalcitrant children

  • By dint of omnipotence, God could drag us back home if God wanted to. 
  • God rejected this option because God wants us to stay in paradise without having to turn paradise into a prison, themselves into a warden and us into prisoners.

The Debacle of Adam and Eve revealed that Our Faculty of Obedience is Broken So, to Rescue us, God Bypassed It

Furthermore, God knew that our faculty of obedience was broken.  The debacle of Adam and Eve demonstrated that it did not work. Therefore, God bypassed it. God would get us back to our home in paradise and keep us there without first fixing our faculty of obedience. God did not need us to have a functioning faculty of obedience to accomplish their purpose. There was another way.

  • Any plan dependent on our obedience is flawed.
  • Obedience is the weak link.
  • If you were God, do you design a plan whose success depends on our obedience or do you design a plan that bypasses the flaw?

To Rescue us, God feeds the Truth to our Faculty of Rationality

Our rescue from godlessness does not depend on fixing our faculty of obedience. There is a work-a-round. Moreover, the work-a-round is foolproof. It reduces the likelihood that the children of Adam and Eve would repeat the mistake of their parents to near zero. We will not abdicate paradise for godlessness after the gift of paradise is delivered to us. No way; No how.

To rescue us, God fixed it so we would persuade ourselves to come back to our home in paradise and to stay there.

God would work through our faculty of rationality instead of working through our faculty of obedience, which is unreliable, defective, flawed, busted and broken. 

God holds the opinion that rational people, when fed the truth, act in their self-interest in accordance with it. God ought to know because God designed us, right? The serpent fed us an illusion that led us astray. The illusion is the phony coin fed to the parking meter. The parking meter thinks it is the real McCoy. God holds the opinion that the truth shall set us free. Therefore, God plans to feed our rationality the truth. Reality shatters the illusion. The illusion loses all of its power over us when we experience reality for ourselves.

God plans to feed us the truth about godlessness and the truth about paradise. These are the two big parts of God's rescue plan.  God's rescue plan has many elements but only two big parts. The two big parts consist of feeding us the truth about godlessness and feeding us the truth about paradise. Knowing the truth will lead our rationality to move us in the right direction - a direction that is in accord with our self-interest.

The Escape Route

One of the elements of God's rescue plan was the establishment of an escape route. To rescue us, God created an escape route, defined it with holy places, made a map of them and entrusted the map to the Church.

  • As explained below, the escape route is our savior, Jesus Christ. He is the way, etc. He is the bridge between the world of godlessness and the world of paradise. Through the bloody wounds we opened in His body, the new exodus led by the new Moses makes its escape.

The New Moses

The Church is the new Moses.

  • The job of the Church is to help the children of Adam and Eve make their escape from godlessness to paradise.
  • The job of the Church is to be grease for the wheels of the escape.
  • The job of the Church is to clear obstacles out of the way of the escape not to put obstacles in its way.

The New Exodus

The new Moses serves / leads the new exodus that is making its escape through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land. The movement of the new exodus forms the needle of the compass that always points to God. Only by making our escape from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. The escape from godlessness to God is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. A friend of the escape is one who facilitates it. An enemy of the escape is one who filters it.

The Engines that Generate the Current of Salvation

At either end of the escape route God established two great engines. The two great engines generate the current of salvation. The current of salvation sweeps up and carries the children of Adam and Eve from godlessness to God.

The Sourness of Godlessness

At the godlessness end of the escape route God established an engine of truth. In generating the current of salvation, it pushes the children of Adam and Eve to the exits of godlessness. The serpent induced Adam and Eve to abdicate paradise for godlessness with the lie that a life lived as gods in godlessness would be superior to a life lived with God in paradise. The lie conjured up an illusion that conflicted with the reality of godlessness. Godlessness sucks. In godlessness, we are fish out of water. Reality shattered this illusion. God lets us stew in godlessness for a lifetime so we can experience the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. The experience of the sourness of godlessness is harsh but effective medicine. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither will the children of Adam and Eve. Rational people do not abdicate paradise for godlessness who have experienced the sourness of godlessness for themselves. 

Why is it important to God that we experience the sourness of godlessness for ourselves? The experience stops us from abdicating paradise for godlessness after the gift of paradise is delivered to us. The reality of godlessness shatters the illusion conjured up by the serpent. The illusion no longer has power over us. This is important because God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as they delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than they were with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.  

  • The gift of existence and the gift of paradise were given to Adam and Eve simultaneously.
  • The gift of existence and the gift of paradise are given to the children of Adam and Eve sequentially.
  • Between the gift of existence and the gift of paradise, God inserted a delay.
  • The delay gives us the opportunity to experience the sourness of godlessness for ourselves.
  • Harsh but effective medicine is the answer to the problem of evil.
  • The medicine is harsh but not cruel. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. Life is a infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. The medicine would only be cruel if God made us stay in godlessness longer than a lifetime.

The Sweetness of Paradise

At the paradise end of the escape route God established another engine of truth. In generating the current of salvation, it pulls the children of Adam and Eve to the entrances of paradise. This engine works by revealing to the children of Adam and Eve the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that draws the bees back to the hive.

  • God is a belt and suspenders type of rescuer. God does not put all their eggs in one basket.
  • God uses two engines not one to generate the current of salvation that pushes and pulls the children of Adam and Eve over the escape route from godlessness to paradise.
  • Godlessness is our world. We experience it for ourselves. There is no need to reveal it to us.
  • Paradise is not our world. We do not experience it for ourselves. For us to know it, it must be revealed to us.
  • Adam and Eve knew paradise but had no experience with godlessness. That is why they were vulnerable to the illusion conjured up by the serpent.
  • The polarity is reversed with the children of Adam and Eve. We know godlessness but have no experience with paradise.

The sweetness of paradise is God's love for us.

In establishing the engine that generates the current of salvation on the paradise side of the escape route, God asked themselves, "How do we convince them that we love them?" The answer was extraordinary. "We pay them a visit as one of them; we let them torture and kill us; we rise from the dead; and we continue to love them nonetheless. If this does not convince them that their God loves them nothing will.

  • At Bethlehem, God delivered a love note to us. It was no ordinary love note. It was alive. It lived and breathed.
  • At Calvary, God delivered to us a guarantee that the love note was genuine. If the love note were counterfeit, God's love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. By surviving, it guaranteed that the love note was genuine.

The Visit of the Son of God was Predicted

It was predicted that God would pay the children of Adam and Eve a visit.

The serpent was aware of the predication so he waited and watched for the visit.

The Son of God Paid us a Visit

The Son of God paid us a visit for about thirty-three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. This brief visit was an inflection point in human history. It changed the trajectory of human history.

At Bethlehem, God delivered to us a Love Note

At Bethlehem, God delivered to us a love note. It was no ordinary love note. It was alive. The love note lived and breathed.

At Eden, the serpent drove a wedge between God and Man. The love note showed us our potential - how to excise the serpent's wedge. The union between God and Man was perfected in the love note. The love note showed us our potential. 

The Serpent's Final Assault on God's Love for Us took place at Calvary and Failed.

When the time of the visit arrived, the serpent launched his final assault against God's love for us at Calvary. The serpent induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for them. But, it did not. God's love for them survived. The serpent's foul plot failed because God refused to relinquish their love for us. God clung to His love for us, held tight and refused to let go.

  • The successful execution of God's plan to reveal the sweetness of paradise gives us the definitive representation of the nature of God. All other representations must yield to this representation. The self-portrait trumps all portraits painted by human hands.
    • In the Ten Commandments, God included an injunction against making representations of them. Why? God knew that any representation of them made by human hands would be inferior to the representation that God would give us of themselves at Calvary.
  • That God was willing to let us torture and kill Him while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest tells us in no uncertain terms that there is nothing that God won't do for us.
  • At and around the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, God had executed their plan. On the canvas of Calvary in the pigments of pain and suffering, the brush of truth in his own hand painted the definitive picture of the nature of God. The self-portrait disclosed that God's love for us is inextinguishable.

At Calvary, God delivered to Us a Guarantee that the Love Note was Genuine

At Calvary, God delivered to us a guarantee that the Love Note delivered to us at Calvary was genuine. If the love note were counterfeit, God's love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. God's love for us survived. Its survival is the guarantee that the Love Note is genuine. The most Holy Trinity gave the Son of God a role to play in their plan to rescue us from godlessness. His role was to reveal the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise is God's love for us. How do we convince the children of Adam and Eve that we love them? Our plan is not complicated. We pay them a visit as one of them. We let them torture and kill us. We rise from the dead. And We continue to love them nonetheless. If this does not convince them that their God loves them, nothing can. The Son of God successfully executed His part of God's plan to rescue us. He revealed the sweetness of paradise. The revelation is the good news of great joy. He did it! By God, the Son of God did it!

  • The debacle of Adam and Eve taught God that we would not take God at their word. Therefore, God gave us more than their word. They gave us the Word of God at Bethlehem. But at Calvary, they gave us a guarantee of their word. 
  • God made two points at Calvary: 1) We are loved dearly and 2) our lover is none other than God themselves. The role of the Son of God in God's plan was 1) to pay us a visit as one of us, 2) to let us torture and kill Him, 3) to rise from the dead and 4) to continue to love us nonetheless. Letting us torture and kill Him and then rising from the dead is irrefutable proof that He was God. Paying us a visit as one of us and continuing to love us despite the evil baptism into which we immersed Him is irrefutable proof that He loves us dearly.
  • The scientists put love into a petri dish filled with torturers and killers. No one expected that love would survive in such a hostile environment. But it did. Why did love survive? It survived because the Son of God clung to His love for us, held tight and refused to let go.  His refusal is the victory of the Son of God. It is the good news of great joy.

The Serpent Despaired

The serpent despaired. Again God refused to surrender His love for us

The Potential Difference

The sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise created a potential difference between the world of godlessness and the world of paradise. All that was needed to get the current of salvation to flow from godlessness to paradise was a conductor between the two worlds. The most Holy Trinity gave us a conductor. The conductor is the dearly beloved Son of God. He is the bridge between the world of paradise and the world of godlessness. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the way, etc. Through his bloody wounds, the new exodus led by the new Moses, the Church, makes its escape through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land.

  • The Son of God is the escape route. 

RSVPing to the Invitation

The Kingdom of God is at hand. All you need do is reach out and grab it.

God expanded the scope of the invitation to come back to our home in paradise beyond the Jews when the Son of God paid us a visit for approximately thirty- three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. All of the children of Adam and Eve not just a segment of them are invited to come home.

Jesus is the invitation.

The invitation is now in our hands. By putting the invitation to come home into our hands, the burden shifts from God to us. The ball is now in our court. On the spot, we are put. We now must decide. We can 1) accept the invitation, 2) ignore it or 3) reject it.  We no longer have the defense of ignorance - that we did not know we were invited home to paradise.

There is no difference between ignoring the invitation and rejecting it. Pretending the invitation has not been delivered to us is tantamount to rejection.

Only acceptance is salvific.

The gift of paradise is being offered to you. However, it will not be forced down your throat against your will. You must voluntarily accept the gift.

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make Him drink.

Because we are mortal, however, our time is running out. We have a lifetime to decide (Matthew 20:1-16) whether or not to accept the invitation but the clock is ticking (Matthew 25 :1-13). We do not know the hour or the day (Matthew 24:36). God's invitation must be accepted before it is too late.

The train to paradise is about to leave the station. Don’t get left behind. Catch it. Fair warning.

 

How do we accept the invitation? The invitation is accepted when we repent and seek God. By joining the new exodus that its making its escape from slavery under the yoke of pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land, we accept the invitation.

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The Rule of Survival

Our survival is governed solely by a simple but fundamental principle. Humanity in every place and in every age and of every religion is subject to its command. No exceptions. Only by including God in our lives do we live and only by excluding God from our lives do we die. To include God in our lives in the hereafter, we must include God in our lives now! By excluding God from our lives now, we exclude God from our lives in the hereafter. Take an interest in God and God will take an interest in you. Include God in your life and God will include you in theirs. Ignore your God and your God will ignore you. Absent yourselves from the holy places and the holy places will absent themselves from you. 

The Mass: Celebrating the Triumph of the Son of God

The Son of God successfully executed His part in God's plan to rescue us from godlessness. He paid us a visit as one of us. He let us torture and kill Him. He rose from the dead. And He continued to love us nonetheless. The successful execution of His part in God's plan proved two (2) things:

  1. He was God. He did not stay dead. He would not have risen from the dead if He were not God.  
  2. God loves us dearly. The evil we did to Him did not extinguish His love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. His love for us would not have survived the evil baptism into which we immersed Him if He did not love us dearly - if His love for us was not greater than the evil we did to Him. At Bethlehem, we received the love note. It was no ordinary love note. It was alive. The love note lived and breathed. At Calvary, we received the guarantee that the love note was genuine. If the love note were counterfeit, God's love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. It survived. The survival of God's love for us is the guarantee that the love note is genuine.
  • The serpent put love into a petri dish filled with torturers and killers. No one expected that love would survive in such a hostile environment. But it did. Its survival is the good news of great joy.

The successful execution of the Son of God's part in God's plan to rescue us from godlessness is the good news of great joy. By successfully executing His part in God's plan, the Son of God revealed to us the sweetness of paradise. In an apocalypse, the honey that draws the bees back to their home in the hive was revealed to us. A veil separated the Holy of Holies from the children of Adam and Eve. At Calvary, “[t]he veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom”. God stepped out from behind the veil to reveal the glorious splendor of divinity itself.  “Behold the nature of God” were the words the angels sang at Calvary as God was showing us His nature.

Ours is an omnipotent God who loves us dearly. Wow! How do we enlist? Where do we sign up? How do we join the kingdom of this God who loves us?

We would not even be asking ourselves these question had God not discovered a way to put the good news of great joy into our hands.

The problem that God faced was how to propagate the good news of the triumph of the Son of God from then and there to us here and now. The triumph of the Son of God paid us took place in the boondocks of time and space. It was inconspicuous, anonymous and remote. God, therefore, concluded that, to propagate the good news of great joy, some sort of a perpetual memorial commemorating the thirty-three year Visit was urgently needed (and a Church to tend it).

God did not want to establish an ordinary, conventional, run-of-the-mill memorial. God did not want a firefly; they wanted a fire - a blazing, raging, engaging bonfire to match the bonfire of love for us that burns in their most sacred heart. They wanted to establish a memorial as real, as extraordinary, and as abundantly alive as the hero of Calvary Himself. Any inferior memorial of the thirty-three Visit just would not do.

The most Holy Trinity reviewed the candidates for a memorial - words, a reenactment, a work of art, and other types of representations.

It would be too cruel to ask the Son of God to let us impale Him on the Cross - to repeat His sacrifice at Calvary anew - for each successive generation and, within a generation, from place to place (Luke 16:19-31).   One Calvary - one guarantee of His love for us - was enough. Duplicate guarantees would be superfluous.

From their review of the candidates for a memorial, God realized that the any representations made by human hands of the triumph of the Son of God would be inferior to the triumph of the Son of God itself.  Therefore, God decided that the memorial had to be nothing less than the triumph of the Son of God itself.   So God did the impossible - they created a time machine. They uprooted the triumph of the Son of God from its foundation in time and space, made it portable and created a vehicle to carry it to us in the present. The vehicle that carries the triumph of the Son of God to us is the Mass. At Mass, the physics of time and space are suspended to publish and make known to us here and now the fact that the Son of God paid us a visit as one of us, let us torture and kill Him, rose from the dead and continued to love us nonetheless. The Mass republishes the triumph of the Son of God. Each Mass is a reiteration of the triumph of the Son of God.

The Mass is the rainbow of the new covenant. It reminds God and us that God's love for us is greater than the evil we did to Him while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest.

The Mass is the party that the most Holy Trinity throw to celebrate the victory of the Son of God.

The Mass is not a funeral. The Mass is not a somber occasion. It is a joyous celebration. He did it! By God, He did it! He successfully executed God's plan to reveal to us the sweetness of paradise.

The guest of honor at the victory party is the Son of God Himself. How could we celebrate His victory without Him? It would not be much of a victory party without Him.

  • Catholics call this the real presence. It is an element of the victory party. It is an important element but not the only element. 
  • The real presence of the Son of God at the Mass is a necessary element of a victory party. Stop talking about the real presence without also talking about the reason the Son of God is really present at Mass. By exclusively fixating on the real presence, the bigger picture is lost. The bigger picture is that the Mass is a party that the most Holy Trinity throw to celebrate the victory of the Son of God. Why God is really present at Mass only makes sense if its place in the larger context is understood. Simply put. It would not be a victory party without the guest of honor showing up. It would be a faux party. And God is not into anything faux. God is only into the real.

The priest is the master of ceremonies at the Mass. The priest is the M.C.

The children of Adam and Eve are invited to the celebration of the Mass.

Furthermore, what kind of party would it be without food and drink? At the Mass, God provides the best food and drink in the world.

Taking the food and drink of the most Holy Eucharist is like going to bank and making a withdrawal from someone elses account whose owner is overjoyed to share his wealth with us. 

The Eucharist is God's throne upon the earth, the Mass, His palace. The throne is not vacant; the palace is not empty. Jesus occupies His throne. Jesus reigns from His palace.

Why body and blood? Why not toe and finger? Why not heart and lung? Why not just body? Why not just blood? Here is the answer. The blood and body point to the bloody wounds we opened in His body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. They remind us of the exorbitant evil we did to Him while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guess.  To bring us the revelation of His indestructible love for us (John 15:13), He paid a price in the coin of suffering. It was an exorbitant price that matched the exorbitant evil we did to Him. Furthermore, He paid the exorbitant price not from His limitless divine resources but from His limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for Himself. He has never paid more for anything else!  Price tends to correspond to value. The higher the value the greater the price. The exorbitant price He paid for us tells us our exorbitant value to Him (Matthew 10:29-31). He esteems us more than we esteem ourselves. To God, we are the apple of His eye. To God, we are the pearl of great price. To God, we are the treasure buried in the field. How do we know? Just look at the price the Son of God paid for us at Calvary. The price He paid tells us our worth to God.

PRAYER

The first great misconception of prayer is that it is unidirectional. it is not. It is bidirectional. Prayer is a conversation not a monologue.

The ultimate prayer is dealing with your neighbor as you want God to deal with you. 

Where do we belong? We belong with God in paradise. We do not belong without God in godlessness. Therefore, do not exclude God from your lives. Include God. Happiness is ours when we return to where we belong.


  Visit the Lion's Fang - The Farrell Alumni Networking Group. The Lion's Fang meets every Wednesday's during the Monsignor Farrell H.S. School year (most Wednesdays) after the 7:45 am Mass in the faculty dining room in the breezeway. Hospitality, mutual support and camaraderie are available. On Wednesdays, Farrell welcomes its alumni home. (Click the Image)

Visit the Lion's Fang - The Farrell Alumni Networking Group. The Lion's Fang meets every Wednesday's during the Monsignor Farrell H.S. School year (most Wednesdays) after the 7:45 am Mass in the faculty dining room in the breezeway. Hospitality, mutual support and camaraderie are available. On Wednesdays, Farrell welcomes its alumni home. (Click the Image)

  Learn more about the new exodus that is taking place and is now in progress on the escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land.   (Click the Image)

Learn more about the new exodus that is taking place and is now in progress on the escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land. (Click the Image)