The Crucifixion is the story of a sailor who drowns and dies in a storm. At first blush, the Crucifixion appears to be a story of the sailor's ignominious defeat. The storm defeated the sailor. it vanquished him.
The death of the sailor ought to have marked the end of the sailor's story but, surprisingly, it was not. There was another chapter to the sailor's story.
The next chapter to the sailor's story is the Resurrection. Here we learn that our first impression is wrong. In the Resurrection, we see the sailor's glorious victory. Surprisingly, the sailor did not stay buried in Davy Jones's Locker. The sailor emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us.
The storm is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.
The sailor is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.
Which is more important? The storm or the sailor?
The answer is the sailor. The storm is merely the context into which the sailor is inserted so he can demonstrate his mettle (Click Here) (Psalm 66:10-12). The important question is 'How does the sailor cope with the storm?'.
In the case of Jesus, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love. He clung with the iron grip of a drowning man tossed into the sea after his ship has sunk. He did not surrender love to suffering. He resisted suffering. He fought back against it with the only weapon designed by God himself to oppose suffering, namely, love. Love is the grease for the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love is the buffer between us and suffering. Love transforms us into superman who can pick up and carry our crosses of suffering so they do not bog us down in the valley of tears and, thereby, impede our progress to paradise. Love gives us wings with which to carry our burdens of suffering (Pope Benedict XVI). By loving our way through the valley of tears, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God. If we do not, suffering transmogrifies us into the most hideous and miserable of beasts. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can go god-like or beast-like. Which do you choose to resemble as you pass through the valley of tears?
Our sighs, mourning and weeping (Salve Regina) left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. In response to our suffering (not to our sins), God proposed that a philanthropic mission be mounted to address the problem of human suffering. The mission had two parts
- to transport the technology of applying love to suffering from heaven to earth and
- to demonstrate that the technology works by using it.
The Son of God volunteered for the mission. The first part of the mission was easy. the second part, however, was difficult - very, very difficult. To demonstrate that the technology works by using it required that the Son of God take flesh to become an equal to us in our humanity and a partner with us in our suffering. There was no other way to demonstrate the technology. To demonstrate that the technology works by using, he needed to pay the cost of the demonstration out of his own pocket not from his unlimited divine resources but from his own limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else.
He was the love note that God sent to us in the form of a new-born baby at Bethlehem. He was also the guarantee that the love note was genuine given to us in the diptych of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. If the love note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But, it did not. His love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him. The sailor drowned and died. However, surprisingly, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. He rose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow!
Jesus coped with his cross to teach us how to cope with ours. He demonstrated for us the best way to cope with the suffering we experience as we pass through the valley of tears.