JESUS IN THE FACE OF HIS DEATH
Jesus has seriously foreseen the possibility of a violent death. Perhaps he wasn’t counting on the intervention of the Roman authorities or crucifixion as the most probable final destiny. But the reaction that his actions were provoking in the most powerful sectors wasn’t hidden to him. God’s face that he presents destroys all too many theological schemes, and the announcement of God’s reign breaks through all too many political and religious securities.
However nothing modifies his actions. He doesn’t escape death. He doesn’t defend himself. He doesn’t flee. Nor does he seek harm. Jesus isn’t a man who seeks death with a suicidal attitude. During his short stay in Jerusalem he endeavors to hide and doesn’t appear in public.
If we want to know how Jesus went through his death, we must stop and consider two fundamental attitudes that give meaning to his whole final behavior. His whole life has been to «be devoted» to God’s cause and to the freeing service of people. His death will now seal his life. Jesus will die out of faithfulness to the Father and solidarity with people.
In the first place, Jesus confronts his own death from an attitude of complete trust in the Father. He moves toward death, convinced that his execution won’t be able to stop the arrival of God’s reign, which he keeps announcing until the very end.
In the supper of farewell, Jesus shows his complete faith that he will return to eat the true Passover with his own, when God’s definitive reign is established, in spite of all the injustices humans are capable of committing.
When everything fails and even God seems to abandon him as a false prophet, justly condemned in the name of the law, Jesus cries out: «Father, into your hands I commend my spirit».
On the other hand, Jesus dies in an attitude of solidarity and service for all. His whole life has consisted in defending the poor in the face of the inhumanity of the rich, in being in solidarity with the weak in the face of the selfish interests of the powerful, in announcing forgiveness of sinners in the face of the unmovable hardness of the «just».
Now he suffers the death of a poor man, of one abandoned who can do nothing in the face of the power of those who dominate the earth. And he lives his death as a service. The last and supreme service that he can do for God’s cause and for the definitive salvation of God’s sons and daughters.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf