The Paradox of the Cross
The death of Jesus remains a mystery at the
heart of our faith. From the Gospel accounts,
we can surmise that Jesus was: betrayed by
Judas, one of His own apostles; arrested
under the direction of the political forces
of His day; convicted without just cause
by the Roman governor Pilate under the pressure
of the near-revolting crowd; scourged and
tormented on His way to Calvary; and nailed
to die on the cross.
The Church teaches us that the death
cannot be blamed on any individual
rather, all sinners are collectively
accountable for His death. The agony
suffering continues to this very day
hands of the hardened hearts and contemptuous
acts of sinners, a group to which all
The suffering and death of God's only
was not the result of an unfortunate
of events; rather, it was the centerpiece
of God's plan of redemption for His
children. Those involved in acting
Jesus were allowed to carry out their
desires as part of that plan. St. Paul
God's plan in his letter to the Colossians:
"He delivered us from the power
and transferred us to the kingdom of
beloved Son, in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins… He is the
the firstborn from the dead, that in
things He Himself might be preeminent.
in Him all the fullness was pleased
and through Him to reconcile all things
Him, making peace by the blood of His
(through Him), whether those on earth
those in heaven. And you who once were
and hostile in mind because of evil
He has now reconciled in his fleshly
through his death, to present you holy,
blemish, and irreproachable before
Jesus offered Himself in our place,
the collective punishment of all the
of humanity. In the Eucharist, which
in memory of Him', we recall His sacrifice
on the cross. As noted in the Letter
Hebrews, He is at once both Priest
Sacrifice: "It was fitting that
have such a high priest: holy, innocent,
undefiled, separated from sinners,
than the heavens. He has no need, as
the high priests, to offer sacrifice
after day, first for his own sins and
for those of the people; He did that
for all when He offered Himself."
The obedience of Jesus, symbolized
cross, is a model for the obedience
to which we are all called. As Jesus
to all: "If anyone wishes to come
me, he must deny himself and take up
cross daily and follow Me." (Luke
It is first and foremost out of His
love that He willfully submitted to
on the cross. The crucifixion of Christ
not the act of human sacrifice deigned
appease the divine judgement of the
rather, it was necessary to demonstrate
all of us enslaved to sin that: "No
one has greater love than this, to
one's life for one's friends."
15.13) It is to this non-judgmental,
gift of God's love that all of us are
to revel in as His joyful children.
This poem expresses the great gift
merciful love poured out for us from
The Paradox of The Cross
Is the Father a vengeful god,
Seeking retribution for sin?
That would reduce the faith to fraud
His steadfast love? Fake and foreign!
If Christ was human sacrifice,
His death's the end; debts paid by
In fact, Mercy has paid the price -
Limitless love - His gift's our gain!
The final end of sin is death;
"Forgive them!" He called
New life was breathed in His last breath
His blood covered our debt's full cost.
In His wounds, we have our healing;
By His blood -- innocents restored;
His soul bleeds mercy, revealing
The divine nature of the Lord.
The Lamb saves sinners from their fall;
The Divine Mercy merits all.
Holy Spirit, help me to recall the great
gift of God's mercy poured out on the cross,
that I may respond wholeheartedly to the
Lord's call: "And when I am lifted up
from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself."
(John 12.32). Amen..
New American Bible - Catholic Edition
Catechism of the Catholic Church,
Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to
© 2004 Ignatius Press, San Francisco,
281 - 293
(c) Paul Buis, 2006