crucified Jesus

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Leonardo Boff*

Between all the sufferers a mysterious bond of solidarity is established. Christ, cosmic, continues to suffer and be crucified in solidarity with all those crucified in history.

In this time of the coronavirus that is producing fear and bringing death to many people around the world, the celebration of Good Friday takes on a special meaning. There is Someone who also suffered and, in the midst of terrible pain, was crucified, Jesus of Nazareth. We know that among all sufferers a mysterious bond of solidarity is established. The Crucified One, although through the Resurrection he became the new man and the cosmic Christ, continues, for this very reason, to suffer and to be crucified in solidarity with all those crucified in history. And so it will be today and until the end of time.

Jesus didn't die because everyone dies. He was assassinated as a result of a double judicial process, one by the Roman political authority and the other by the Jewish religious authority. His judicial assassination was due to his message of the Kingdom of God which implied an absolute revolution in all relationships, the new image of God as a “Little Father” full of mercy, the freedom he preached and lived in the face of the doctrines and traditions that weighed heavily on the behind the people, for his unconditional love, especially for the poor and sick, whom he had compassion for and healed, and finally, for presenting himself as the Son of God. These attitudes broke with the status quo politico-religious of the time. We decided to eliminate it.

He died not simply because God wanted it that way, which would be contradictory to the loving image he announced. What God wanted, in fact, was their faithfulness to the message of the Kingdom and to Him, even if it meant death. Death resulted from this fidelity of Jesus before his Father and his cause, the Kingdom, fidelity that is one of the greatest values ​​of a person.

Those who crucified him could not define the meaning of this condemnation. The Crucified One himself defined its meaning: an expression of extreme love and unremitting surrender to achieve reconciliation and forgiveness for all those who crucified him and as solidarity with all those crucified in history, especially those who are innocently crucified. It is the path of human and divine liberation and salvation.

For this death to really be death, as the last human loneliness, he went through the most terrible temptation anyone can go through: the temptation of despair. This is derived from his cry on the cross. The clash now is not with the authorities who condemned him. It's with your Father.

The Father that he experienced with profound filial intimacy, the Father that he had announced as merciful and full of the goodness of a Mother, the Father, whose project, the Kingdom, that he had proclaimed and anticipated in his liberating praxis, this Father now, in the supreme moment of the cross, seemed to have abandoned him. Jesus goes through the hell of God's absence.

It is around three o'clock in the afternoon, moments before the final outcome. Jesus cries out in a loud voice: “Eloí, Eloí, lemá sabachtani: My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”? Jesus is on the verge of hopelessness. From the most abysmal emptiness of his spirit, frightening questions erupt that configure the most terrible temptation, worse than those three made by Satan in the desert.

Was my fidelity to the Father absurd? Is the struggle sustained by the Kingdom, the great cause of God, meaningless? Were the risks I took, the persecutions I endured, the degrading capital trial I suffered and the crucifixion I am suffering in vain? Jesus is naked, impotent, completely empty before the Father who is silent. This silence reveals all his Mystery. Jesus has nothing to cling to.

By human standards, he completely failed. His inner certainty was gone. Even though the ground disappears from under his feet, he continues to trust in the Father. That's why he cries out in a loud voice: "My God, my God!" At the height of despair, Jesus surrenders to the truly nameless Mystery. He will be your only hope and security. He no longer has any support in himself, only in God. Jesus' absolute hope is understandable only on the basis of his absolute hopelessness.

The greatness of Jesus consisted in enduring and overcoming this terrible temptation. But this temptation provided him with a total stripping of himself, a nakedness and absolute emptiness. Only in this way is death really complete, as the Creed says, “a descent into the hells” of existence, without anyone who can accompany you. From now on, no one will be alone in death anymore. He will be with us because he has experienced the loneliness of this “hell” of the Creed.

Jesus' last words show his surrender, not resigned but free: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23,46:19,30). “It is finished” (Jn 15,37:XNUMX)! “And giving a loud cry, Jesus expired (Mk XNUMX:XNUMX).

This total emptiness is a precondition for total fullness. She came by her resurrection. This is not the reanimation of a corpse, like that of Lazarus, but the “breaking out of the new man” (novissimus Adam: 2Cor 15,45), whose latent virtualities imploded and exploded in full realization and flowering.

Now the Crucified One is the Risen One, present in all things, the cosmic Christ of the Epistles of St. Paul and Teilhard de Chardin. But his resurrection is not yet complete. While your brothers and sisters remain crucified, the fullness of the resurrection is in process and lies in the future. As Saint Paul teaches, “he is the first among many brothers and sisters” (Rm 8,29; 2Cor15,20). For this very reason, with his presence as the Risen One, he accompanies the Way of the Cross in the pain of his brothers and sisters, humiliated and offended.

He is being crucified in the millions who go hungry every day in the slums, in those subjected to inhuman living and working conditions. Crucified in those who in ICUs are fighting, without air, against the coronavirus. Crucified in the marginalized of the countryside and cities, in those discriminated against for being black, indigenous, quilombola, poor and for having another sexual option.

He remains crucified in those persecuted because of the thirst for justice in the depths of our country, in those who risk their lives in defense of human dignity, especially of invisible deeds. Crucified in all those who fight, without immediate success, against systems that draw the blood of workers, squander nature and produce deep wounds in the body of Mother Earth. There are not enough stations on this Via Dolorosa to portray all the ways in which the Crucified/Resurrected One continues to be persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and condemned.

But none of these are alone. He walks, suffers and rises in all these his companions in tribulation and hope. Each victory of justice, solidarity and love are assets of the Kingdom that is already taking place in history, the Kingdom of which they will be the first heirs.

*Leonardo Boff he is a theologian. Author, among other books, of Passion of Christ – Passion of the World (Voices).

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