Good evening Father Angelo,
I have a question about the Passion of Christ. First I would like to say that every time I think and read the passages of the Gospel on the Passion of Christ I get very moved and feel a sense of gratitude to Him for having saved us from evil.
But at the same time I wonder why all that blood and suffering culminates at the cross, to such atrocious deaths? I wonder why God wanted to die in that way, why he preferred suffering as the way to salvation. A Father does not let his own Son die in that way. When I think about all this I feel distressed. Certainly I would not like to teach God how to save, God forbid, but I cannot understand it. Could you give me a clue? Thank you.
Response from the priest
1. It is not without a solid reason that Jesus wanted to atone for our sins through the Passion and the Crucifixion.
We think that sins (I’m talking about serious ones, that is, mortal ones) are trivial things, apart from murder and some others.
2. But it is enough to look at Christ torn to the point that one could count all his bones, as David predicted, to immediately understand the terrible effects of our sins .
3. We don’t really know what sin is.
As soon as Jesus was raised on the cross, he said: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing”. He asks for forgiveness because we don’t know what we do. But he knows it.
And he shows the foolishness and cruelty by presenting his body all lacerated, stripped and torn apart by the scourging, the crowning with thorns and the crucifixion.
A spiritual song titled Were you there when they crucified my Lord, at a certain moment with particularly touching notes, to the question You were at the cross of Jesus (implied: to understand what has been done) he answers by saying: This thought makes me cry, cry, cry.
4. The Passion of Christ then shows not only what our sins have done in the physical body of Christ, but also what they now do in his mystical body, that is, in the Church and in humanity.
As our sins ravaged Christ’s body so now they continue to ravage his mystical body.
Here too they cause bloodshed and continue to deprive the Church of a source of grace by introducing in its place something that goes to devastate souls.
Now we understand a little more deeply what sin is: a shedding of blood, that of Christ and that which gives life to the Church, grace.
5. How appropriate to meditate frequently on the effects of sin on souls so that we may never do them again!.
Our Saints wept in contemplation of the crucified Christ.
I think of our Holy Father Dominic painted in this way by Beato Angelico at the foot of the cross: he is all weeping and devoured by pain.
This pain is the secret of his apostolic ardor.
He does not want Jesus’ sacrifice to be in vain and does not want men to be lost eternally.
And this pushes him to the desire to be a martyr with him and to shed his blood to be together with Christ an instrument of redemption.
6. At this point let me say that today we need priests who cry like the Holy Father Dominic at the foot of the cross,
wishing to “filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24).
The Passion of Christ certainly lacks nothing because Christ’s merit is infinite.
But what is missing is to make his merits ours.
That is to be taken and distributed to us and to others through the life of grace, the sacraments, good works and also through our sorrowful mysteries lived with Crist’s feelings.
7. Finally, what sin shows in the devastated body of Christ and the Church is a sign of what they produce in us.
The Second Vatican Council says that “man, if he looks inside his heart, finds himself inclined to evil and immersed in so many miseries, which certainly cannot derive from the Creator, who is good.
Often, refusing to recognize God as his principle, man has broken the due order in relation to his ultimate end, and at the same time all harmony, both in relation to himself and in relation to other men and all creation.
So man finds himself divided in himself “(Gaudium et spes, 13).
“On the contrary, man finds himself unable to effectively overcome the assaults of evil by himself, so that everyone feels as if chained” (Ib.).
Here, too, how salutary it would be to meditate on the Lord’s passion to avoid any sin which according to the language of John Paul II is always a suicidal act (Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 15), a useless shedding of blood and harmful spiritual energies.
8. I wanted to reflect only on one point mentioned in your email: that sin causes bloodshed.
The Passion of Christ reminds this.
But if we went to see what St. Thomas says about the convenience that the Redemption took place in this way, we would find many other very precious motivations.
Thank you for drawing attention to this topic.
I remind you to God and I bless you