He Forgave What He Received
Sometimes we wonder at the Cross. Was His death really necessary? How did His death actually help us? What was the point of being scourged and crowned with thorns – what did that accomplish?
These questions are critical. This suffering in Our Lord’s life was endured for love of us. The power and depth of His love is demonstrated in the specific things that He endured. Remember that He willed the entire event. He foresaw every detail of His torture and death. It is piously believed that, one day, when He was a boy, two angels appeared to Him, and showed Him the instruments of torture that would be used against Him. He was frightened and fled to His mother. A famous icon depicts this event, and portrays Jesus looking back toward the angels, with one of His sandals falling off of His foot.
Our Lord knew, from the first moment He entered the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that He would suffer and die for us. He knew each one of us as well, and held each of us in His Most Sacred Heart. His life on earth was dedicated to this one act – His death on the Cross.
We see the specifics – the agony in the Garden, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion. We wonder – why, as God, endure all these things? Why, for us, endure all these things? Are we worth these pains which the Son of God endured?
Herein lies the beauty of God’s love for us. He did not want to condemn us, but He did not want to make light of our sins either. So, while He was here with us to teach us the Way, He permitted all of our sins to manifest against Him, to rise up against Him, to take off their masks and reveal their true intentions. Our sins are all directed against God, but we don’t want to admit this, often because we cannot see it. Our consciences are blind to it. But in His Passion, this is clear.
This is one way that Our Lord is the light of the world. He illumines our minds regarding sin. He allowed us to hail Him as King one day, and then reject and mock His kingship just a few days later, even forcing upon Him a crown of thorns. We proclaimed Him the Messiah but then cast Him out of the city and crucified Him as a liar and a blasphemer.
But what did He do the whole time? He was silent. He rarely spoke. He did not resist when He was arrested in the Garden. He did not resist when He was slandered and mocked and rejected while on trial. He did not resist when He was taken to be scourged. He did not resist when the soldiers swarmed around Him to crown Him with thorns and mock His claim to Kingship. He let us reject Him.
When He did speak, though, what did He say? His words at the final moment are the best to remember: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” And what would the Father’s response have been? “Because of Your suffering and death, I do forgive them.”
It is the blood He shed for you that saves you. When they punched Him, and He embraced it – He saved you. When they crowned Him, and He embraced it – He saved you. When they killed Him, and He embraced it – He saved you. He forgave all who reject Him, all who mock Him, all who refuse Him, all who attack His Church, all who despise and blaspheme Him – all who sin. The hideousness of sin was laid upon Him, and He bore it to His gruesome death – and forgave them all.
And that is not the end. All who let that Precious Blood fall upon them, and are forgiven, will behold His rising in glory, and will soon join Him in that rising, and enter Heaven. Let His Precious Blood fall upon you. Tell Him that you love Him for His death for you. Tell Him that He has won you over, that you understand, that you repent of having offended Him. Ask Him to never let you offend Him again. Embrace His Cross, and kiss Him. See, in the Cross, how lovable is our God.