The richest, must cultured, most powerful people– the Romans who conquered the world– they crucified God. But the holiest people in the world, the people living in the world but following the Lord as perfectly as they could, the people who observed every precept of the Law– they did it to Him too. The very best people in the eyes of the world and the very best people in the eyes of the Faithful joined forces to do this to Him, and He permitted it to happen.
Why did He permit it to happen?
It would have been more satisfying if He hadn’t.
What a fun, exciting story if, when the very best people in the eyes of the Faithful taunted Him, he actually did come down from His cross and conquered them. But He didn’t. How delightful if the earth opened up and swallowed those outwardly pious people as it swallowed Korah, Dathan and Abiram. But it didn’t. Christ died on the cross, in agony, alone. The earth received His body and His soul descended into hell.
The Incarnation is far more terrible than that. The Incarnation was God’s most direct way of telling us who He is, and in every way He chose to appear as the victim. In every way, He sided not with the best people in the eyes of the World or the Faithful, but with their victims– and not only did he side with them, but He became one of them. That was the cross He chose to carry, to be nailed to and to die on: not that of the Very Best People, but the cross that the Very Best People place on others. His crown was the crown of humiliation and abuse. His throne was on Golgatha, the place where the Very Best People, the praiseworthy, the centers of attention, commit their legal murders. Because of this, the Father greatly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every Name. By this sign are the proud cast down in the imagination of their hearts. By this sign are the humble lifted up. God is the victim of the Very Best People.
This is a lesson I learned from the Eucharist. I suppose that in every generation, nine times out of ten, the people who look the best of all turn out to be the ones who break the Lord into bits. If you can find the tenth person, that person is a saint, but never put your trust in the people who look like saints. Trust in the Lord. Keep the commandments of the Lord faithfully, even if the people around you who seemed to keep them most faithfully turn out to be frauds. The Very Best People have always been frauds, but the commandments are real.
Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but the Lord is real. He is a disc the size of a silver dollar. He is a white line nearly invisible between panels of colored glass. He is a zygote in the body of a woman of no importance. He is a refugee and a homeless person. He is naked, humiliated, tortured; physically, emotionally and sexually abused. He is the victim of abuse and oppression, and when you defend and comfort the oppressed you are in Eucharistic Adoration and standing witness at the foot of the Cross.
Do not separate yourself from the Eucharist, but remember what the Eucharist is: a God who became small, helpless, naked and poor, and surrendered Himself into the hands of the Very Best People. Always side with the abused, especially if their suffering has led them away from the Faith. They are icons. God Himself cried out that He was abandoned by God, when He became the victim of abuse.
I, myself, am the worst example, but this is what I decided to try to do, as I stared at the white disc that was God and couldn’t pray.
(image via Pixabay)