Gospel Luke 23:35-43
‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’
The claim that Jesus is God, that He is King of the Universe are often looked upon by modern ‘enlightened’ minds as the quaint beliefs of the feeble minded.
While the believer today may feel a certain pressure to offer empirical or philosophical proofs that God exists and that Jesus is God, such an endeavour to formulate and offer said proofs more often than not fall incredibly short of convincing anyone.
The fact of his crucifixion, and the scorn hurled at him from those who did the deed seems to point to a certain powerlessness on the part of Jesus.
Taking up this question in his book on Jesus, Benedict XVI asks, capturing the sentiment of modern man who often struggles to believe: “Why, indeed, did you not forcefully resist your enemies who brought You to the cross? […] Why did You not show them with incontrovertible power that you are the Living One, the Lord of life and death? Why did You reveal yourself only to a small flock of disciples, upon whose testimony we must now rely? The question applies not only to the Resurrection, but to the whole manner of God’s revelation in the world. Why only to Abraham and not to the mighty of the world? Why only to Israel and not irrefutably to all the peoples of the earth?” (p. 276).
Despite our frustrations, it seems that this is the paradoxical style of God.
‘Is not this the truly divine way? Not to overwhelm with external power, but to give freedom, to offer and elicit love. And if we really think about it, is it not what seems so small that is truly great?’ (ibid, pp. 276-277).
The year of Mercy, which is now at its end, was of tremendous pedagogical value inasmuch as it brought us into this method of God – we see that the gentle way, the quiet invitation, has greater power to open hearts than the forceful proof of God’s omnipotence. It is in his weakness on the Cross that Jesus demonstrates the true power of His love.
Point to Ponder
Many nations’ rulers you profess
And in a public worship bless;
May Teachers, Judges, you revere,
In Arts and Laws may this appear.
Let every royal standard shine
In homage to your power divine;
Beneath your gentle rule subdue
The homes of all, their countries, too.
All glory be, O Lord, to you,
All earhthly powers you subdue;
With Father and the Spirit be
All glory yours eternally
(Te saeculroum in principem, from First Vespers on the on the Feast of Christ the King)