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Good Friday

Yesterday, I wrote that we are to give ourselves to one another as Jesus gave himself to us. Today, we reiterate this point.

We often say that Jesus needed to sacrifice himself to appease God as if God is not ready to forgive us without the sacrifice of God’s own Son. But the explanation has its own merits.

It teaches us the cost of our salvation and the willingness of God to pay the highest price. But it is not the only way we can understand Jesus’ humiliating death on the cross.

We could see Jesus’ death not as inevitable, arising from a divinely pre-ordained script to save us from our sins. After all, the Temple establishment could have chosen not to bring Jesus to the Sanhedrin, Pilate could have chosen to free Jesus, and the crowd could have demanded that he be set free.

Yet, death was inevitable in a different sense. His death was unavoidable given the “sin of the world” that manifested itself in ruthless power play. From a strictly human point of view, Jesus’ goodness was no match to the combined powers of the temple and the Roman empire.

From a strictly human point of view, the injustices committed today are no different from the injustice committed against Jesus.

We can think of the many people today whose lives would be tantamount to constant crucifixion also because of the sin of the world that manifests in oppressive structures.

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Think of the poor living in dehumanizing conditions in slums or in shanty houses with no adequate food and hygiene. Think of those victims of police brutality, of red tagging.

Think of those street children doomed to live wretched lives because of lack of education. Think of the Palestinians whose only fault is to live in Gaza.

We can even extend our interpretation to nature which is being crucified by our unbridled consumerism and utter disregard of what is happening to Mother Earth.

In what manner do we contribute to the ongoing crucifixion of our fellow men and women and our crucifixion of Mother Earth? What sacrifices do we need to make others live?

Fr. Ramon D. Echica is the Dean of Studies of the San Carlos Major Seminary. He obtained his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) in 1998.

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