Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Seven Last Words: Father forgive them

Pater, dimitte illis, quia nesciunt, quid faciunt

Πάτερ, ἄφες αὐτοῖς, οὐ γὰρ οἴδασιν τί ποιοῦσιν

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do
St Luke xxiii.34

But surely, they knew exactly what they were doing? How can you not know exactly what you're doing when you're nailing someone's hands and feet to a block of wood? How can you not know what you're doing when you have been plotting to kill this man for ages because of the threat he poses to your stability? How can you not know what you're doing when you've acted out of anger for the disrespect he has shown you, criticising your way of life, calling you whitewashed sepulchres, foolish and perverse, men of little faith?

Far better, for the sake of the stability of the region that he die and let his teaching end there.


But they didn't know.

They haven't been listening.

You see, their malice, their hatred, their blinkered self-interest, their delight in others' pain, is directly responsible for the salvation of the souls of men. If there hadn't been sin and evil in the world, then the world would not have needed saving. As it is, what they are doing is putting an end to the Eternal effects of evil, sin and death.

While they are killing an innocent man, they are crucifying God Himself, and they don't know it.

While they watch His blood flow from His back, His forehead, His hands and feet and eventually His side, they see the New Covenant ratified, that God offers Himself to be so very vulnerable so that we can be free from the powers of Darkness, Death and the Devil, and they don't know it.

While they hear His last words and mock and jeer and spit and laugh, they hear Him offer the same forgiveness, the same freedom from sin as everyone else, they hear Him act as advocate on their behalf as He always said He would and does and will, and they don;t know it.

They are forgiven.

But they don't know it.

Who is more wretched? The bleeding, naked and pained figure dying on the cross, or they?

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