“Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” – Luke 23:34
From the cross, Jesus prays not for himself, but for those with a hand in his execution. To their violence, Jesus says, “Enough.” He counters not with revenge, but mercy. The violence ends in him.
It’s not entirely true that they didn’t know what they were doing.* They knew that the charges against Jesus were questionable. They knew the jealousy that fueled those charges. They must have known that there was something wrong with this monstrous spectacle. What they didn’t know was the depth of their fear, and their deep-seated compulsion to dominate and destroy. They didn’t know any better because they didn’t know how thoroughly God loved them.
They didn’t know any better because they didn’t know how thoroughly God loved them.
Jesus knew better. Even at his most excruciating moment, Jesus knew that he was steeped in God’s love. He had no need to fight back. He won by losing, by surrendering into Love.
Because of Jesus, we know better. Today, this week, we follow his way, saving ourselves by emptying ourselves, surrendering at last to Love.
*Hat tip to Karl Rahner, SJ