Reading the full account of the Passion really speaks for itself, so I will just give a short reflection.
Something I think everyone finds very disturbing in our modern world, is the amount of corruption everywhere. Lying and cheating seem to be accepted as normal practice by many. We read about corruption in just about every government and every organisation, including the Church. Struggles for power, people being tortured. It is horrible to read about these things, and we often seem to be so helpless to do anything. Where is the loving God we speak about, who brings justice?
The readings today also paint an interesting picture. The only man who was completely innocent and has only done good throughout his life, is betrayed by a close friend, arrested, tortured, given an illegal trial—it was illegal according to their own law—and on the basis of false evidence is put to death. Where is the justice in that? Where is our just and loving God? How could God allow such a terrible miscarriage of justice?
And yet out of all this chaos and terrible injustice, God brings about the most extraordinary good for the whole human race, something no one could ever have imagined, but it happens by means of all this suffering. He makes it possible for us to go to heaven when we die. Out of terrible evil, brought about by human hands, God does something unimaginably wonderful.
There is a line in the Exultet—the hymn sung at the beginning of the Easter Vigil—which says, ‘Oh necessary sin of Adam, which won for us so great a redeemer.’ ‘Oh necessary sin.’ If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, there would have been no need for the Incarnation and we wouldn’t have Jesus. This event changed the whole course of history. Everything was different after this, but what was really going on at that time was not obvious. In fact no one knew what was really happening. It was only afterwards, when Jesus himself began to reveal it to the disciples, only then did they begin to understand what it all meant and even then it took a while for them to fully grasp it.
So is there a message in all of this for us today, apart from remembering what happened? Can these events still speak to us now? In many ways our modern, so called ‘civilised’ society sounds remarkably like the one Jesus lived in. There was great corruption then and there still is. But there is above all else, a message of hope in all this, that even though there is a lot of evil around us, and there always has been, it doesn’t stop God from being present to us, and guiding us through the chaos, as it were. Not only that, but the very difficult events that we come up against, God can and does bring incredible good out of, even the worst of situations, but we don’t always see that good. All these events took place for our benefit and that is a reminder that God is just as much with us now as He was then. That is why we go over all these events each year, to remind ourselves what has happened, what God has done for us and that God is still with us, even in the midst of chaos.
Having the hope that our faith gives us, makes all the difference in the world. You can see in the faces of so many people, fear and anxiety, because they have nothing to put their hope in except other human beings. That is a sad way to live your life, because people will let us down. God is the only one who will not let us down, even though we may not see that until afterwards.
‘Oh necessary sin of Adam, which won for us so great a redeemer.’