Tonight, while I sat listening to the multitude of readings at the Easter Vigil, I pondered, as I have been, the sacrifice of Christ. I listened to the story of Creation, the salvation of the Jews, the demise of the Egyptian captors. I prayed and sang the Psalms, and, although I didn't want to, pondered the state of the world.
I looked up at the Crucifix and wondered at the God who would send his only Son to die for such a worthless race that is humanity. I wondered at the God who could look upon us with any shred of mercy at all. I considered the men who forcibly raped an innocent little girl, a girl who had entered that den out of interest and love for her own sister, and I asked how Jesus could possibly think humanity worth saving? HOW? I would wash my hands and walk away, leaving them either to themselves to do as they wished or simply destroy them in one fell swoop.
The last Psalm ended as I was trying hard to recollect myself.
I don't think I really heard the rest of the Epistle. I was drawn into those words and captivated there, as though my head was being held under water. "Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?"
I was bonded there, chastised, and crucified. And there, from the gibbet of the Cross, I saw what Jesus sees, I saw the reason for my questions, and I saw the Truth of Divine Justice.
My questions....about the value of humanity, about why Jesus underwent His Passion and Death to save us...those aren't new questions. Not to me, not to anyone. It isn't that I haven't asked them before, and it isn't that I have not sinned, and horribly, at that. If anything, I know what I am capable of doing and I have seen much in my professional life. Not much shocks me.
The closer I come to Christ, though, the more my outer shell is worn away, and the more I am able to be shocked by the rancid devastation of sin. The more I am able to see the rot, the more I, in my own fallen humanity, want to take a torch to the trunk and burn it ALL away, leaving nothing.
I do not see as God sees.
I was angry tonight, I was scandalized, and then I heard the Word of God that brought me to bear; I have been baptized in Christ. I have been baptized into His death.
Oh, yes. To be Baptized in Christ means to take on the very same Cross, to drink of the same cup of Salvation. To be Baptized means that we are one with Him and His plan for the Salvation of sinners. To be Baptized means we take on that yoke of suffering; it means that we are giving our fiat to God, and that we, too, are willing to DIE for sinners.
Even the sinners who would rape a child. Repeatedly.
Jesus, from eternity, looked upon humanity and called us "good". Jesus, from eternity, was made incarnate at conception in order to save us from our sins. He looked upon the worst of humanity...and said YES.
God did not gaze upon humanity judging our worthiness by the pettiness of humanity, but by the depths to which we are capable of descending. He looked upon us and judged us by the greatest atrocities. Jesus looked upon the greatest sins of humanity, sins most people could never even imagine, and in His great love, he looked beyond the sin and saw His Own Image, and He said YES.
Jesus became one of us not because we say snarky things or don't do our chores, but because we are capable of raping children and murdering entire generations of them through abortion and genocide.
To be Christian, to be Baptized into Christ means to take on that same Cross, and from there, took into the eyes, and the soul, of the most depraved sinner, and say, YES!
To be Christian is to know that no one is beyond salvation, and to know that Christ didn't die for the self-defined righteous, but for sinners, and the worst of sinners at that.
To be Christian is to take on the Cross and, for ourselves, to look especially upon the most depraved of souls and say, "You are a child of God and I am willing to die for your salvation."
We must not just be willing to forgive, but to die the most torturous death for the most depraved of sinners
Nothing less is worthy of a Christian. Nothing less than the ultimate price of Divine Love is worthy of Christ.