Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This image of the first station of the Cross is from Dalgan House, Co. Meath, headquarters of the Columban Fathers. I watched a film with a friend on Friday as I usually do. It was "Never Let Me Go", a film based on Kazuo Ishiguro's book of the same name. The story is set in alternative reality where genetic engineering(?) and organ transplants have allowed the end of illness and physical suffering but at a price; countless children are reared to be donors, to live a short life and 'complete' (die) via a series of organ donations in early adulthood. The three central characters, two girls and a boy, all future donors, form a love triangle within this horrific world. What shocked me was their complacency and compliance as if they had been bred for placidity. I wanted them to fight back, to resist and rage against the system. At one point, and this is a spoiler, their former headmistress tells them "We did not have the gallery so we could see into your souls. We had the gallery to see if you had souls at all." The frightening thing is that the story is not that far from reality. Forced organ transplants are happening regularly in China Transmission 6-10. Once one denies there is a God and that there is an immortal soul then all one has left is a gene-transmission vehicle, or a sack of meat. Human nature becomes an illusion or rather a delusion and morality is a mere social convention. What has this got to do with our Saviour before Pilate? I used to think that He was placid, compliant and perhaps helpless, the victim of c conspiracy and trapped by His Father's desperate plan for the salvation of the human race. Is He placid though? Is He compliant? His mission is not merely to save us. It is to bring us into communion with His Father. To do this He does what He does or rather Who He Is; as Son He reveals the Father through His Sonship and His passion and death are the revelation by the Son of His very Being. Through this revelation He reveals the Father and how utterly beautiful, good, and worthy of love and obedience He is. The Son explores the depths of the human condition and lifts it up, transforming it, transubstantiating it so as to make Himself the Way to the Father. Therefore, before Pilate, He is not placid. Pilate is the bureaucrat, the politician, whose concern is only for power and expediency. What Pilate does not realise is that he does not have any real power. Christ has the true power because He does the will of the Father; He is the will of the Father. Pilate can choose to spare Christ but at this point his previous choices have locked him into a pattern of self-preservation that mitigates against any impulse towards justice. Sin has consequences and not just in the short term. Jesus is not placid; He is calm. He has endured so much already and has much more to endure but His love for the Father will not let Him falter. He must give us a chance to see. He must show us on the Cross the indescribable depths of the Father's love. He chooses, He acts by accepting His fate.

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