Dear brothers and sisters, with the Passover, the judgment upon the world begins (Jn 12,31), upon life, upon mankind, upon God, and we must start off from a clear and obvious statement: that it is easy for us to identify ourselves with the victims, because we really are next to them, but none of us confesses the executioner that we also are or carry inside or lurks disguised in the thousands of daily actions that betray him without condemning him.
We are not innocent! We have all proved our guilt, the certainty that our life lost its innocence in one of its firsts nooks. We are transgressors, even the most innocent one of us tends to reveal the enigmas and is attracted by them up to the point of risking entering the darkest worlds, deepening in them for the sake of pure curiosity or so as to know first-hand or to discover what shouts at us to be discovered as an equivocal promise of the freedom and happiness we so much desire.
We are not innocent, but do we feel guilty? In a world with no guilts or apologies, to declare oneself guilty is nearly an imposible, a disfavor, an alarm. If we don’t get to commit execrable crimes or cruel actions, we are to be grateful that our life hasn't been moved by hands that could have led us to it. We don't know what could’ve become of us in the same life conditions of so may executioners.
Either way, we share every human being’s destiny and in this species we find ourselves and with it we identify ourselves. This creature of hope that we are, begs for clemency or for the defense it cannot give itself and, nor to others when it asumes its faults or when its blamed.
The God of the Old Testament bears with the sin of the People (Ex 34, 6-7). He’s the God “rich in mercy” (Eph 2,4-9) that forgives the faults and keeps his promise because he is innocent and only He who is innocent has the power to forgive. That devine innocence will be revealed in the Son, the Innocent who takes upon Himself the burden of the guilty (Jn 19,17), assuming what he is not, making himself death row in order to wage the war that belonged to us. Guilty! He has entered the river of sinners, and since the Baptism, he has belonged to the community of destiny of the man that will be consummated in the death sentence, in the Baptism of blood, representing us, taking our place, acting in our favor and taking charge of our sins in the petition for forgiveness before the Father (Lk 23,34). In him we have been reconciled. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not holding anyone's faults against them, but entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5,19)
This is the excess of God’s love reveled in Jesus Christ that is going to have a limitless power to winnower evil, blame, hatred, distance. He assumes our guilty existence, that of the sinners, and he takes our place, up to the point of not only replacing us, but also to represent us before the Father until an ultimate and definitive restoration is reached that will imply a total renewal (Rev 21,5).
And this total and restoring love, this grace of reconciliation, which guilty person is it intended for? Not to any guilty but to the repented one. This is our irrevocable part, this is the gift’s task, this the most expensive grace, the most free answer, the most valuable. To regret such wickedness in exchange for so much goodness received, until we listen from the Innocent his final judgment upon us: Innocent (Lk 23, 43).
We have been delivered from sin, from death and from evil through the strength of a Lamb and this paradoxical reality of the christian way is the brightest truth and, at the same time, the most striking, because it presents the all-weakness, the non violence, the non power, as the true power that bursts the powers of evil. The Passion of Christ opens a new path of relationship between men and God, and between us as sons and brothers: He who is innocent looks for the guilty one in order to save him, he who is innocent doesn't make use of violence to save the guilty one from his error, but rather the provocation of a love in excess that can paralyze the vertiginous race of evilness. Until the guilty admits that “truly this was the Son of God” (Mt 27, 54).
We have been washed in the blood of the Innocent (Jn1,7), and ever since, martyrdom is the most radical way to follow Jesus and, therefor, the way of the Church. To follow him will lead the human being to put his feet in his hurting footprints, but that lead to the morning of Easter, to the presence of the Risen.
Lord Jesus, face us with all the innocence of your life and reveal to us the truth of ourselves, of our vengeful envies, of our allowed distances, of our since of omission because we turn away so as not to see. Purify, Lord of mercy, our heart and give it the light of this grace of reconciliation “that is its destiny”. Strip our hatreds and wrongdoings, the sordid stratagems of evil that pierce us until a dangerous and mortal vacuum is created. Free us, Lord of Innocence, from our wounds that wound others, from our assassin violences, from our sinuous malice which we never make the point of eradicating and which we hide, perpetuating it until death. Lord, blessed Innocence, give us the grace of being able to asume evil, of embracing goodness, of bearing our own blame and the foreign one, of feeling responsables for the evil that a brother suffers and also the evil he commits. Don’t let us leave washing our hands, shaking our hands as if we had no part in this fierce battle. Baptize us, Lord, in the Passover so as to be born again. Defend us, Lord, innocent Victim for our sins. Holy and Lord Jesus Christ, we want to live this Passover washed by the innocent blood, washed by your innocent blood. Lord of all goodness, pass through our lives rooting out the most irreductible evilness.
We follow you, Innocent who walks towards death upon the Cross. We are going with you towards Jerusalem. We commit to you, we will take sides with you in this Judgment upon the World.
Happy Passover of the Innocent who saves!
Comunidad de la Conversion (Community of the Conversion)
1.- That screech. When evil encloses us, it makes us groan, it breaks our voice, we complain… But evil has its own sound when it hurts us, it’s the screech of existence, the strident sound that is out of tune in life as a whole. We are not made for evil the same way our ears cannot bare that unpleasant sound, unharmonious, long-lasting. There’s a disproportion when it comes to evil, an excess, that makes us fall or think that it has the last word, but we are mistaken there precisely because neither does it have the last word nor does the mystery of evil prevail in this life.
The experience we all share is that against evil we could verify the presence of goodness. Of so much goodness! Maybe the most profound question we should ask ourselves is not “Why evil?” but rather “Why goodness?” And bet on good in order to openly declare it present in the world, around us, so as to recognize it, to prove its evidence or, for us to admit as well, our inability to leave what abducts our life daily and pay attention to that goodness that is there and is not greeted.
2. Who do we owe so much goodness to?
“The extent of evil is measures by the power of its antidote”. The antidote against evil won’t be another but INNOCENCE, that of the Child and of the Man who will die on the Cross and this way, evil will be assumed by He who does not commit evil, who is only Goodness. It will be for evil itself an unbearable challenge because the Innocent, he who does no harm, he who will never answer back to evil with evil, never the less, has in his innocence the definite strength against it.
We owe so much goodness as there is in the world not to any innocence, but to an INNOCENT LOVE. God, who has heard our cry, and has made himself present, like he did from the beginning with a love of mercy and tenderness, has a power against the afflicting evil but his power passes through the most radical truth: his own, his own innocence that assumes our pain and our suffering.
Incarnation is God’s hug to our human condition that suffers the stinger of evil but it’s also the mortal strike to evil: the Innocence of the God made man to save us will be the stinger against evil.
3. To whom we owe so much goodness. We adore, there for, He to whom we owe so much goodness, He who made himself present when we had no one to protect us, he who assumed our guilt or our feeble condition up to the point of laying in a manger, He who can do us no harm because He presents himself unarmed, wrapped in swaddling clothes, new born, in the arms of Mary, his Mother, and of Joseph.
Our world, with no guilts and with no apologies or, on the contrary troubled by guilt with no defendant or the guilt as an eternal and lacerating punishment, longs for this freedom, the one that we receive from Jesus’ innocence, today a Baby in Bethlehem.
Our world in constant tension due to the forces that collide up to the point of causing division among us, that void our longing for reconciliation and forgiveness, has in the devine Innocence of the New Born the Saint Way along which to transit until peace is achieved.
Our world, attacked by anguish, despair, loneliness and selfishness, will only be saved by this loving Innocence that restores the first Beauty of the devine plan for Creation.
Only the Innocent one can give forgiveness and achieve the definite reconciliation because only He who is not guilty can forgive the guilty one. That is why, in Him, in Jesus, lies our hope for forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.
Before He to whom we owe such goodness as we all experiment throughout the day, throughout our life, we want to prostrate giving thanks, blessing his Name worshipping with no truce, adoring Him. Before Him we want to learn of his Innocence and we want to hold on to It in order to be saved by the hug of his limitless goodness. If only a wave of true love would extent itself through our world, if it started in the secret of our heart and were covering the face of the earth until a new birth were made possible, a novelty in love and the goodness that He who does no harm to anyone brings to us.
May our desires burn next to this Bonfire of innocent Love and the hard rocks of our heart soften, of our human relationships, of our social structures, so that the wave of evil may come to an end and be defeated by the Wind, the soft Breeze of Goodness that Jesus of Nazaret brought to Earth.
Merry Christmas 2017!
Augustinian Sisters, OSA
Monasterio de la Conversión, Sotillo de la Adrada (Ávila), España
Monasterio de la Encarnación, Pueblo Libre (Lima), Perú