Sixth Word

“It is finished.

John 19:30

What is finished with the Sixth Word is our redemption. But what is redemption?

Redemption is the rescue of human beings from sin and its consequences to which we are bound as prisoners.

Consider this Latin phrase: “Honor est in honorante, injuria in injuriato

Honor is measured by the dignity of him who gives it, offense by the dignity of him who receives it. Orthodoxy is that because our sin is an offense to God whose dignity is perfect and inestimable, we, being finite beings and imperfect, have no way of settling the offence. Human action alone will never repair the damage, and thus we are jailed within our sinful nature.

However, through the incarnation, suffering, and death of Jesus Christ, who is perfect and without sin, the fine is paid and thus we are ransomed or redeemed. We can be free.

What offence was committed? I wasn’t there, why should I be on the hook for this? How did all this happen? If God were all-powerful, why would he permit this mess in the first place?

Our culture has corrupted sin into meaning being at best naughty or at worst a bad person, or a blood feud with God. That isn’t sin.

Buddhism is helpful in describing sin as all life being suffering; suffering is caused by unsatisfied desire; ending suffering means ending desire.

Think of where we’ve been: forgiveness and reciprocity, the balance of our own light and dark sides, family, literature, and acceptance. Jesus, on the cross and in his life, has shown us what we need to do to end suffering. He’s done his part.

The rest – loving our neighbors as ourselves, choosing good will over bad, being vulnerable, not complaining – is what lies ahead every day for us. While he is finished, we are not.

Instrumental Response: Jesus comforts the women of Jerusalem, Le Chemin de la Croix, Op. 29, Dupré

Seventh Word