Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The Way of the World is Undone

The way
of the world
is violence. 

The way of Christ,
the way of the Cross,
is the undoing of violence.

If we do not understand
the solution, it is because
we have not sufficiently
understood the problem.

The Cross of Christ turns the way of the world on its head. Jesus of Nazareth, who by wicked hands was put to the violence of crucifixion, by that same Cross put death itself to death. Peter preached about this at Pentecost, in Acts 2.

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:22-24)

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”  (Acts 2:32-36)
In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul speaks of this same upending of the way the world thinks, putting everything right side up. What is thought by the world to be foolishness turns out to be the very wisdom of God. The wisdom by which God created the heavens and the earth is the same wisdom by which God finally puts the world right, the wisdom of the Cross.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.  Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength ... It is because of [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25, 30)

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