Sacred Scripture for Sunday, November 24, 2013 points toward a sermon about the King on the Cross.
Known to many as the Feast of Christ the King, Luke's 23rd chapter shows three antagonists challenging Jesus on the cross with the question:
"Are you not the Messiah of God, King of the Jews? If so, save yourself and us" (Luke 23:39).
Leaders, soldiers and a criminal on the cross next to Jesus ask that query.
A King who winds up on the cross.
And, at a place called the Skull.
An executed Messiah.
A myth is a story that tells a profound truth.
This is the 21st century tale of redemptive violence as the ruling myth. First or twenty-first!
The One who saves himself and believers from death at the hands of evil people is the myth.
How does Jesus fit into this myth?
The means of redemption from evil is killing, is violence, huge, if called for and necessary.
King on the cross.
Jesus in the lone one who can save us from the myth of redemptive violence.
Jesus steers us from the willful illusion that we will be freed from evil by killing our enemies.
He takes us to the other end of violence: suffering and dying in the dark descent within where initiation in the baptism of Jesus drowns out the ego, the self.
Forgiveness of enemies are the soul of what we call the paschal mystery of new life.
The Messiah can't kill evil.
Yet, by dying to evil, to self, like us, he transforms evil through love.
Making peace through the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:20).
Reconciling to himself all things on earth or in heaven, that is.
The Word of God.
This Holy Sacrament we become in Holy Communion. Taking, eating, being what and who we receive in the Body of Christ, as the ancient Augustine reminds.