What must Jesus have felt as he hung on that cross? Why did he let us do that to him? He could have stopped it all but he let us hate him.
I stood in the carport at the age of nine or ten with a baseball glove and a tennis ball, playing catch. Just me and the wall. Our cat had just had a litter of kittens, three tiny little things with rambunctious energy, scurrying all over. My father came out of the house and jumped in the car to go to the store. I stood aside as he started the engine. And as he backed out, the worst and the best day of my childhood began.
It happened too quickly for me to do anything. The wheels were rolling. The kitten was running. As I stood there helplessly, my father ran over one of the kittens. I screamed. I kicked the car as hard as I could. The mother cat ran up to lick her kitten. My dad stopped and got out to see what I was so upset about.
The ball in my hand became my weapon and my father the object of my anger. As he saw the kitten, I hit him as hard as I could with that ball. I ran up and beat him with my fists. Tears ran down his cheeks but he let me keep hitting him. He could have stopped me but he didn’t. He didn’t talk. He just cried. I can only imagine how much he hurt but he let me hate him.
When it was over, he knelt down and, as I fell into his arms, he held me tight. The guilt flooded me but still he didn’t talk. He just held me and we cried. He let my hate turn back into love. And when it was over we were one.
As with every expression, this one falls short. But as we go through Holy Week, this most important week of the year, the worst and the best time of our Christian heritage, know that Jesus hanging on the cross is God allowing us the time to let our hate turn back into love. He could have stopped us but he let us beat him and hurl rocks at him. He let us hate him.
And when it is all over, he reaches down and holds us. When it is all over, we and are our Father are one.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.