What's God doing on a cross?

José Antonio Pagola. Translator: José Antonio Arroyo
According to the gospel narrative, those who walked past the cross on Calvary and some of the leaders “jeered at him” and, seeing him so helpless, they mocked him and said, “If you are the king of the Jews save yourself.” Jesus, however, said nothing. His silence remains a mystery. And because he is the Son of God, he will remain on the cross until his death.
Some questions are inevitable: how is it possible for a God to be crucified for the sake of humanity? Do we realize what we are saying? What is God doing on a cross? How can a religion be based on such an absurd situation?
A “Crucified God” is both a revolution and a scandal that really makes us question all our ideas about a God whom we claim to know. A Crucified God does not have any feature of the Supreme Being that all religions imagine.
This “Crucified God” is not omnipotent and majestic, immutable and happy, free from any suffering, persecution and even death. With this Cross, we give up our faith in God, or we start thinking of a new and surprising kind of God who, accepting our own sufferings, loves us beyond our comprehension.
In front of the Crucified, we begin to realize that God, in its ultimate mystery, is someone who suffers with us. Our miseries touch him. Our sufferings affect him. There is no God whose life, so to speak, remains untouched by our grief, tears and sorrows. God is present in every Calvary in the world.
This “Crucified God” does not accept a frivolous or selfish faith in a God who is omnipotent at the service of our own whims and desires. This is a God who makes us look at the suffering, neglect and destitution of so many victims of injustice and disgrace. This is the God we are going to find when we get closer to anyone who is “crucified”.
Many of us Christians continue to take all kinds of detours in order to
avoid seeing the “Crucified God”. We have learnt even to look up towards the Cross of Jesus, and thus avoid seeing so many who are being crucified right in front of us. Yet, the real way to celebrate the Passion of our Lord consists in reviving our owncompassion. Without it, there is no faith in the Crucified God, and the door is opened for all kinds of manipulations. When we kiss a cross, may our eyes be fixed on those who, near or far from us, live in suffering.