And he said to them … was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? The disciples who met Jesus on the road did not expect the messiah to die. Indeed, why Jesus had to die is a question that has puzzled people throughout Christian history. The traditional answer given was that He was balancing out our sins. Today we have an appreciation that becoming human, as God did in the historical person Jesus, includes dying. Jesus’ dying was inevitable, but his resurrection was not. His resurrection reveals that “glory” is our destiny, that there will be something called glory after death. The way Jesus died also reveals deep spiritual lessons. Jesus’ crucifixion teaches us what the violence in us can do, what the judgments we make about each other can do, what happens when we desert those in trouble, what people with power can do to those without it, and so many other things. That Jesus died is our consolation when we ourselves are dying because we have a Lord who experienced death and companions us in our dying. The manner of his death is a beacon for our living, keeping us aware of those death-dealing impulses in all of us, and awakening compassion in us for victims like him. We puzzle about all this together with those disciples who met Jesus on the road in today’s Gospel.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia