A question arose one day from some close relatives while discussing the severe actions perpetrated by some of the most heinous individuals of our recent history, as to who is in Hell. These relatives were positive that those individuals should be in Hell and the certainty that they were was enough said. Then the question directed to me as to what my opinion was on this matter became a bit heated when I told them we could not determine who is in Hell, nor could we be certain as to any others still living that have earned the reputation of horrible human beings due to the most severe manner they treat other humans, that Hell is where they belong. “How can you say that?” was their response. “You know very well what these so-called persons have done to the unborn, or citizens of their own countries, and the threat they convey to the rest of humanity by cutting off heads of Christians and raping women or murdering innocent children.” I certainly became the outsider if even for a moment and the air was a bit heavy as my family members deemed my opinion as lower than theirs.
“You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for He makes the sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” Mt. 5: 42-45.
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Lk 23: 34.
Isn’t it strange how good meaning people forget these words of Jesus, looking at others as they themselves might not remember that they too are in need of God’s Mercy, and in the moment of heated passion towards someone who does wrong, no matter how horrible, forget what forgiveness is all about?
In retrospect, we all must go back to that day on Calvary, when three crosses were erected for two criminals and the Son of Man, Jesus Christ; and all were put to death. Two had earned civil punishment, but our God was placed there to forgive you and me and all humanity forevermore, our sins through Divine Justice, because a Loving God always forgives.
If its alright to hate our enemies and seek their demise via intently construed methods of punishment to satisfy the very inhuman practices transgressed against us or others by ending their existence, then Jesus’ death on the Cross was all in vain. This means the Paschal Mystery including the Incarnation of Jesus and all of the stories throughout the Old Testament were just fairy tales that were the cruel thoughts of someone making fun of God. But then, if all this was simply a fabrication with no real conclusion, it means that God wasted the creation of all that was created for man and his ultimate eternal existence with Almighty God. In essence, if that is reality we may not have been born since the very reason for man’s ultimate life with God was because of a Divine Love for we who sinned. Remember the words of the Exultet at the Easter Vigil; “O Happy fault of mine that brought Jesus Christ to me.” Perhaps we need to rethink all that leans toward decisions to hold grudges, extend hatred towards anyone who sins, and create methods to bury those who are different than us and perform evil events in the world today.
Who did Jesus die for? You, me, and all who are human and live as sinners with God’s Eternal, Lasting Forgiveness given freely and in Love.