Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The injustice of it all

When we turn on the news, we often cry out in helpless indignation "That's outrageous", "it's not fair", "this is wrong". Whenever a controversial issue arises, the losing side always complains bitterly of the lack of justice.

When we consider the Scourging at the Pillar, it is hard to think of a more unjust punishment. Pilate has failed to find any case against Jesus, and yet Pilate uses his authority as governor to send him off for a cruel scourging. Surely this constitutes a breach of trust which makes the failings of the Enron, Worldbank, and FBI leaders pale in comparison.

When Our Lord suffers at the hands of others we can always ask ourselves two things: first, how can we change to be more like Jesus when we suffer at the hands of others? second, how can we change to be less like the people who inflicted such cruel punishment on the Blessed Savior?

In particular, let us focus on suffering which results from the abuse of authority. We have all heard how we need to give to (and suffer for the sake of) those who are needier than ourselves. But will we suffer for someone who is in authority over us? When our boss or parent makes a poor decision that causes us grief, do we compare him to the pointy-haired boss in the Dilbert cartoons? Are we willing to content ourselves with dealing directly with our boss or do we take it on ourselves to exact revenge by ridiculing the decision to others? What about the leaders in our Church and our nation who implement policies we consider unjust or incorrect? Are we willing to suffer for their sake as Jesus does? In light of our Lord's actions, do we have any right to speak ill of our leaders and pointy-haired bosses? Certainly we have the right to publicly disagree with and object to their actions - but does our Lord wish us to grumble as Dilbert does?

And coming to the second question: how do we treat others who are in our power? younger siblings, children, wife (yes I know I should spend a few pages on that topic to properly explain what I mean), or most importantly the people we pay for services. I've lost count of the number of times I've felt justified in becoming irate simply because I was "the customer". Paying someone money brings me instant authority over them and how quickly I have Lorded it over them like the Gentiles do. By abusing my authority, I too have cruelly scourged the Lord's flesh.

Lord have mercy.

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