Holy Week Religious Dramas – George Nedumparambil
Prior to that, Catholic Church across the world, a religious drama is played out on a script based on events described in Bible about Jesus’ arrest, his trial, judgment by Pilot, crucifixion and finally the resurrection.
The drama is spread over three days. Thursday evening is for recreation of Last Supper. On that day, Jesus had broken bread and given it to assembled disciplines and saying “Take this and eat it, for this is my body”. In the same way Jesus took wine and passed it on saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you”. In the Communion service that follows, the priest gives out a coin sized host saying, “Body of Jesus”. If it is a recreation of Jesus’ last supper with his disciple, then on that evening he is not dead yet. I therefore wonder how logical and appropriate it is for the church to have created Jesus’ real body pieces based on the transubstantiation ideology. Is it not cannibalism to be eating real body of another human being whether cooked or raw whether the man is dead or alive? Did Jesus really say that substance conversion of the nature as taught by Catholic Church would take place? The answer is “No”.
Some church fathers that have lived hundreds of years ago and his cronies may have gotten together and decided for us that it was what Jesus had ordained. Only the Catholic and Orthodox churches subscribe to this view as far as I know of. Martin Luther tried to put some sense into the mind of the then Pope that it was not what Jesus had intended. But the Pope would have none of it and we are stuck with it. The branch of Christianity that Martin Luther headed believed it was merely a symbolic ritual in remembrance of Jesus.
Even the mushrooming independent churches also believe it to be symbolic ritual to commemorate the memory of Jesus. Therefore, Catholic Church needs to reinvestigate the matter further. In the meantime, I don’t believe on Maundy Thursday, the Church should not kill Jesus even before he is really dead and distribute Communion saying “Body of Jesus” and instead the priest should simply say “In Memory of Jesus” while distributing it to congregation.
Come Friday, it is day of wailing for the Catholics. They proclaim that Jesus died to take away our sins. His blood cleaned us out. The idea that Father of Jesus caused Jesus to be born as a human to get killed as a sacrificial lamb is sickening to say the least. Come on Catholics, we are living in 21st Century. Back in Jesus’ time, it may have passed off as the greatest sacrifice for anyone to make. Not any longer. Our value system has changed. Today if any biological earthly father causes his offspring to be similarly crucified or killed through other means, that father shall get marked as a criminal and a child abuser. He will then have to face the full might of law and may have to face even death penalty himself. It is believed that this sacrifice by Jesus put an end to all other sacrifices mentioned in Old Testament. The point is that the idea of human sacrifice of Jesus has done its time. People of this century cannot accept such a horrific ideology or theology. They would say that surely the all-powerful god should have had hundreds of ways to forgive sins without having to resort to human sacrifice. It is for Vatican to debate this issue.
In the above connection, it is interesting to note that in the last Gospel, John introduces a concept. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness”. Jesus story is not so much about human sacrifice but there appears to be a greater purpose in his coming; a purpose that Jesus described as “Eternal Life”. I am of the opinion that the Church is not emphasizing enough on this aspect and it is stuck on the sacrifice theology. Jesus says in John 17.3, whilst being in conversation with his Father, “Now this is eternal life that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who you have sent”.
The tragedy is that the Church has to keep this verse suppressed as it runs afoul of the concept of Trinity. In this verse, Jesus unequivocally identifies who the true God is. The culmination of the religious drama ending of Sunday must not be so much to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and subsequent ascension but the greater purpose of believers living in the hope of finding to be worthy to share in the Eternal Life promised by Jesus when the Father sends him again to judge the dead and living. Accordingly, I believe that Jesus story needs to be recast in order to remain relevant, one that suppresses the human sacrifice and instead elevating the greater purpose of Eternal Life as the main theme and theology of Catholicism. Happy Easter !