Sunday, April 13, 2014

Witnessing in Spite of Ourselves

Then Ilûvatar spoke, and he said: “Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Ilûvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Today, Palm Sunday, at Mass we read the Passion of Our Lord according to Matthew.

Consider this scene from two perspectives - and realize that Tolkien was referring (among other things) to this ...

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him.  They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head.  And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him. (Mat. 27:27-31)

The soldiers are venting their rage.  They are in control, in command.  They are ridiculing Jesus, showing him up, mocking Him.  They are abusing Him.   From their perspective, they are the actors and the authors of this drama.  They are the composers of this music.

If the music is from Illuvatar, they are "altering it in his despite".  But "no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source" in Him.  And if you try to play your own tune, you soon find out that, in attempting this, you prove but His "instrument in the devising of things more wonderful," which you yourself have not imagined.

And so, in heaping upon Jesus ignominy, ridicule and the very spit of contempt from their vicious mouths, they are clothing Him in His glory.  A coronet of thorns will forever circle the head of the One who redeemed all contempt, all shame, all ingnominy, all suffering, for our sake.  They think they are mocking Him, but they are glorifying Him.

For even the devil in pushing against the good serves as a witness to it.

No comments: