Jesus eats with sinners, heals outsiders, cures people no matter which day of the week it is, even touches lepers and so has become unclean. Everybody knows a Messiah is not supposed to do that kind of stuff. He shocks by his unpretentiousness, by the directness of the God he reveals. He forgives sins; even dares to forgive a woman caught in the very act of adultery and then embarrasses her male accusers into dropping the stones they’re aiming, not because she isn’t guilty, but because we all are guilty. He knows we’ve all failed over and over again. This is our shared identity, our shared truth, the reason he has come – because all are sinners. We are all with him beloved of the Father and all desperately in need of his mercy.
Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for us, there to take on the burden of our sin, because he knows we could not possibly have borne it on our own. Even more than that, he has become our sin - to dupe it, remove its vicious sting and halt the death sentence against us.
Photograph of the east cloister by Brother Brian.