In the Eucharistic prayers offered today, I noticed a phrase that I had missed before. I can't find the text, but it suggested that the passion of Christ was made to remove our guilt.
This sounds like old fashioned unworthiness talk, but I was interested in the way that the death of Jesus can be seen as a way that removed the guilt of the accused and the condemned. In ages past, I suppose, those accused of crime and punished, could be considered as everlastingly tainted. Their sin, no matter how distant in the past and atoned for, persisted into the present and extended into the future -- an unwashable stain and an unremovable burden that must be borne forever.
Like felons today -- unable to vote even after their debt to society has been paid in full.
But in the death of Jesus, we see an innocent man condemned and crucified unjustly. Could it be that by this action, Jesus plays out the condemnation of unjustly accused, and the eternally (also unjustly) punished, and gives it a new perspective. Those killed by unjust and corrupt regimes of power may cast themselves with Jesus, who accepted his own death and by doing so, undid the stigmatizing power that his death was intended to impose. By enduring the ultimate in criminal deaths, he made a path for criminals to be brought into new, liberated life, unyoked from the shame that societies wish to place upon them forever.
The Salvation obtained by Jesus is thus a liberating one -- freeing the accused to reimagine for themselves a life of freedom that surpasses the ability of human societies to bestow. It glorifies the humiliation of the innocent accused by being an example of Innocence Crucified, and ultimately, Resurrected. We now longer need fear the harshness and accusations of others. Our past no longer hinders us, in the yes of God, who judges justly and not for the sake of pushing the face of the sinner into the dust.