The Word Among Us

July 2006 Issue

God So Loved the World

Answering the "Why" of Jesus' Death

By: Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

The accounts of the Passion, especially in the Synoptic Gospels, which are so spare in style and thoroughly lacking in any theological or edifying comment, take us back to the early days of the church. To use the modern language of "form criticism," these were the first sections of the Gospels to be "formed" in the oral tradition and circulate among Christians. In this phase, facts are the predominant factor, and everything can be summarized in two events: death and resurrection.

However, this stage quickly passed. Believers soon asked about the "why" of the Passion. Why did Jesus suffer? And the answer was, "for our...

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