August 12, 2014

THERE IS NO MORE COMEDIC MOMENT...:

The Comedy of the Cross : Jesus does not laugh in any of the four Gospels. This fact might seem strange to us, and even a little scandalous--isn't Jesus fully man and fully God? Isn't laughter natural to men? (Brother Gabriel Torrett, O.P., 8/12/14, World on Fire)

[W]hy doesn't Jesus laugh in the Gospels? Without pretending to give a definitive answer, we might consider a few relevant points. As a general principle, it is important to note that the Gospels are not attempting to provide journalistic, play-by-play accounts of every moment in Jesus' life; they are records of salvation history, of Jesus' mission as redeemer of mankind and revelator of the face of God. We also might note that there are plenty of other characteristically human acts that the Gospel does not record Jesus doing: running, jumping, swimming, washing dishes, taking a bath, and on and on. No one feels that the absence of these activities from the Gospel record casts doubt on Jesus' genuine humanity. 

But one might legitimately respond that laughing is not like those other activities; laughter is proper to man and expresses a deep aspect of the human person. In this vein, Aristotle argued that the ability to laugh is inseparable from man's rationality, which cannot be said for running, jumping, or bathing. So the question remains. 

A more satisfying answer seems to lie in the nature of comedy. Comedy is not just a matter of cracking jokes, however elevated or sophisticated they may be. Fundamentally comedy is the dynamic realization of freedom and love, especially as they emerge from slavery or hatred. As the literary critic Louise Cowan puts it: 
"Archetypally, the comic action is the psyche moving out of stasis into the rhythm of the life force; culturally, it is the flexibility of the community prevailing over rigid and oppressive custom; psychologically, it is the heart finding its right order, its abundance, in love; and anagogically, it is the soul's participation, through the komos, the marriage feast, in universal blessedness."
Viewed in this light, the entire action of Christ in the world is the perfect and final comedy, with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Our Lord as the definitive event that destroys death, slavery, hatred, and abandonment forever, replacing them with redemption, adoption, the law of love, and participation in the divine life. 


...than when God despairs of Himself on the Cross.
Posted by at August 12, 2014 5:24 PM
  
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