A number of people who claim to have gotten a glimpse of hell describe the sufferings of the damned as directly related to their sins. Moreover, the people in hell suffer agonizing torments in their very flesh, but they can never die. For example, if a woman died having had abortions without repenting for it, she would suffer tortures in her womb. And people who harbored bitter hate towards someone were tormented in their heart, literally. Furthermore, the people who saw hell affirm that the fallen angels- who nowadays go by names such as "guiding spirits"- are the ones who are in charge of the tormenting.
Now, one may recall that Jesus took on the sins of mankind upon his own body and died to win over salvation for all who avail themselves of it. Adding to this that Jesus, being God, never sinned, it is interesting to ponder about the meaning of the wounds he suffered in his Passion. After all, although many saints attest to this, it is not hard to imagine that his human tormentors were diabolically inspired. So if Jesus never sinned, what might it mean that chunks of his flesh were scourged off? What were the offenses of Jesus?
To start with, Jesus told all his followers to eat his flesh. When they realized that he was serious, many left him (John 6: 55, 60-61, 66). And although his apostles did not understand how this could be, their conviction as to his Messiahship kept them from deserting him like the rest. So the flesh of Jesus was pounded thousands of times and cruelly scourged. For, how dare this man feed his flesh to other people..?
Jesus also wore a crown of thorns. How could this virtue and commandment-loving, hypocrite-scolding, non-pretentious, miracle working exorcist nobody think that he can rub elbows with truly sophisticated royalty and claim kingship? Certainly those thorns must have caused intense headache and mental anguish. Didn't this same non-schooled peasant go by "teacher" and seemed to know everything, even using the same teaching seats as the illustrious scribes and teachers of the law in the temple?
Boy did this man cause trouble, traveling all over the Jewish territory, bringing attention to himself. And those hands of his, which he used to touch people with, healing and comforting them, winning them over for himself. He surely deserved to have them fixed in place with nice big nails, so he can finally stop all that nonsense.
Oh how he tormented many with the words coming out of his mouth, saying this and that are sins and must be stopped, speaking of God as if he knew him intimately, addressing the crowds, talking to anyone who would approach him. But slaps and punches weren't enough. That bitter vinegar wine on his parched and cracked lips was the perfect touch.
So he comforted many? So the sorrowing found a welcoming shoulder to rest on? But let them try to lean on his shoulder now, right there on that spot where the cross tore into his flesh, rubbing against his bone at every single step. Who needs a shoulder to cry on now?
Love God and your neighbor as yourself. Love the sinner into repentance. Love the despised and the losers, the insignificant and especially the tiny, bratty children. Where is all that life-blood now, the instrument of his love? Spilled on the road to the cross, gushing out of his heart, defeated by a lance with a single thrust, no longer beating, his very heart.
Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
And so Jesus Christ gave up his body and blood... and it accomplished its goal; it merited salvation- but not just salvation, also our respect, our love and our zeal. And so we Catholics celebrate every year the feast of Corpus Cristi, the ceremony that is meant to remind us of what Jesus said we are to eat at every mass, his very body and blood, recognizing in it at the same time his soul and divinity.
All Christians in fact are invited to celebrate the love of Christ for his creation, made manifest in the life of Jesus, all he taught and all he suffered, out of pure love.
Died and destined for hell... but given a second chance. (Click here for Spanish version)