I so loved the comparison Bishop Barron made between Jesus and Frodo in his discussion of The Lord of the Rings. The way that evil is ultimately defeated, by both Christ and by the Fellowship, is so unexpected. Evil isn't conquered by a greater evil, it is conquered by good -- the ultimate expression of goodness: self-sacrificial love. The love that holds nothing back, that offers oneself entirely no matter the consequences. He "allows the evil of the world to spend itself on him."
"How does Christ battle evil? He doesn't come as a warrior. He doesn't come fighting evil on its own terms -- I will beat injustice with a greater injustice, I will conquer violence with a greater violence. Rather, he allows the violence of the world, and the evil of the world to spend itself on him. He journeys into Mordor -- so he journeys into the land of sin and death, and then he explodes it from within by swallowing it up in the divine mercy." - Bishop Barron on The Lord of the Rings (Part One)
Frodo carries the ring, the embodiment of evil, until it ultimately consumes him. An imperfect image of Christ, Frodo gives himself entirely to his quest in order to shield the rest of the world from the evil he knows and understands so intimately.
And though the innocence and goodness of the hobbit was ultimately unable to withstand the power of the ring -- much like we as imperfect humans fall short -- we find that Christ was able. He offered himself up to the cross and allowed the weight of our sin to cover him. He left behind the beauty and goodness of the Shire, he journeyed into Mordor, and he did it all for us. And for that I am so thankful.
This essay was originally published at www.lilyandmama.com