29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus speaks about his fundamental mission to give himself in love “the son of man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”. Both the first and the second reading today are the readings that Holy Mother Church gives us for Good Friday so this Sunday our prayers and thoughts are directed towards the saving sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.
We can take some things for granted - believing them but never really thinking about them. For example, what would you answer someone who asked “How does Jesus’ suffering and death save us?”.
Well we believe Jesus is true God and true man. The one divine person, the 2nd person of the blessed trinity possesses a divine nature and a human nature. Whatever Jesus did and suffered and experienced is done and suffered and experienced by God. God was born in Bethlehem, God was a carpenter, God wept, God rejoiced, God suffered, God died. Jesus did, Jesus is God, so God did. The human nature he joined to his divine nature made it possible to do these things – but Jesus who is God – does them.
So because he is a man Jesus could offer to God the Father in response to the tragedy of sin a truly human act of love, obedience, sorrow and reparation – and because he is God that act is of infinite value, more than enough to repair the damage of all sin and to win God’s loving forgiveness. An historical event, a human act, but one done by God. An act which therefore heals the breach between God and Man caused by sin, and not just any sin but that original sin which we call the sin of Adam – the sin which closed heaven and put mankind under the power of the devil. This is healed by the cross, the devils power is destroyed and heaven’s gates are thrown open. The resurrection of Jesus is the cause of our faith for it is the sign and proof that God the Father has accepted the cross as the perfect loving sacrifice of praise, it is the sign and proof that the cross leads to new life, and that God and man are now destined for union in heaven. In the sacraments, first in baptism and above all in Holy Mass Jesus unites us to himself and allows us to offer ourselves, our human acts of love, obedience, sorrow and reparation with him.
But that means if we are to join Jesus - that before the resurrection, - there must come in some form or other, both as an historical and spiritual reality, the cross.