Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What draws you in? ...not a philosophical doctrine nor a program, but a person

"The serpent is the sign for sin. We think of the Book of Genesis: it was the serpent that seduced Eve, that suggested that she sin..." and later God commands [Moses] to lift up the serpent, that is sin, as a flag of victory. It is something that one “cannot understand well if one does not understand what Jesus said in the Gospel. Jesus says...: ‘When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me’.” Lifting up the symbol of their sin and transforming it into an instrument of salvation thus represents the redemption which comes from Christ lifted up on the Cross... 
Christianity... is not a philosophical doctrine, it is not a program of life that enables one to be well formed and to make peace. These are its consequences. 
Christianity is a person... 
a person lifted up on the Cross. A person who emptied himself to save us. He took on sin. And so just as in the desert sin was lifted up, here God made man was lifted up for us. And all of our sins were there... One cannot understand Christianity without understanding this profound humiliation of the Son of God, who humbled himself and made himself a servant unto death on the Cross. 
To serve...
Thanks to the mercy of God, we glory in Christ Crucified. And that is why there is no Christianity without the Cross, and there is no Cross without Jesus Christ...

The heart of God’s salvation is his Son who took upon himself our sins, our pride, our self reliance, our vanity, our desire to be like God. A Christian who is not able to glory in Christ Crucified has not understood what it means to be Christian. Our wounds, those which sin leaves in us, are healed only through the Lord’s wounds, through the wounds of God made man who humbled himself, who emptied himself. This is the mystery of the Cross. It is not only an ornament that we always put in churches, on the altar; it is not only a symbol that should distinguish us from others. The Cross is a mystery: the mystery of the love of God who humbles himself, who empties himself.

Where is your sin? Your sin is there on the Cross. Go and look for it there, in the wounds of the Lord, and your sins shall be healed, your wounds shall be healed, your sins shall be forgiven. God’s forgiveness is not a matter of canceling a debt we have with him. God forgives us in the wounds of his Son lifted up on the Cross. 

Pope Francis concludes this homily by expressing our hope, that “the Lord might draw us to himself and that we might allow ourselves to be healed.” 

In this wonderful reflection we are invited to experience being drawn into Christ's Life, to share in His Life's engagement with God's Love; an engagement of eternal life in time that is not limited to a time defined by death. This experience of Life that is not defined by death, but rather one of creation, a 'bringing-something-out-of-nothing', drawing us toward faith and thus healing us, refreshing us and sending us forth to serve.

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