In the Lord I am now freed from death as my sins have become his.
David knew, once he realized the enormity of his sin, that the wrong he committed in the eyes of the kingdom would be used by God to humble him. Perhaps that is why anyone of us can try to be reconciled with God and put the evil of our misdeeds before the cross. I read somewhere that Jesus appeared before Augustine and told him he wanted something the saint had. Can you imagine having that opportunity to be confronted by the Lord and that you have the very result of your actions exposed?
Augustine showed the Lord all of his writings, and the efforts he spent hours preparing for God’s people. How exquisite it can be that Jesus is giving any one of us an opportunity to display to him what he already knew of and give us credit while still here? Jesus responded quite sternly; “I don’t want these.” “I have come for your sins.”
Imagine the essence of God, our creator, who sent Jesus his Son for that reason, to recover the very treasures we hold onto in the form of willing disobedience, the sins of the flesh. In this case, the flesh is anything we use to adore, worship, and many times cover over so no one else can view and say; “See, I knew he wasn’t perfect as his demeanor shows he is weak and ignores the very passionate manner that His Son extended to you and me”.
The very meaning of the cross, each step of ignominy, the slaps in his face, and the feeling of humble actions most people he came to redeem threw back in his person. Think for a moment of the effort you must have for guiding your children to respect authority, including the very need you must have, and your child turns to say, “No, I will not listen to you!” Where have you heard that same cry? Each time sin becomes present within us it is the Christ of God who hears the same words from us and does everything to forgive the startling attitude we so easily answer with.
Beginning this evening, we will be sitting with Jesus and his disciples in the upper room as he shows what humility looks like as he washes our feet. The lowest form of service when the master becomes a servant to you and me. Then he chooses us to become priests to do the same as him in using that grace to forgive others for their sins. Finally, in order to understand the very blows of nails into his body, is to prove that God paid the ransom for that sin we were hiding, hoping no one would know about. That is the same scenario that Jesus referred to with Augustine, and the same essence we receive each time we partake of his Body and Blood. This Sacrament is not a reward for something we have done, rather it is the sharing of his presence that brings forgiveness that began at the Last Supper.
Lest we forget, the suffering of Jesus, the cross on Calvary, his horrible death, burial and Resurrection all started with the most essential experience; The Incarnation!
If, as some heresies have said, that Jesus was born as a man and then at some point the Holy Spirit caused the Son of God to enter this holy man, we would not have been forgiven. Jesus was already within the womb of Mary and took on humanity before his human birth. That is why for the very sins we committed before, the sins we are now committing, and any sin we will be guilty of in the future, went to the cross in the person of Jesus. He became our sin! This is the only reason the Father God sent his Son. As some may not want to teach this, the only way God could forgive us was to become the sin that we were. The divine became the very essence of sin and it would take a divine person to erase guilt of man. This is what we must dwell upon during this Easter Triduum.
Ralph B. Hathaway