Sunday, April 15, 2018

Jesus, "the expiation for our sins"

We continue to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, who, in the words of the second reading, 1 John 2:1-5a, "is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world."  In the first reading, Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19, Peter gives witness to the people that God "has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead, of this we are witnesses."

Jesus, the Risen One, sits at the right hand of His Father, and ours, in heaven, making intercession for us.  He is the one about whom Peter reminds us "is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world." Jesus became sin itself upon the cross for us! In the shedding of His blood, Jesus destroyed sin and death for all. In every Eucharist, we drink the blood of Jesus and eat of His Body, as the bread and wine are transformed into Jesus through the words of consecration by the priest. In coming to us as food and drink, Jesus destroys sin and death in us as well!

Oh, the greatness of our God.  Jesus, the Son of God, held nothing back in reconciling us to the Father and showing us how much God loves each one of us: unto death!  And just as Peter said to the crowd to whom He was giving witness,  I know you acted out ignorance, just as your leaders did"  in killing Jesus on the cross, so, too, Jesus says to us in our sinfulness that we act out of ignorance. If we truly knew what we were doing, for instance, when we act violently toward one another,  in to the point of using weapons of mass destruction, we truly would have a change of heart, as did Paul on the road to Damascus when Jesus asked him: Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?

Oh, the goodness and the greatness of God's love for us!

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