Today we remember the cost of our sins and the Love Who paid the price.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26).
The photo to the right is from a scene in The Passion of the Christ. It is unforgettable. Jesus not only accepts the cross — He caresses it. He welcomes it. He knows that it alone is the way to Eternal Life. He knows that His love poured out pro multis, for the many, on the Cross, will give eternal life to those who accept it.
What does it mean to accept it?
It means to surrender to the truth that we are sinners and we need a savior. It is to recognize our own crosses and carry them, yoked with Jesus. (More on this glorious yoke below). It is to recognize that our heaviest cross is the hatred and unforgiveness in our hearts, the center of all our sins — pride. Yes, this is the center, the Original Sin that plagues all of us. This is what Jesus meant when He said:
What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:20-23).
G.K. Chesterton, a prolific and wise British author of the early 20th century once said, “What is wrong with the world? ME.”
My daughter asked me last night, as we were watching Jesus of Nazareth, “Why does it seem like all the men rejected Jesus?”
The rejection is not limited to men. It is not even limited to Pharisees and Saducees. We are all susceptible. There is one common illness. We all have the spiritual virus of pride. This is how it manifests and spreads:
“I can do it myself.”
“I will never forgive what he/she did to me.”
“He/She should know better.”
There are many more ways. This spiritual virus is prolific. There is only one inoculation: Carrying the Cross with Jesus, and being yoked to Him in our sorrows and pain. It is the only way.
Sometimes I will hear people say, “I send Jesus away from me when I sin.” No. Absolutely not! Jesus is always there! Look at the picture! He embraces us when we sin!
It is we who fight Him. It is we who fight the solution. The only answer is to surrender to His love.
Surrender our unforgiveness. Surrender our hatred. Surrender our hateful thoughts. Surrender our disordered desires for things that do not give us life, both material and spiritual! Surrender our anger.
Jesus is always there waiting for us. He has conquered all of this through His death on the Cross. He looked at the ones hurting Him and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Through Him, with Him, and in Him…we can do this too. At the Cross his Divine Mercy flows pro multis.