Monday, March 5, 2012

Glory and Humiliation

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

The Lord was greatly pleased with Abraham who passed the test of faith by willingly offering Isaac, his own beloved son, when asked to do so by the Lord. Although the sacrifice was not consummated, Abraham’s obedience was clearly manifested in taking his son to Mt. Moriah to offer him to the Lord. Thus, God said: “Because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands on the seashore. Your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations on earth shall find blessing.” Not only was Abraham’s faith put to test. What he did proved how devoted he was to God.

Abraham did not withhold from God his own beloved son and so God knows how devoted Abraham was to him. But do we know how devoted God is to us? St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, shows us God’s devotion to us: “(God) did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all.” He who sent his angel to tell Abraham “Do not do the least harm to (the boy)” did not spare his own Son but handed him over to evil men. Do we actually understand what this means? The Face of Jesus, which is as radiant in his glory as God’s only Son, was stricken and defiled when he became Son of Man. Jesus, whose clothes were dazzlingly white in an unearthly way, was stripped naked and covered with nothing but sweat and blood. Jesus, who was glorified by both Moses and Elijah, was condemned to death at the clamor of the people who claimed to follow the teachings of Moses and Elijah. Jesus, whom the Father claimed as his own beloved Son, was handed over by the Father to crucifixion and death. “Son though he was, Jesus learned obedience through suffering.”

It is when we see the great difference between the glory of Christ and his humiliation that we realize the extent of God’s devotion to us. The sublimity of his glory and the baseness of his humiliation both leave us the question: “What would God not do to show his love for us?” Is there still anything he has not yet done to show his love for us? “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not give us everything else along with him?” Is there anything that he has not yet done for us? Will there still be anything that he would not do?

Such love coming from God himself traverses the expanse of heaven and earth, glory and humiliation, height and depth. Such love that only God can give – it is such love that made St. Paul say: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Indeed, we are very sure that God is for us. He handed over his Son. He did not spare his Son just so that we may not perish in our sins. “It is God who acquits us.” He is not our accuser. He desires nothing but our repentance and our salvation. Therefore, let us listen to Jesus his Son and trust that he will bring us to salvation. Let us obey the words of God’s beloved Son for he alone has the words of eternal life – He is the Life. Let us follow his lead through the difficult way of the Cross – trust him: He is the Way. No one comes to the Father except through him. Let us listen to him for everything he says is true – He is the Truth. Never doubt that he cares for you – he invested so much on you: he bought you at the price of his Blood.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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