Sunday, March 1, 2015

From the Height of Glory to the Depth of Humiliation

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Abraham did not hesitate to offer Isaac to God when the Lord asked for him. It must have pained him to bring his son to the mountain in order to kill the boy and offer him as a sacrifice. But it was all a test, which Abraham passed. As he took the knife to slaughter the boy, an angel of the Lord prevented him from doing so: “Do not do the least to harm the boy. I know now how you are devoted to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” If by what he did, Abraham showed how devoted he was to God, so much more do we realize how God was devoted to us: “God did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all…” said St. Paul to the Romans. God spared Isaac from being killed in sacrifice, but he did not do the same for his own beloved Son Jesus.

Jesus was transfigured before his disciples Peter, James, and John. His face was resplendent like the sun and his clothes became dazzling white. Such was the glory of Jesus which the disciples saw. It was the glory of God’s only begotten Son, full of grace and truth. The Father declared: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” And yet, when the Father hands his Son over to us, there would be no trace of that glory. That resplendent face of his, in a few days, will be bruised beyond recognition: “so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of men.” That dazzling white garment will be soiled with blood. That voice which declares Jesus as his “beloved Son” will remain silent when that Son cries out to him: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” No angel will be sent to intervene, to prevent people from harming God’s Son.

Why, we may ask…Why would God allow this to happen to his Son? Why would God not spare his Son? Why would God hand his Son over to us? The answer of St. Paul would be very simple: it is because God is for us. It is God who acquits us. It is he who gives us everything else along with his Son. God sent not his Son to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. In handing his Son over to us, the Father did not abandon his Son. Indeed, there was no angel to prevent people from harming his Son. Indeed, he was silent when his Son cried out to him in anguish. But he raised up his Son who obediently accepted death on the Cross. He raised his Son and sits him at his right hand. And from his heavenly throne, Christ Jesus intercedes for us.

Such is the mystery of God’s love. In his great love, he hands over to us his own beloved Son. No one could have loved Jesus more than the way the Father loves him. And yet, for our sake, he hands over to us his Son, his glorious Son, his resplendent Son, his beloved Son. It is this mystery that makes the Church sing in great wonder: “O wonder of your humble care for us! O Love, O Charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!” We will never truly appreciate what God has done for us unless we keep clearly in our minds the resplendent beauty which the disciples beheld today with their own eyes. When we remember how the Son looks like in the splendor of his glory and then behold him bruised and desecrated…when we remember how high he was and behold the depths of humiliation to which he descended…and then we think that all these he did for you…for me…for us…then we could not help but say: Truly he loves me. Truly he loves us. God is truly for us…therefore, who can be against us? He gave us his Son…is there anything else he will not be willing to give? Indeed, God so loved the world, he gave his only Son.

Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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