Recently we have been tackling the subject of our relationship with God from a variety of angles, coming, in the end, to the solemn truth that our sinful flesh is redeemed only by his sinless flesh, and that the chains of sin are broken by the nails hammered into his hands – he paid the price for our sin; we are redeemed by his blood. These are familiar words, so much so that they can veil from us the awful truth of what happened after Gethsemene. Much as I love praying the Rosary, the Sorrowful Mysteries are a great burden. I can only shudder as I pray them, knowing that every sin of mine is a lash upon his back, a spike in the crown of thorns, a weight upon his torn and bleeding shoulders, a nail in his hands. I cannot meditate upon these things easily, and I can scarcely bear to visualise them. But they tell me that God knew the keenest woes this world had to offer, and they caution me against railing at any slings and arrows of outrageous fortune which come my way. There was only one who was without sin – and mankind crucified him. Yet, as Peter told the crowds, this was the Messiah and he has risen and he forgives us if we follow him; we are made righteous in God’s eyes through his sacrifice.
There is something amazing in the thought that God emptied himself and became man for my sake, for your sake, for all our sakes. That God, who created everything and who is beyond our measuring, should have become one of us is a sign of just how much he loves us. That he hung and suffered there on Calvary for us is a love beyond us. There can be no doubt God could have secured our redemption in any way he wanted – that he chose this way is the deepest of mysteries; but nothing could show his love more than to suffer for us, and to take on himself the bitterest pains mankind can inflct and suffer.
There is so much we cannot know. Why then? Why Judea at that time? Why not just come now, go on TV and no doubt everyone would – for a while – believe? Far more questions come than there are answers that would satisfy us. But God is not answerable to us – we are answerable to him. If we accept his love, if we will turn and follow him, that is enough for us to know. Neither did he leave us without help. The Church, that great pilgrim through time founded by Christ, exists to bear with us and to carry us to him. From age to age, he does indeed gather a people to his own possession, feeding us through the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and leading us through the wilderness of the world whose lusts are passing away. It is a marvel – it is the greatest of miracles – and He gives it to us because He loves us.