05 Editorial - Embracing the Crucified Christ - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Mar 8, 2018, 11:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 9, 2018, 7:27 AM ]
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life (John 3:16). This is one of the most well-known and beloved verses of Scripture that should be memorised, recited, and be the subject of our meditation. We might reflect on the three parts of this verse: God's love, God's Son and our belief, as we reach the midway mark on our journey through Lent to embrace the Crucified Christ as our bridge from sin to healing and new Life.

First, there is God's love. This world that "God so loved" is not some idealised place where people try to live in justice and peace. This world, with all the crime, dishonesty, wars and constant feuding that divide people, with all its greed and immorality and pettiness, this world is so loved by God that He wanted to bring healing and new life to it.

The Book of Chronicles gives us a summary of Israel's rebellion against the God who gave them life. It says, "The princes of Judah, the priests and the people added infidelity to infidelity, practising all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord's temple. They mocked the messengers of God, despised His warnings and scoffed at His prophets." Israel's story is the story of every generation and of every life that we experience today.

Still, God so loved the world, the world we inhabit, that He sent His Son. St Paul teaches us that the saving plan of God was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He says, "When we were dead in our transgressions, God brought us to life with Christ." Paul knew that from experience. He had persecuted the Church. He was among her greatest persecutors, maniacal in his quest to arrest and imprison Christians. Then, out of nowhere, on the road to Damascus, the Risen Christ appeared to him. With that, his life was changed. He had done nothing to deserve it, but salvation was now his in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way to salvation, forgiveness and new life for the human race, and for each of us.

The poison of sin infects our world and us. We cannot expel sin on our own. Something has to be powerful enough to free us from sin, absorb it and eliminate it. Jesus says, "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life." On the Cross, Jesus would be like that bronze serpent and bring healing to us. He would draw out the venom of sin in our life, and replace it with the grace of new life.

Finally, there is our belief. Lent is not simply a time to sympathise with the Cross of Jesus, but to embrace it, to begin once more to follow Jesus with our life. It's not the gazing, but the faithful following that brings healing and new life. We can sing about Jesus, meditate on Jesus, lament the sufferings of Jesus, and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. But are we ready to follow Jesus, to open our lives to His teaching, His truth, His forgiveness, as it comes to us through His Church? Are we willing to take the step of repentance, to change how we live?

Reflect on the Crucified Christ this Lent. Let it show you the horror of sin. But let it also show the gift of God's love and the healing forgiveness that can be ours, if we follow Jesus. It expresses the wonderful truth of what redemption is all about for this troubled world, and for each of us, whom God so loves and seeks to heal with a life that never ends.