Sunday, July 29, 2012

Our Transformation into the Suffering Christ

In the Letter to the Hebrews, Saint Paul says,

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest that is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to grace for timely help (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Christ experienced pain and suffering on the Cross, our pain and suffering. When we are at Mass, we proclaim the Lord's death and resurrection until He comes again, and in this act of re-presenting the Sacrifice of Christ, we become Christ. We can understand the pain and sin that is in the world and bring this love to the world for which Christ died. In being transformed into Christ through our actual participation in the liturgical life of the Church, we can be Christ to the world and sympathize with people's suffering.

The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, or YOUCAT, says, “God gives himself to each one of us individually, and he wants to transform us through communion with him. Once we are transformed, we are supposed to transform the world” (YOUCAT, 217). There are times when some of us may think that God cannot save us because of our sins. Besides the fact that this is presuming God's mercy, it can also be incorrect. God wants us, He desires us. Just like the lost sheep that the Good Shepherd goes after, so does God go after us to lead us back to the assembly. God desires you so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be an expiation of all of our sins. Not only that, but every day throughout the world, Christ gives Himself freely to the Church through the Eucharist, His Body and Blood. Our participation in the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Mass, transforms us into Christ to be sent out into the world to proclaim His Good News. As the dismissal as Mass says, "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life." 

When we go out into the world as Christuli (little Christs), we not only bring the love of Christ to those who are downtrodden, but we also bring God's desire to redeem all of creation. This love for man that God has is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, who is 100% God and 100% man. Some may say they cannot be saved because they do not anyone can save them, but God can save them. The only thing the Lord asks, in the words of Saint Paul, "Make room for us" (2 Corinthians 7:2). When we accept the ones who were sent by God, we accept God as well. We accept God because He became flesh, Jesus Christ. We accept Christ because He knows the pain and the anguish we suffer on earth. He wants us to be united with Him, He desires for us to be one with Him. We can because the Father sent Him to save us. 

God desires us so much that He made Christ share in our trials as humans. Though Christ did not sin and did not know sin, He became sin so all of us, man, woman, child, old, young, etc. could be reconciled to the Father. For when we accept Christ, we accept the one who sent Him: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him" (Matthew 11:27).

God understands our suffering because Christ endured this on the Cross. We become Christ and can share in His Sacrifice for sin when we actually participate in the liturgical life of the Church. Once transformed through the Church's sacred liturgy, we have the confidence to go out into the world and bring Christ and His love to a world that is in desperate need of it. God desires you, He wants you; that is why He sent His only Son to share in our afflictions.