Jesus crucified reveals the love to the end that God has for us. To believe in him, then, is to reveal the same unfathomable love.
Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the desert. By looking at it, those whom the serpent had bitten recovered. In correlation to this, those who believe in the crucified Jesus will recover from giving in to the serpent’s deceit. They will have eternal life.
God gives his only Son precisely so that we may not perish, but rather have eternal life. God does so because of the great love he has for us. By pure grace, then, do we receive an assurance of life with Jesus as we simply believe in him.
But it is hard even for us who claim to be Christians to believe in Jesus crucified. That is why we need grace. God can do what human works cannot; all things are possible for him.
Accordingly, he makes possible for death to be life, for crucifixion to mean exaltation. As contrary as this is to human reasoning, it is what gives meaning and hope, however, to human existence.
As we fix our eyes on Jesus crucified and believe in him, we see the one whose identification with the human condition has reached its height (see Juan Antonio Pagola). He is extremely weak, poor, helpless. He seems to be the first among those who add infidelity to infidelity. Nevertheless, he does not give up, but rather he hopes against all hope. Because he empties and humbles himself to the end, God greatly exalts him. He bestows on him the “Name-above-every-name.”
The cross is the only hope for those who truly believe in Jesus crucified.
Rightly, then, do we receive the encouragement to endure trials, fixing our gaze on the leader and perfecter of faith. And it will surely do us good if we learn the teaching about the best way we can assure our salvation (SV.EN III:384).
O crucified Jesus, grant us to believe in you. Make us observe carefully what you set before us at your Supper (see Office of Readings). You love us to the end; may we also love in the same way.
11 March 2018
Fourth Sunday of Lent (B)
2 Chron 36, 14-16. 19-23; Ephes 2, 4-10; Jn 3, 14-21