Live and Die as Jesus Christ Did

by | Apr 12, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

The risen Jesus is at God’s right hand and intercedes for us.  His love enables us to live and die as he did.

There are in the New Testament paradoxical teachings.  These ideas, for instance, strike us as odd:  to die is to live, loss is gain, to serve is to rule, poverty is wealth, weakness is strength.

Though odd, we still accept and respect them.  Besides, we assent to them, though to live up to them is another thing.

Yet crucial is this “another thing.”  That is to say, to live up to these odd teachings is what makes us believe and hold them as true.  We believe and hold them so most of all since Jesus embodies them.

Yes, of the Risen One is the glory, for he suffered death for all (Heb 2, 9).  And, of course, it is not that he appeases God’s wrath.  For if that were so, we would be caught in the absurd and heretical:  Christ saves us from God.  Can God, who is love, be so cruel and thirsty for his Son’s blood?

No, Jesus does not save us from God’s wrath, but from men’s wrath.  It is enough to look at Jesus on the cross to see how angry and harsh we men can be.

In Jesus’ life and death lies salvation, in answering his call to live and die.

But it is enough also to look at him on the cross to grasp the great love he shows us.  And we can love like him if the way we live and die matches his.  He loves us madly to the end; he does not come down from the cross to save himself.

So, what holds him on the cross is love, not the nails.  Held there so, he makes clear that only through love can we live and die safe and sound.  And free from a selfish life.

To live in Jesus’ love means to look out not for our own interests, but for others’ interests.  And to die in his love is to put to death all envy, showing off, greed, squabbling ambition.  All contradiction too “that divides hearts” and is “like a devastating plague” (SV.EN XI:218).

To live and die in his love is for us to love one another.  And to not bite and devour each other, so we may be saved from self-destruction.

To live and die like Jesus is to let his love take hold of us so we may be like Mary Magdalen.  She finds no rest till she meets her Beloved.  Or be like the disciple whom Jesus loves.  He has no name; he stands for all true believers.  Love frees him from blindness; he sees and believes.  The same thing will happen to Mary later.

Jesus also wants us to open our eyes so we may discern his body.  For he does not want us to eat and drink our own judgment for failing to live what we recall in the Eucharist.  That is to say, for lack of concern.  For shaming and letting go hungry those who are poor, while others boast and get drunk.

Lord Jesus, ask the Father to anoint us with the Holy Spirit’s power.  We can thus go about doing good too, and live like you to die like you (SV.EN I:276).  And pass from darkness to light, from death to life, from malice and wickedness to sincerity and truth.

17 April 2022
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord (C)
Acts 10, 34.a 37-43; Col 3, 1-4/1 Cor 5, 6b-8; Jn 20, 1-9


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