Being my turn to provide a message from the network of religious leaders in this area, and this being Holy Week in most Christian traditions, I didn’t have to do a lot of soul searching to come up with a topic, as it was hitting me in the face.
For us it is a time to reflect upon the events of the life of Jesus Christ as he enters into his Passion, death, and resurrection. That God would humble himself and be immersed into experiencing the depravity of human life is difficult to fathom.
It reinforces, though, that God has been where we have been in the depths of our sinful humanity, and offers a redemptive love to raise us up.
Though he was sinless, he bore the brunt of the sin of the world by his passion and death; and by rising from the dead emerges victorious over sin, suffering, and death. We are invited into this divine relationship, and have access to connect with the living God, who desires to meet us in our weakened condition, and elevate us into becoming friends and disciples, and experience a joy and a peace that is not of this world.
This message is as old as the hills. With all the media outlets and information available at our fingertips you would think that everyone has a grasp and even understanding of this reality.
You would hope that it would become front and center stage in life. But the sad truth is that our lives mirror that of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. They tended to wander and stray like sheep, complain and grumble that their needs weren’t being met, and even went so far as to replace the living God with a manufactured golden calf.
We tend to fade in and fade out with faith, be critical of life and question God’s presence, and often supplant the true God with a god of one’s passions and desires. There is a world filled with wow-inducing images and experiences that easily can knock our sox off, but at the end of the day we either tire of them or worse yet, end up with some form of addiction.
To recover, one most often needs to revert back to the message that is as old as the hills to realize there is a higher power, and it is a God of love and mercy to forgive us, which has been clearly demonstrated by the Son of God.
It is in the experience of life that the message, or Word, becomes flesh in our lives. One particular avenue that the sin of the world has been rearing its ugly head has been the widespread use of pornography, which produces lust and not love. Lust leaves one empty and unfulfilled, hollow and not hallow.
The remedy is the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, who makes whole the hole in the soul. During this time of the Passion of the Christ, we can gaze upon his flesh, which has been beaten, battered, bloodied and bruised to overcome the flesh of the world.
To ponder upon this wondrous love has a deadening effect on the flesh of the world, and enables one to receive the divine desire and love of Christ crucified.
This, in turn, leads to the resurrection and glorification in Christ. We become whole in the Lord as our flesh is united to redemptive love. The Word becomes flesh in our lives.
There are countless other situations and circumstances in which we turn to the one who appeared to be the biggest loser as he took upon a human form and ended up being powerless as he hung on a cross.
Yet, his being lifted up for the world to see is a sign of victory, and we are called to share in that victory so that redemptive love is ours.
Father Michael Watson is pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Delaware.