The hour is coming in which we are to hear the Gospel account of the Passion of Christ. But, before our sense of hearing is filled with the Word of God, which recounts the terrible sufferings that the Most-pure Body and the Most-holy soul had endured, our duty is to predispose our soul to thoughts that are evoked by the sufferings of the God-man.
First, remember that the Gospel will recount the story of the sufferings not of a man, nor of an angel, but of the Only Begotten Son of God. This unprecedented event strikes our mind with horror and bewilderment; it is the miracle of miracles and the mystery of mysteries.
Secondly, you will hear of senselessly brutal Roman soldiers, who with murderous indifference raise the Son of God up on the Cross.
You will hear about the cunning disciple and traitor, who trampled down friendship, gratitude and every other holy quality that adorns human existence on Earth.
You will hear about the scribes and Pharisees, who were blinded by the passions, who humiliatingly for themselves asked not that Jesus receive mercy or forgiveness, but condemnation and the death sentence.
You will hear about the man-pleasing judge, Pilate, who sentenced an innocent man to death, who calmly gave up the greatest and holiest Miracle Worker to be crucified.
You will hear that the sun, becoming darkened, and the quaking earth, and all of creation, now trembling, are ready to rise up in defense of their Master…
Having carefully listened to the account of Jesus Christ’s sufferings, you will understand that by His death Jesus Christ has reconciled us with Divine justice.
In the account of the sufferings of Jesus Christ, not one tittle, not one single word goes by without carrying a special, salvific meaning. The ladder, by which Jesus Christ ascended up to the Cross, is our sins. Our sins are the cause of the Cross. The nails with which He was affixed to the Cross are our sins again. The thorns, from which His crown was woven are all due to our sins!
Thus, God Himself has revealed to people His infinite love. For the salvation of his sinful and obstinate children, He Himself ascends the Cross. From this moment on the Cross becomes a sign of salvation and sanctification. From this moment on, every Christian, putting on his cross, must know that within the Cross lies a mysterious combination of truth, mercy, judgment and forgiveness, holiness and hope. The Son of God, the Divine Wisdom, has shown a means by which sin is stricken down with the utmost severity, yet demise does not come upon the sinner. And, undoubtedly, we shall all take cover under the shadow of our Savior’s merits on the day of the Final Judgment and Recompense.
Oh, how desirable it would be if only now, today, we were to lay down our infirmities at the foot of the Cross, reject our lusts and passions, and begin to live as our Lord and Redeemer has ordered us to live! Amen.