The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last
Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden at
Gethsemani, making himself "obedient unto death." Jesus prays: "My Father, if
be possible, let
this cup pass from me...." Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his
nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life, but unlike ours, it is perfectly
exempt from sin, the cause of death. Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine
person of the "Author of life, the living One." By accepting in his human will
that the Father's
will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for "he himself bore our sins in his body
Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony, and his Passion and gave
himself up for each one of us: "The Son of God...loved me and gave himself for me."
loved us all with a human heart For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins
and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that...love
which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings"
It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to vanquish it, that sin most
clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and
mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate's cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas'
betrayal so bitter to Jesus, Peter's denial, and the disciples' flight. However, at the very hour of
darkness, the hour of the prince of this world, the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source
from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly.
The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and
because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the
possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is
all people. He calls his disciples to "take up their cross and follow him," for
for us, leaving us an example so that we should follow in his steps." In fact Jesus desires to
associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is
achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other
person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.
The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in
the institution of the Eucharist, and fulfilled on the cross. "The origin and growth of the
are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified
"For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there
forth the 'wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.' " As Eve was formed from the
Adam's side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the
This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute,
Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by
, was last modified
Friday, 07/29/2011 15:30:08 EDT
Michael P. Duricy
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