Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9 / Psalm 12 / Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19 / John 19:31-37
Although Paul humbly called himself the least of the saints or the children of God, he felt privileged to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. All that was hidden and yet prophesied was realized in Christ. Revelation was given, not to one nation only or to a disconnected few, but was “made known through the church”. The Church remains the guardian of the deposit of faith. Open to all people with faith, she is both the interpreter and dispenser of this truth or wisdom. Because of Jesus, we can truly approach and know God as “Our Father” and be strengthened by his Spirit. Jesus lives in us and in our discipleship. Our Lord showers grace upon his people of faith. He fills us with the divine presence. As the revelation of the Father, Jesus enables us to better know and to love God. It is staggering what Jesus has done for us.
Israel or the People of God were looked upon as God’s child. (Verse two is missing where reference is made to Israel’s infidelity and flirting with false worship.) God would not disown his own, no matter how terribly they forgot him. Ephraim was the strongest of the tribes of Israel. God sought to draw him to himself, not like a slave or an animal, but with bands of love. God had every reason to send down fire as he did upon Sodom and Gomorrah, but he would not. No matter how confused and disobedient, the Father showed compassion and gentleness to his infant child, his people. He would forgive them and send them one who would show them the way by his example and by taking upon himself the price of their rebellion.
Men would not judge us as mercifully as does the Almighty. God could have left us in our sins, but in the course of time, he sent his Son to save us. Our elder brother Christ has suffered all things for our sakes. The Psalm exhorts the great truth that was realized in Jesus: “God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.”
The Gospel gives us the scene where Jesus is found dead on the cross. A soldier pierces his side with a lance. Blood and water immediately flowed out. This scene is connected with the sacraments, poured out so that we might have a share in Christ’s life. Jesus is the water of eternal life. His is the saving blood of the new Lamb. Jesus dies once-and-for-all. He can never suffer or die again. But the sacraments draw us into the paschal mystery. The mystery of the Sacred Heart is intricately connected to the sacraments, particularly the Mass which makes both Jesus and his saving activity, i.e. his sacrifice, present.
As the Council of Trent taught, and Vatican II reaffirmed, Jesus suffered and died at our hands. The accumulative sins of men from all times and places targeted the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His was and is the love which would not stop loving the very ones who betrayed and murdered him.
The only way that we can make reparation for our forgetfulness and wrongs is to offer ourselves with him. We may not be perfect, but we offer all that we are and will be. Jesus is the sin offering. He is the one who makes true satisfaction for sin. He turns our act of rebellion into his saving oblation. Will we ever really understand the incredible mercy of God?