By His Wounds

Fra Angelico, Crucifixion

Jesus Christ did not die to save humanity. That is, not some abstract notion of it.

Our Lord’s head was pierced with a crown of thorns. His back was scourged. His face was spit on. His clothes were torn off and gambled away. His hands and feet were nailed to a cross. His side was pierced with a lance. And he died a most painful death. He was born for this, to offer himself as redemption for our sins. He chose to undergo this tremendous suffering, for our sake.

But he did not suffer his Passion to save some abstract notion of humanity. Jesus Christ hung upon the cross because of the love he has for you. It is a deeply personal love; there is nothing abstract about it. He knows your heart, and he knows how much you are worth. So much that he wants to redeem you by his own body and blood, offered upon the cross. Love himself hung upon the cross, because he loves you.

“By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pt 2:24). Not a hypothetical we. Not an abstract humanity. You. Your soul and your body. Jesus Christ hung upon the cross, bled, and died. For you. You are healed by the wounds of Our Lord. He hung upon the cross so that you may be united with him one day in heaven. He wants to spend eternity with you, and he endured the Passion to accomplish that goal.

Today we commemorate the Passion of Our Lord. We gather at the hour of mercy to hear his Passion and venerate his cross, that instrument of torture which became the means of our salvation. Of your salvation. And while we gather together to commemorate the Passion, we venerate the cross one by one. We each get one moment to venerate the cross upon which our savior won for us our salvation. Your own, personal moment.

Because Jesus Christ died to save you.

Image: Fra Angelico, Crucifixion

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Br. Stephen Ruhl, O.P.

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Br. Stephen Ruhl was born and raised on Long Island. He attended Providence College, graduating in 2015 with a degree in French. He entered the Order of Preachers shortly after graduation. On