Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The New Covenant

Recently I read that the Orthodox focus mainly on the Resurrection mystery of the Christian faith, while Catholics focus on the Crucifixion. Now that we are in Holy Week, or especially now that we are in Holy Week, I am meditating on the this.

I would say that yes we do focus a lot of attention on the Crucifixion of Our Lord. That is why catholic churches are required to have a crucifix behind or above the altar. Why most Roman Catholic churches have the Stations of the Cross.  Droga Krzyzowa, Polish for the Way of the Cross, is popular Lenten prayer.

Christ redeemed us through his death. During Holy Week, we remember Christ's passion,  "For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believes in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." John 3:16

It is Catholic Doctrine that Christ would have suffered this passion even to save only one soul. He suffered to save your soul. His passion was His ultimate act of love! " Greater love than this no man has, that a man lay down his life for his friends.." John 15:13

The Eucharist is called the sacrifice of the mass. Eucharist, Thanksgiving, is the gift Christ gave to us of His own body to receive, to eat, to consume! It is the consummation of the new covenant. Christ, our pascal lamb, sacrificed on the cross. That is the mystery we relive every mass. That is the highest point of the Mass. "This is My Body!" The words of consecration. The consummation of the redemption of souls was when Christ died for us, thus He says, "...It is consummated!" John 19:30

We are able to share in Christ's act of love. Every Lent we fast and pray as a special remembrance of the suffering of our Lord. And we offer these sufferings for the poor souls in purgatory and for the poor sinners here on earth. We love our Lord and, through his passion and death, we learn that suffering is redemptive. Christ showed us how we should live. He even commands the faithful, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it." Mathew 16:24-25

Holy week is the most solemn part of the year. The most cleansing and liberating part of the year.

May God be with you.

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