by Emily Lopez
To be human is to be broken. We know this physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As we age, our bodies break down. In relationships with other imperfect humans, we cannot avoid the pain of emotional brokenness. The very existence of sin in this world assures each person an obstacle to spiritual connection with God. We cannot escape the inevitability of damage in our human experience.
Brokenness is on full display throughout the passion of Christ. During Holy Week, we watch the quick descent of the Son of God, from entering Jerusalem as a revered rabbi to his humiliating crucifixion and burial in a borrowed tomb. As a man, Jesus makes no attempt to avoid or hide his brokenness. He accepts his Father’s will. His body is broken and exposed; he is shamed and humiliated . . . all for you.
Without the gift of Christ’s death, your life would have no purpose. You would be doomed to live and die in sin; no amount of good will or care for others would change your fate. Hope would not exist, your only happiness found in the vain pursuit of temporal pleasure. The sin of Adam and Eve would indelibly mark your soul with no regard to your free will.
It’s almost inconceivable to consider this reality. We had no chance. Our relationship with God had been severed through our lack of trust in his love. And that was it — game over.
There was only one thing that could save us, and it was the very thing that we had selfishly turned against: love. The care of a Father who is love. God as love could not abandon us; it was against everything he is. Instead, he sent his Son to redeem us.
In Latin, the word “redimere” is the root for “redeem.” “Redimere” is a combination of “re” (meaning “back”) and “emere” (meaning “buy”). The suffering and death of Christ literally bought back meaning for our lives. We are redeemed in hope, love, joy and faith through the brokenness of God’s own Son.
We deserve none of this. Faith cannot be earned because we are not deserving of God’s grace. He created us in love for love. No amount of anything we do can balance what he has done and given for us.
However, our response can build or destroy loving relationships, with God and others. In our brokenness, do we choose to love? Do we choose trust in God’s love as first in our lives?
May Christ’s passion be an experience of trust and hope in his great love.
Join Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann online in reflecting on the tremendous gift of the passion of Jesus as told in John’s Gospel at: archkck.org/oe/lenten-reflections.