The Passion of Jesus, His Passion For Us
March 31, 2013 We enter Holy Week, a time of reflection and meditation about the Passion of the Christ. There are three things that I would like to point out briefly, so that we can understand better what is happening in the Passion. First, why did God became man? Second, how he is God and man? Third, how is he man and how is his human life on earth?
1. Why did the word become flesh?
"The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who "loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (1John 4:10): "the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world (1John 4:14)", and "he was revealed to take away sins" (1John 3:5)" (457)
"The Church calls the "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it" (461).
Why did he take flesh to save us? Because he wanted to offer a sacrifice, and only a body, only flesh could be offered in sacrifice. The letter to the Hebrews, talking about the mystery of the incarnation, explains: "when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, Lo, I have come to do your will, O God." (Heb 10:5-7; Cf. Psalm 40:7-9)" (462).
2. How is he God and man?
"The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man" (464).
The one who suffers for our salvation is one of the Trinity. He suffers not in his immutable divine nature, but in his human nature. Jesus is only one person, one "I", one of the Trinity, but he is in two natures. Two natures that are not separated in any way, because they belong to the one person, but at the same time these two natures are neither mixed, nor confused. Jesus is perfect God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and perfect man with all of us. He is our Lord, and at the same time our brother. The one who suffers for our salvation is God himself in his human nature. His blood is the blood of God; his tears are tears of God.
3. How is the Son of God man?
Did Jesus grow in knowledge? "The Son of God could, when he became man, "increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52),ÿand would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience" (472). Jesus grew in the knowledge that comes from experience.
"But at the same time [.] "The human nature of God's Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God."" Jesus had an "intimate and immediate knowledge [.] of his Father".ÿHe knew "the secret thoughts of human hearts." (473). "Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal" (474). This knowledge is because of the union of the human nature with the Person of the Word, and therefore accompanied Jesus during his whole life: "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." (Gal 2:20) He has loved us all with a human heart." (478)
The Son of God became man to suffer, to suffer for me. The one who suffers is God himself in his human flesh. Jesus, the one who suffers, when he suffers, suffers for me, because he knows me, he knows my sins, and he loves me and forgives me. He knew he was God, he knew I was a sinner; he knew that he was saving me and suffering for me. Let us reflect during this week in the Passion of our Lord. May the Holy Virgin Mary help us to love Jesus as he has loved us.