Today, we have accompanied Christ in his passion and death.  We watched as he was unjustly condemned, rejected and beaten, suffered and was crucified.  He was ridiculed and mocked for our sins and for our salvation.

Has his suffering captivated us?

After he died, his side was pierced by a sword, and from his open side poured fourth blood for our redemption; water for our cleansing.

Jesus was taken down from the cross , placed in the arms of his mother, taken to the tomb by his friends, and grieved by the world.

What have we witnessed?  The mystery of God’s love.

Sin disfigures the Body of Christ.

St. Paul in the 2nd Letter to the Corinthians says: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  (5:21)

From the first sin of Adam until the last sin of the human race is committed, Jesus took all of our sins upon him – and it crushed him.  “He was made to be sin for us…”

When we gaze upon the crucified Jesus, it is easy to see that sin disfigured the body of Christ.  But, when we apply this title to the Church – the Body of Christ – we can say and see the same thing: “Sin disfigures the Body of Christ.”

Through our omissions, indifference, lack of love, or willful actions, the human family continues to be wounded by sin.  People that we know or know about live in a manner that is beneath their dignity because we do not recognize their need, nor do we do anything to ease their suffering.

The Body of Christ is disfigured by sin.

Today we venerate the cross of Christ, where the infinite, unconditional love of God was on display for the world to see.  We come to the cross with the words of the Letter to the Hebrews ringing in our hearts:

Let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. (4:14-16; 5:7-9)

In humility we acknowledge our sins before the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy – the forgiveness of our sins.  In gratitude, we recognize that “because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.” (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12)

May our walk with Christ this day move our hearts to greater contrition, love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness.

Let us now keep vigil with the world – awaiting with great hope and expectation the promised resurrection from the dead.