Lenten Gospel Reflections, Day 35: The Response to Grace

During this season of Lent, I will be working through Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten Gospel Reflections (available through Word on Fire). Each day, I will share the readings and the reflection question, followed by my own thoughts.

April 5, 2022

Jesus said to the Pharisees,
21 “I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 Then said the Jews, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” 25 They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Even what I have told you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge; but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30 As he spoke thus, many believed in him.

The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Jn 8:21–30). (2006). Ignatius Press.

What does the Crucifixion of Jesus mean to you personally? Do you believe that through faith in Jesus, no sin of yours will will ever separate you from the love of God? How does this faith affect the way you live?

Since gaining an understanding of the Atonement as Christ willingly becoming a sacrifice at the culmination of Trinitarian love for mankind (not the punishment of an innocent man made a scapegoat, and not the tearing apart of the Trinity), the Crucifixion of Jesus means that God is not willing to let sin separate me from Him. He will go to whatever lengths necessary to reconcile my heart to His. Even though it meant unspeakable suffering, Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) – willingly went to the slaughter, so that I would not die in my sin. This drastically changes the way that I want to live. If I go on deliberately living in my sin after Christ was offered as a sacrifice to take away my sin, I am the one who “hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath esteemed the blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29, DRV)! So though I stumble and fall, I ask God for the strength to get up again and fight on; I avail myself of the grace granted at the sacrament of Reconciliation, and I continue – slowly, haltingly, like a man wounded in battle, but by God’s grace continuing nonetheless – on the path to theosis.

Lord, may I become more like You! May I decrease, that You might increase (John 3:30). My Lord Jesus Christ, live in me (Galatians 2:20), that I may I walk as You walked (1 John 2:6), in sacrificial love for God and neighbour, being willing to give up my life – my own interests and desires – for the sake of the lost.


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