One man died for the sins of the whole world

“It is better to have one man die for the people than to have the whole world destroyed” (Jn.11.50). Yes, these words said by Caiaphas, the high priest was really a prophecy, though he did not fully understand the mystery and plan of God the Father behind it. Jesus came to die ‘not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God’ (vs 52). As St. John says in his first letter, “Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world” (2.2)

Christ carrying the Cross – L. Lotto (WGoA)

We have entered into the Passion Week, starting with the Palm Sunday celebrating the Jerusalem entry of Jesus, singing the hymn:

“The King of glory comes,
The nation rejoices,
Open the gates before Him,
Lift up your voices”

About five hundred years prior to Jesus’ birth, God prophesied through prophet Zecharia: “Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (9.9).

As we have entered into the Holy Week, let us allow the Holy Spirit to ‘waken our ears to listen to what the Lord teaches us’ (cfr. Is.50.4).The deep mysteries of His work of Salvation of the whole world are revealed to us through the Holy Scripture which we read, hear and meditate in this Solemn week. Let us be away from the daily schedule of our ‘busy and hectic life’ and heed to the loving invitation of our Lord: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourself and rest a while” (Mk.6, 31). The Lord is calling us to imitate Him in making God’s will our daily food,  take up our day today cross and follow Him, to deny ourselves, and to lose our life for Him so that we may experience His abundant life.

He had said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15.13). And he fully translated His words into His life.  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (Jn 13.34). Everybody, all religions tell about loving others. But only Jesus Christ gave us a criterion for our love: “Just as I have loved you, love one another”. Let us open our ears to listen to the still voice of the Lord teaching us to love others following in His footsteps.

As we are at the closure of the Lenten Season, may we be conformed a bit more to His likeness by trying to ‘live  the life of Christ in our sinful flesh though faith in Jesus Christ’ (cfr. Gal.2.20)

Mary Pereira

Biblical significance of 40 days of Lent

God saw the increasing wickedness of the humankind (Gen. 6.5). People did not listen to Noah who was ‘a righteous man, blameless in his generation and who walked with God’ (9). The just God, who intended to eliminate the wicked and purify the earth, allowed forty days of flood on the earth (17).

The Law was given to Moses at Mount Sinai after his prayer and fasting for forty days and forty nights. (Ex.24.18).

The Israelites took forty years to travel from Egypt to Canaan, the promised land. During this journey they experienced God’s caring love, protection and deliverance from enemies.

King David’s rule of forty years was significant because it helped the Israelites to be united and to form a kingdom.

Prophet Elija journeyed forty days to reach Mount Horeb where he had a deep encounter with God. (1 Kgs.19)

Prophet Jonah asked people of Nineveh to pray, fast and do penance for forty days to repent and do reparation for their sins. (Jon.3.4-10)

After his Baptism at river Jordan, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit and went to the desert where He fasted and prayed for forty days (Mt.4.1,2)

The Temptation by the Devil – G. Doré (Bible-Library)

King David, after committing sin, truly repented his sins, did fasting and reparation for his sins (2 Sam.12. 13-17). In his Psalm of repentance, he proclaimed the goodness and mercy of the Lord. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51.17).  “Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3.23), and since He “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim.2.4).

The loving God is giving us a time to repair our past misdeeds through our acts of penance, prayer and almsgiving. May the Holy Spirit of God transforms our lives through the grace of this Season and help us to bring about a revival in our relationship to God and to our fellow beings.

Mary Pereira