Friday, April 10, 2009

He Was Pierced For Our Faults, Crushed For Our Wrongdoing. By His Wounds, We Are Healed.

The LORD God speaks: My servant will prosper. He will be uplifted and exalted. He will rise to great heights.

But, when the crowd looked up at him, they were appalled at what they saw. He was so badly disfigured that he hardly seemed human. There was no majesty, no beauty to attract the eye. A pitiful sight he was, so despicable in appearance that people had to turn their faces away.

But the sufferings which he endured, the sorrows he felt, were not a penalty he deserved. . He was pierced for our faults, crushed for our wrongdoing. He has taken upon himself our punishment, leaving us at peace; he has offered himself as a sin offering in atonement for our sins. His suffering brings us peace; by his wounds, we are healed.

We were wandering like sheep, each one going a different way, but all getting lost. But the LORD laid our burden upon his shoulders, and he bore it humbly, never opening his mouth to complain. He was like a lamb being led to the slaughterhouse, like a sheep standing before its shearers, which never even opens its mouth.

When it was all over and done with, they laid him not in a pauper’s grave, but in a rich man’s tomb, as if he had done no wrong, and was innocent of the crimes for which he was put to death. He will be greatly rewarded, for surrendering himself to death, and allowing himself to be taken for a sinner. While, all along, he was atoning for the faults of many others, and praying constantly for sinners. (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12)

In Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has been raised to the highest heaven. It is for that reason that we must never let go of the faith which we have professed. It is not as if we had a high priest who was unable to feel our weakness; instead, we have one who has been tempted in every way we can be tempted, although he never committed sin. We should be confident, then, in approaching God’s throne of grace, for Jesus will be there, to grant us mercy, and from him we will receive grace when we are in need of support for our weakness.

During his lifetime, Jesus offered prayers and petitions, at times in a loud voice, and at times with silent tears, to the One who had the power to deliver him from death. Although he was the Son, he learned obedience through suffering; and, having been perfected he has become for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation. (Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9)

Sisters and brothers, today let us direct our gaze toward Christ. Let us pause to contemplate his cross.

After having lived together the passion of Jesus, let us allow his sacrifice on the cross to question us. Let us allow him to challenge what we take for granted. Let us open our hearts to him. He is the truth that makes us free to love. Let us not be fearful: by his death, our Lord destroyed sin and redeemed sinners, that is, all of us. The Apostle Peter writes, “He bore our sins in his body on the cross so that, freed from sin, we might live in righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). This is the truth of Good Friday. On the cross, our Redeemer has made us adoptive sons and daughters of God whom he created in his own image and likeness. Let us, then, remain in adoration before his cross.

Lord Jesus, give us the peace we seek, the happiness we long for, the love that fills our hearts, so thirsty for the fullness of truth. This is our prayer for today: Jesus, Son of God, who died on the cross for us, and was resurrected on the third day. Amen.
A Sermon of Pope Benedict XVI

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