29th Sunday Ordinary Time
October 21, 2018
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy
and find grace for timely help.
Who among us has not wondered about the meaning of suffering in our lives? Does God really care about me? Our God is not merely an innocent bystander, watching the events of the world unfold while sitting in the bleachers. No, he himself has entered the arena of this world, just as we are now, and had a full plate of suffering, though without sin, in the person of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Consistently throughout the New Testament we find that the people who hang around with Jesus, those who approach Jesus, those who accept his message are precisely those who have been through some kind of suffering in their lives. Those who were self-satisfied and had no need for a savior were, after all, the ones who ultimately crucified Jesus.
Where then do we find the throne of grace and mercy, that we might approach it? The throne of grace and mercy is nothing less than the wounds of Jesus Christ. It is not incidental that the first thing Christ does after manifesting himself to the disciples after the resurrection of the dead is to show the disciples his wounds!
When you find yourself questioning whether or not God really loves you, gaze at a crucifix, and look at the wounds of God. He suffered these things out of love for YOU. If you have been falsely accused or hurt in love, if you have ever been in a relationship that has wounded you deeply in the heart, or if you have lost a loved one and questioned God’s love for you, gaze on the Sacred Heart of Christ.
The Sacred Heart is pierced by a sword and crowned with thorns. The crucifix shows the five wounds of Christ very clearly. Here we come to know that the Lord not only understands my pain, but has suffered with me. Christ is not a disinterested bystander in our lives, but a fellow-sufferer.
Because of this, we are confident that when we approach the throne of grace and mercy in confession, we know that Christ will forgive us. We know that he will be there for us; whatever we have given to him in this sacrament will not be held against us on the last day of our lives, and that is love indeed.