“Christian life is not a spa therapy,” Pope Francis said at Mass. For some of us, he’s stating the obvious: my Christian faith does not magically make my life sweet and pleasant. But should it?
When I am feeling particularly weak and vulnerable, many times I’m tempted to ask: “If I serve God, isn’t he supposed to make my life better? Why do I feel this way? Why do I find myself in this difficult situation?” But in those times, I have forgotten my faith entirely.
Saint Paul tells us, “For our sake (the Father) made (Christ) to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Look at Christ on the Cross. “Christ became sin for me! And my sins are there in his body, in his soul!” Pope Francis exclaimed. “It’s crazy, but it’s beautiful, it’s true! This is the scandal of the Cross!”
God became sin. For you. See the broken body of God on the Cross? See the one who took all the sins of the world on himself? This is the God we reverence, we praise, we proclaim, we eat. Look at this tortured, maimed Jesus. This is the God who says, “Follow me.”
Why did God choose this cruel death for himself? To show us how much He wants our nearness. God lowered Himself until he could go no lower. This is how strongly God desires to be close to us. “What the Lord wants from us is to announce this reconciliation,” said Pope Francis. This is the Good News: God gave us himself completely – totally vulnerable, anticipating the moment we would say to him, “I give myself to you.”
By rising to new life, Jesus shows us the fruits of our total self-gift.
Why am I afraid to be weak when my weakness makes me more like Jesus? Shouldn’t I wish to be perpetually weak – a total gift to God?
When you are weak, contemplate the horrible beauty of the Cross.