We followed the reading of the day because we celebrated and reflected already the high feast of Corpus Christi last Thursday.
When we were still helpless, at the appointed time, Christ died for the godless. You could hardly find anyone ready to die even for someone upright; though it is just possible that, for a really good person, someone might undertake to die. So it is proof of God’s own love for us, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. How much more can we be sure, therefore, that, now that we have been justified by his death, we shall be saved through him from the retribution of God. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more can we be sure that, being now reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. What is more, we are filled with exultant trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.
We are already redeemed when we accept the gift of reconciliation through Jesus Christ.
Today we look especially at the love of our Saviour and emphasize that the Lord already gave his life when we were still weak and godless, sinners, as the present text says. God therefore wants to overcome our enmity through his love. As the crucified one, he was considered by the outside world to be the enemy of men, who suffered death for his guilt. In truth, however, he took upon himself the sin of the world and through his blood made righteous those who accept the gift of redemption.
In this way, it becomes understandable that we should learn in the school of the Lord to love sinners, to pray for our enemies and always to awaken in us the readiness for forgiveness. Every person has the possibility of conversion until the moment of death. He can repent even at the last moment and call on the name of the Lord. So great is the love of God that he follows his creature, whom he wants to love as his child, to the last depths. When this Spirit of the Lord fills us, it is the Lord himself who follows the sinner so that he may be saved through the death of Christ!
Let us reflect for a moment on what it means when man is lost, because hell is a reality. It is not only taught by the Church, but in some visions people have been shown the terrible misery of hell, think for example of the children of Fatima. It is frivolous and therefore very unrealistic to want to rely on the will of salvation and God’s mercy in such a way that one thinks that hell is empty or does not exist. Hell as a place of damnation, as a state of eternal separation from God, is such a terrifying mystery that the children of Fatima, for example, were prompted by their vision to pray and sacrifice for sinners!
It is important for all of us to know this terrible reality, so that we may be attentive to our own lives and ready to pray for others, especially for those whose lives seem far from God. God’s love is reliable and firm, but we are people who through our own fault can stray from the path and also get lost!
On the other hand, we can have confidence by believing in the love of God! Therefore the text praises God’s saving action in Christ Jesus. In a certain way it is also difficult to be lost when we think of the love of God, because God leaves out no way to lead us people into his kingdom.
Confidence grows from this truth. This makes it all the more important to anchor oneself in God’s love and to accept all that He offers us as help on the arduous path into eternity through His Church!
It is important that a healthy balance exists in the proclamation of the Gospel. While in the past one may have tended to emphasize man’s sinfulness, in today’s proclamation it sometimes seems that man can remain as he is and hardly needs conversion. But there we are dealing with a dramatic misunderstanding. God always calls us to conversion. This also means that we must know and perceive the abysses of sin and their consequences. Against this background the true mercy of God shines out all the more, which in Christ triumphs over judgment. In this way we can listen with joy to the concluding words of today’s text:
“What is more, we are filled with exultant trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.”