29th Sunday - Homily
“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. Why did Christ have to give his life as a ransom for many? We might answer that question with another question: how many people went to Heaven before Christ became man? Does anyone know? The answer is none. Why? Because of Original Sin; right, Adam and Eve.
When God created the world, He gave the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, a paradise: the Garden of Eden. He wanted them to enjoy all the good things He had given them. He told them they could do whatever they wanted; anything at all, except for one thing. He told them not to eat of the fruit of a particular tree. And, so, what did they do? They ate the fruit of the tree. As soon as they ate the fruit, they felt shame and guilt. Darkness covered their paradise; everything changed. They had disobeyed God in a major way. They broke the relationship between God and man, and the gates of Heaven were closed.
For thousands of years after that, God’s people tried to mend their relationship with Him. The Jewish people tried to atone for their sins, mainly by offering sacrifices to God with the hope that their sins would be forgiven. But, none of these sacrifices was acceptable to the Father. Man cannot bring about forgiveness of sins on his own. God had to become man, and sacrifice Himself for the forgiveness of sins. And this is what Christ did. We hear in the words of consecration, “this is my blood. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins might be forgiven”.
And, so, Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is the only acceptable sacrifice to the Father for the forgiveness of sins. It is through Jesus’ Death and Resurrection that the gates of Heaven are opened. Some people will ask, ‘but what about all the people who lived Before Christ (B.C.)? Where did they go?’ If they lived good and faithful lives of holiness, and tried to do God’s Will, they went to a “waiting place” when they died. They were literally waiting for Christ. So, when he died on Good Friday, he spent three days in the dead, freeing these men and women to Heaven, before rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. Christ brings salvation!
He offers Salvation to each one of us, mainly through his sacraments. When we come to Mass and participate in the Eucharist, for example, we share in Christ’s act of salvation. Those who are present at Mass are witnesses to Calvary. Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is re-presented on the altar. Jesus tells us this in John 6:51 when he says that “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”. The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ; it is the offering to the Father on behalf of humanity. All who participate in the Eucharist, then, share in Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. It is an awesome gift that Christ gives us each Sunday!
His whole life is an awesome gift to us. He gives his life as a ransom for many. He gives his life for each one of us. He saw each of us from the Cross, and all of our sins. He saw all of my sins, and still said, “I will die for your sins to be forgiven, Greg”. And, these are many sins, for I am a great sinner. He says that to each one of us. He says, I have given my life for you, so that you might have life, and have it to the fullest. He gives us his life. He gives us his love. We come this day to say thank you. We come to this Mass and every Mass to say thank you, Jesus. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your life. Thank you for laying down your life for us, so that we might have eternal life.