Behold the Pierced One

Readings: Jer 11:18-20; Jn 7:40-53
Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me. Jer 11:19

Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, wrote a wonderful little meditation about the suffering Christ entitled "Behold the Pierced One." Today's first reading from the prophet Jeremiah foreshadows the image of the suffering Christ who, "like a trusting lamb," was "led to the slaughter." The Pierced One trusted His Father's will and followed it unreservedly and devotedly, even though those around Him were hatching plots against Him - even though one of His disciples would betray Him, another deny Him, and the rest, save one, would run away.

The devil tried to "cut Him off from the land of the living" (Jer 11:19), but, by His suffering and obedience, the Pierced One saved us from our sins. The blood dripping from the open wounds of the Pierced One washes away our sins by Baptism into new life in Christ and cleanses us from sin through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Satan fought to blot out His memory, to silence those who would speak His name. But we, the disciples of the Pierced One, gather around Him and speak His name to the praise and glory of God the Father. We know that there is no other name by which we are saved.

How is Christ calling you to suffer out of love for Him this Lent?

Gaze on the sufferings of the Son of God. Ask yourself, "How is Christ calling me to suffer out of love for Him?" Witness the heavy burden He carried out of love for you. As you gaze upon Him, accept in your own life a share in the sufferings of Christ. Hold fast to your Lenten resolutions. Perform every work of mercy out of love for Him. Remember that if you do not suffer something out of love for Christ, you are not worthy of Him.

O Lord, You were pierced for my offenses. How great is Your love for me! When I shrink from the demands of the Gospel, help me to shoulder my cross and follow after You. I love You, Lord. Amen.

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