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5th Wednesday of Lent

Mercy, peace, and love are yours because of the One who wore raw humility for you, Jesus Christ.  Dear friends, how do you explain “grace”?  What does the term “grace” really mean?  Try to picture it.  What do you see?  Do you see a mom giving a treat to her disobedient child?  Do you see a boss not firing the worker who broke company policies for the third time?  Or do you see a Man who is more than a man, God hidden in the Man of sorrows?  The Owner of all dying without a thing?  The most innocent Man ever suffering the worst criminal’s death?  The One who holds the universe guarded by human soldiers?  He who is able to do anything mocked like He can’t do a thing?  What grace, sweet grace!  Our passion reading comes from the Gospel of Matthew: (read text).

What raw humility!  Carrying His own cross, falling down, exhausted; offered a bitter drink, casting lots for His clothes, being mocked; crucified with thieves, insulted, died, and wrapped in meager burial clothes.  Raw humility.  Can you think of anything worse?  Remember this is the Lord Almighty left stranded on a cross!  Remember why He’s there; that’s the consequence of sins, this suffering is because our sins!  That punishment is because of us!

Did He have to endure all of this?  Why did He stay up there?  Why not crush those insignificant weaklings who are committing the greatest injustice of all time?  Why not heal Himself in front of those scoffing skeptics and shame them before the world?  Why not come down?  It certainly wasn’t bits of metal iron that held him to that cross, it wasn’t the strength of the soldiers that stripped His clothes and fastened Him to that cross, it wasn’t His loss of power that kept Him from bringing revenge on those who insulted Him.  What kept Him up there hanging on that tree?

There can be only one thing, one thing alone.  As Jesus is mocked and tortured and His creatures are scoffing, “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God.”  He could’ve, but He didn’t.  Why? Because at that moment, at that very moment, He looked and He saw someone.  He saw someone trapped.  He saw someone wandering in darkness.  He saw someone headed for eternal death.  He saw… you and me.

The One wearing raw humility saw you and wanted to give you life.  He wanted to give you glory!  He wanted to lift you up!  He wanted you to wear the crown of victory!  He saw you and wanted you to share paradise with Him.  He saw you and wanted you to live eternally.  And so He stayed.

What grace is this!  How can it be?  He wears this raw humility, to lift me to eternity, such grace, sweet grace for me! Amen.