April 4, 2020

…It is better for you that one man should die instead of the people…

As we approach Holy Week, our focus shifts more to the death of Christ that we will commemorate next week. Here, as well as in the first reading, the emphasis is not so much on what God will do to us as individuals, but as members of that larger covenant reality that binds us all together as members of God’s people. Caiaphas may not have actually thought that Jesus was a threat to the nation, but John took his statement seriously, as a prophecy that Jesus was, in fact, about to die “for the nation as well as for all the dispersed children of God.”

During Holy Week, of course, it is natural to focus on the horrible way by which Jesus died. We should not forget, however, that the entire life of Jesus has redeemed us. It was the fact that his whole life was lived not for himself but for others, that is salvific. The example that he left us of completely unselfish living is meant to model for us how each of us is expected to live. Only in this way can our lives be fully human.

At the same time, Jesus did not come into the world for us alone. He came for us as members of the covenant people for which he left us his body and blood. The Mass allows us to enter into the reality of his sacrificial life together to be washed clean once more in his blood. The Mass, thus, is not a private devotion, but an action of the entire community praising and thanking God for the marvelous benefits he has given us in Christ Jesus.

How can I profit more from the Eucharist, which I both celebrate and adore?

Let Us Pray:

O Jesus, you suffering and death reveal to me the depths of your love for us. May I ever be grateful for the example you give us of unselfish love. Help me to imitate your way of life so that you will not have lived and died for me in vain.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.