Pope Francis: The Cross is not an ornament but the mystery of God's love
2014-04-08 Vatican Radio
The profundity of this homily: Pope Francis ends with: “
We have all grown up in the present legal culture that understands sin to be an offense against the Supreme Justice of God. St. Anselm’s theory of redemption says that: God is infinitely just. Because His Justice is infinite, it can only be redressed by an infinite compensation. Hence, God Himself, the Son, must become Man in order to pay back the infinite damage done by sin. Hence, the Redemption is the act of restoring justice.
And we continue to be restored to justice by receiving absolution in the sacrament of Penance. It is akin to what Francis says above, that sin is not an external stain extrinsic to me as person that can be removed by the sacrament like going to the dry cleaner. But, as he says, something much deeper must go on. Christ has had mercy on me, and I must permit Christ to love me, forgiving me. I am the prodigal son who has been met beyond the city walls of justice where I would have been stoned in justice by the demands of the Law. The Father humbled Himself in the Son who came out to get me, covered me with kisses, put the robe on me, sandals on my feet and brought me home to celebration and feasting on the fattened calf. His merciful Love restores me to my true identity and dignity which I could not restore for myself.
And so, the Cross is not an ornament to be placed on the altar for extrinsic purification, but the locus of the purification of my sin.
(Vatican Radio) The relationship between Christianity and the Cross and our own sins was the focus of Pope Francis’s reflections at his Mass on Tuesday in the Santa Marta residence.
Listen to this report by Susy Hodges:
In his homily, the Pope said Christianity does not exist without the Cross and stressed that we are unable to free ourselves from our sins on our own. The Cross, he said, is not an ornament to place on the altar but is the mystery of God’s love who takes our sins upon himself. He then reflected on the meaning of Jesus’s warning to the Pharisees “You will die in your sin.”
Pope Francis said the serpent is the symbol of sin as seen in the bible. In the desert sin was lifted up but it is a sin that seeks salvation so that it heals. It is Jesus, the Son of Man, the true savior, who is lifted up.
This is why, the Pope went on, the apostle Paul said we do not have other things to boast about, apart from our sins, and this is our misery. But through the mercy of God, we rejoice in the crucified Christ. It’s for this reason that ‘there is no Christianity without the Cross and there’s no Cross without Jesus Christ.