We are his body

Daily Reading for March 19 • Wednesday in Holy Week

Sin, sorrow, and suffering, and death itself, were indeed taken away at the Cross, but we mortals must enter into the depths of this mystery in actual experience. The fact that the Savior bore all this for us does not mean that we bear nothing of it; rather, it means that we are invited in to that place (the Cross) where suffering is transfigured. We (the Church) are his Body, says St. Paul. As such, we share in his suffering for the life of the world.

Jesus tells his followers that they will drink the cup of which he drank and be baptized with the baptism with which he was to be baptized (he was speaking specifically of his imminent suffering in Jerusalem). Where, suddenly, is the theology that teaches that because the Savior did it all, we thereby are reduced to the status of inert bystanders? Whether the sorrow of the moment is a lost glove or a lost spouse or a bombed city, I am invited by the Divine Mercy to unite this terrible loss (for the child, the loss of the glove may threaten the end of the world) with the suffering of the Savior at Calvary and thus to discover that my suffering is his suffering, and that—paradox of paradoxes—his is ours (again—we are his Body).

From “The Crucifix” by Thomas Howard, quoted in Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter (Plough Publishing House, 2003).

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