the terrible face of love
"He bowed His head, and delivered over His spirit." —John 19:30
A few days before I wrote this, a man was executed by the state of Florida in its electric chair. The state of Florida ordered that a mask be put on the man they executed, "so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals" (Is 52:14). The mask and the skin on his face caught fire when he was electrocuted. Even some of the most hardened observers hid their faces (see Is 53:3) as they smelled the burning flesh. The condemned man maintained before his electrocution that he was innocent. He probably was not. But what if he was and you were the one guilty of the crime for which he was executed? You would surely hide your face (see Is 53:3) and not watch him die in your place.
Jesus was executed in our place. "The Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all" (Is 53:6). "It was our infirmities that He bore, our sufferings that He endured" (Is 53:4). "He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins" (Is 53:5). If we realized how great are our sins against the all-holy God Who is Love (1 Jn 4:16) and how great is the salvation Jesus has given us (see Heb 2:3) by dying in our place, we would love Jesus with all our hearts (Lk 10:27), repent completely, worship Him forever, keep thanking Him publicly, and be willing to do anything for Him, even to suffer and die. "Look on Him Whom" we "have pierced" (Jn 19:37).
Our sins are great. His love is perfect and crucified. Look into His face of love.
Prayer: "Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All! How can I love Thee as I ought?" (From the hymn, Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All.)
Promise: "Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:8-9
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 4, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 1999