Jesus Christ Died For Our Salvation
by Fr. William G. Most
Betrayed into the hands of his enemies by one of His own apostles, Jesus Christ was
mocked, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, sentenced to death by crucifixion, and
made to carry His own cross to the place of execution. Then He was stripped, fastened to
the cross by nails through His wrists and feet, and left to die by asphyxiation. All this
He endured willingly for our salvation.
When Jesus died, His body and soul were separated, for that is what death means. They
remained separated until the Resurrection, but His divinity remained united to both His
body and His soul.
How did His death produce the effect of Redemption? Sinners had, as it were, taken from
one pan of a two-pan scales--an image to represent the moral order--what they had no right
to take. The Holiness of the Father, loving all that is morally right, wanted the scales
of the moral order righted, wanted the debt to be paid. Further, the imbalance was
infinite, so that only a divine Person incarnate could rectify it, by giving up
satisfactions He could have lawfully had, and by suffering things He did not owe, with the
intention of repairing the damage done to the moral order by sin. It was Christ's
obedience to the Father, of infinite moral worth, which gave value to his suffering.
Pope Paul VI wrote (Constitution on Indulgences, Jan 9, 1967): "It is necessary
... for the full remission and ... reparation of sins, not only that friendship with God
be reestablished... and amends be made for the offense against His wisdom and goodness,
but also that all the personal as well as social values, and those of the universal order,
diminished or destroyed by sin, be fully restored, ... through voluntary reparation....
Indeed Christ, 'who committed no sin,' suffered for us, 'was wounded for our iniquities,
bruised for our sins.... by His bruises we are healed.' Thus there was established, as it
were, a treasury of 'the infinite and inexhaustible value which the expiation and the
merits of Christ our Lord have before God.'"
He willed to suffer so much also "to draw all things to Himself" (John 12:32)
by proving (cf. Romans 5:8) the immense love of His Heart, which went to such lengths to
make eternal happiness open to all.
Further, since as St. Paul tells us (cf. Romans 8:17), we are saved and sanctified to
the extent that we are not only members of Christ, but are like Him, therefore we too must
share in this work of reparation. Jesus wanted to draw us to imitate Him in His work of
So that we might join with Him, He commanded "Do this in memory of me." So it
is precisely in the Mass that we bring our offering of whatever obedience to the Father we
have carried out since the last Mass, and we present too our penance of reparation, to be
joined with the obedience and reparation of Jesus and His Mother at the double
consecration of bread and wine, when He Himself, using a human priest to carry out the
same dramatic sign He used in the Upper Room, presents again His willingness to obey the
Father, to make reparation for sin.
Taken from The Basic Catholic Catechism
PART THREE: The Apostles' Creed II - V
Fourth Article: "He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was
By Rev. William G. Most. (c)Copyright 1990 by William G. Most
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