When I hear and pray the Agnus Dei prayer at Mass, the words, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world” really affect me. When I think of my own sins, I know there have been many over my lifetime; but Jesus takes away the sins of the world! We have all been fallen children of God, and Jesus died to save all of us! How phenomenal is that?
I think about that nasty crown of thorns they jammed onto Jesus’ precious head. Droplets of blood and sweat must have dripped into his eyes—eyes that had seen the crowds of people who listened to his teachings and tried to understand, eyes that hd beheld the hungry multitude he fed with bread and fish, eyes that had cried at the news of his friend’s death.
Perhaps the blood droplets fell into Jesus’ ears—ears that had heard the conversations of his apostles, the cries of the widow of Naim, the complaints of Martha that she was doing all the housework, and the crack of the whips at his scourging.
The whip, the bramble vines, the chains all tear at Jesus flesh as he is scourged. Jesus’ back is brutalized—the back that his mother, Mary, probably caressed when he was a little child, the back that most likely carried wood as he worked with his craftsman father, Joseph, and the back that supported him as he traveled miles in his three-year public ministry.
And there are Jesus’ gentle hands that are pierced and pounded through with huge nails affixing him to his cross—the same hands that had touched the sick and healed them, that had bidden the little children to come to him, and that had changed the bread and wine at the Last Supper to his Body and Blood for all of us.
Jesus’ feet are pierced and nailed to the cross—feet that had walked miles to bring Jesus’ good news of God’s love and his kingdom to so many, feet that had walked on water, and feet that had taken Jesus to the desert and to the mountains to pray to his Father.
A lance punctures Jesus’ side—blood and water pour out. Jesus, fully human and fully divine, dies on the cross for us repeat offenders! Jesus, the Savior, redeems us and shares with us the promise of eternal life. He gives his all for all of us! All for the sins of the world!
“Crucify him! Crucify him!,” the crowd yells!” The Lamb of God! The Son of God and Son of Man! I say, “Glorify Him! Glorify Him!” Jesus, who is merciful and selflessly all-loving, should be glorified and given our grateful love and devotion!
In this, your bitter passion
Good Shepherd think of me
With your most sweet compassion,
Unworthy though I be.
Beneath your cross abiding
For ever would I rest,
In your dear love confiding
And with your presence blest.
(Stanza 3 of “All Glory Laud and Honour”
by Bernard of Clairvaux, translation by
Painting, Christ on the Cross,, by Eugéne Delacroix, 1846, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.