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Thought for the weekend: Victory achieved with the gentleness of a lamb

Fr Patrick McCafferty, Corpus Christi Parish

Immediately after his resurrection, upon appearing to his disciples and greeting them with "Peace be with you", the glorified Christ shows to them his wounds.

Eight days later, when he appeared to them again, Thomas, who had refused to believe in the Lord's resurrection "unless I can see the holes the nails made in his hands", is invited by the risen Christ to touch those wounds and to put his hand into his side (see John 20:19-31).

The victorious Christ, having been "pierced through for our faults", does not allow the wounds of his passion to disappear. He, through whose wounds we are healed (see Isaiah 53:5), comes to us forever gloriously scarred. In the splendour of heaven itself, he is present before the father as "a Lamb that had been slain" (Rev 5:6).

The most decisive victory is achieved when the enemy's defences are breached and the enemy's weapons are seized and rendered harmless. Such is the resounding victory won for us by the Lord's cross. And it has been achieved - not by brute force -but by the gentleness of a lamb.

At the very beginning of his public ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ was formally introduced by his cousin, St John the Baptist, "Behold! The Lamb of God!" (John 1:29). Here is the Lamb that is led to the slaughterhouse (Isaiah 53:7) - the gentle and innocent Lamb (Jeremiah 11:19) - defenceless and trusting.

He goes to the cross as a lamb to the slaughter. The cross of the Lord became the focus for all the evil, venom, dysfunction, hatred and cruelty that humanity, under the influence of the devil, could muster. We threw our very worst at God the son on the cross.

In that bear-pit of demonic wickedness, hurled against the crucified son of God, the full might of evil met the power of infinite love and mercy and was definitively defeated.

When the blood of the lamb was shed, a fountain was opened that extinguished the burning fury of the devil's hatred and contempt.

What was symbolic of the very worst that we human beings can do to one another - agonising death by crucifixion - was transformed into the banner of victory and the cross becomes the sure sign of hope.

The enemy's weapons are seized and the forces of hell are in disarray. The devil is put to flight. In Christ, now, we 'passover', in safety, delivered from the clutches of evil, snatched from the jaws of hell.

Christ now is our Passover! (see I Corinthians 5:6-8). By His Cross and Resurrection, we are safe and we are saved! Death is defeated! For those, now, trusting in Christ, for His faithful, Death is no more! We have passed over Death in safety. Death, now, is merely a transition and it is transitory - a phase that we will pass through - on our way to see God - to see, face to face, the glory of the Living God (see Revelation 22:4-5).

He will wipe away all our tears. He will heal all of our deep wounds. What seems irresolvable will be settled. What seems insurmountable will be overcome. What seems incurable will be completely eradicated. Death shall be no more (see Revelation 21:4).

This is the Eternal Healing that flows from the Lord's Cross where the potent venom of Evil met with its antidote in the Precious Blood of the Lamb without blemish - namely Christ (I Peter 1:19). We are ransomed. We are rescued. We are saved. We are delivered. We have Eternal Life.

We have passed over, with Christ, to the everlasting Joys, prepared by God, for those who love Him (see I Corinthians 2:9). Amen. Alleluia!

Belfast Telegraph

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