March 24, 2024 Essay: Jesus Christ Has Redeemed the World

Mar 15, 2024

Jesus Christ, by his suffering, death, and resurrection, has redeemed the world. This Holy Week affords us the opportunity to remind ourselves of what it means for us personally and for our world to have been redeemed by Jesus Christ.

The suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ did, indeed, redeem each one of us. We who were once enslaved to sin were set free, redeemed, by the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We participate in this redemption from our slavery to sin through our baptism, in which we are brought to share in the risen life of Christ now so as to have the hope of one day sharing in his risen life forever. Every day, we have to choose to affirm our participation in the risen life of Jesus Christ by conforming ourselves to his life and teaching. As we conform ourselves to his life and teaching, we deepen our participation in his risen life so as to strengthen our hope of one day enjoying the fullness of his risen life forever.

Our daily struggle is to avoid capitulating to our sinful desires. Two sacraments serve as essential weapons in our daily battle to choose for Christ rather than choosing to enslave ourselves to sin: Eucharist and Reconciliation. In every celebration of the Eucharist, we remember the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In our remembrance, we make his saving sacrifice present once more. We then receive his risen body and blood to nourish us in our efforts to conform our lives to his. When we have fallen short in doing so, the sacrament of reconciliation allows us to be restored to right relationship with our God, and with our brothers and sisters in God. In this way, we avoid enslaving ourselves to patterns of sin that alienate us from the life of Christ into which we have been brought by our baptism and in which we are renewed each time we receive his body and blood in the Eucharist. During this Holy Week, we ought to reflect prayerfully on how deeply we appreciate the redemption won for us by Jesus Christ. Do we manifest our appreciation in our daily efforts to conform ourselves to the life of Christ while striving to put aside sinful thoughts, words, and actions?

Jesus also redeemed this world. Our world has been corrupted by human sinfulness. We see the effects of human sinfulness on creation in the adverse impacts of climate change and in the ways that the beauty of creation has been marred by pollution and irresponsible exploitation of natural resources. We see the effects of human sinfulness in the horror of the ongoing wars in Ukraine, in Gaza, in Yemen, in Syria, and in multiple nations in Africa. We see the effects of human sinfulness in the collapse of civil order in Haiti. We see the effects of human sinfulness in the gun violence that our nation seems incapable of controlling and in the ongoing crisis of opioid addiction. Yes, our world has been corrupted by human sinfulness.

Yet, our world has also been redeemed by Jesus Christ. Jesus inaugurated the reign of God in human history and that reign continues to unfold wherever persons speak and act for what is right, good, and just. Remember, justice, love, and truth have prevailed. Jesus was triumphant over sin, hatred, and injustice. We, therefore, have to choose whether we will advance that victory by our commitment to doing the good and working for justice, or slow the advance of that victory by capitulating to falsehood, evil and injustice.

In this Holy Week, pray for the grace to live in faithfulness to the redemption won for you by Jesus Christ. Pray for the grace to be an agent of the continuing redemption of our world through your commitment to living in faithfulness to gospel values.

— Fr. Mark Hallinan, S.J., Associate Pastor