"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
I distinctly remember the first time I truly comprehended the depth of God’s love for me. Sure, I’ve been told time and time again that God loved me, and I knew that He did, but I never really thought much about what that meant. I was watching a skit about the life and death of Jesus, a story that I had seen a million times before, but something about this one was different. I don’t know if it was the music or the actors or what, but the emotion that was coursing through it was real. The pain, the agony, the suffering…all that He went through suddenly became real to me. The words, “Jesus died for your sins,” ceased to remain mere words. They were something I could relate to, and something that I could grow to appreciate.
Imagine dying for your best friend. While undesirable, it is something that is possible for most people if the situation arises. Dying for a stranger? Maybe, but it probably wouldn’t be filled with much love and instead feel more like a heroic act. Now imagine dying for an enemy. That sounds crazy! Who would do such a thing? While Jesus doesn’t see any of us as “enemies” per say, He did die for people who didn’t even like Him. Not even a quick death, mind you – a slow, painful death. Can you imagine doing that for someone who openly opposes you? And what about us here in the Newman Center as strong Catholics in relation to Jesus? Every time we sin, we are turning our back on God. We’re like those fake friends who pretend to be nice, but then turn around and stab you in the back. It might not even be on purpose, but the truth is that we all do it, and still, Jesus died for us. He loves us that much.
This Good Friday, as we reflect on the death of Jesus our Lord, bring to mind the things you have done to push the nails further into the cross. Just as you wouldn’t want to harm your closest friends or family, so too should you feel the same way toward Jesus. Picture your sins, become aware of them, and imagine Jesus dying for you on account of acts that you committed against Him. Jesus’s love is so powerful and so beyond comprehension that we will never fully be able to fathom its depths, but I challenge you today to try to bring life to this abstract concept in terms you can understand. If you’re feeling the pangs of hunger, or feeling the strain of a lent that seems as though it just keeps dragging on, remember God’s love for you, and I promise that the joy of Easter will seem even greater to a heart that yearns for Jesus.
By Kelly Schmitz