April 3, 2019
“All flesh is grass.” We live today; tomorrow we are dead. Flesh is like grass; it grows up green and beautiful in spring, but soon it is mown down.
God becomes flesh, and He too is mown down, like grass. It is God on the cross. God, immortal, becomes mortal. God dies.
That’s who this Jesus is. True God, begotten of the Father from all eternity. He becomes man, born of the virgin Mary without a human father’s aid.
He becomes man, becomes flesh, becomes grass, and is mown down for you. To redeem you.
“You” singular. For this Jesus Christ, the Catechism says, is my Lord. Why is that important, that this be for me?
Because in the hour of darkness—when your career is collapsing; when your marriage is on the ropes; when you come face to face with the ugliness of your sin; when the stench of death cannot be sanitized by the wretched sterility of hospital antiseptic—when in the hour of darkness you despair, you don’t need a concept or a philosophy. A platitude won’t help. An ethic is worst of all, for the accuser gleefully reminds us that we have failed.
The supposed comfort of a nebulous better place I find revolting. Who are you to say there is a better place, and that my loved one is in it, or that I will go there? How do you know?
Leave me alone, incompetent comforter! I need a Lord, a real redeemer who is actually mine, who is coming for me!
This Jesus doesn’t give me a boost for the day. A super-nice Uber driver once struck up a conversation about religion with me. (I haven’t figured out why, but this keeps happening to me.) He was Ethiopian, so I asked him if he was Orthodox. He said yes, but went on to say he like Joel Osteen, because he makes him feel so good.
I get it. I want to feel good. So do you. But the world’s way of feeling good is to ground that good feeling in yourself.
The Catechism will have none of that. The Catechism is honest about who you are: “a lost and condemned person.” That’s who you are. Confess it. Own it. Don’t minimize your sin. Don’t pretend you’re not going to die. Face it. Head on.
But then rejoice that the Catechism does not leave you there. Because God will not leave you there. This is why He became man, became mortal, became flesh, became grass. For you. To purchase and win you from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil.
Money is not the answer. Gold and silver won’t buy you anything you can keep. Jesus paid for your life with something of infinitely greater worth: “His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.”
You are no longer just grass to be mown down. Your beauty is not for a time. Your memory will not fade into obscurity. You have a Lord. He has a purpose for you: That you may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom.
The Catechism is brilliant, because it won’t let you for a moment forget how that happens, where grace comes from. The whole thing rests on Jesus being “risen from the dead,” living and reigning to all eternity.
Lent is for Easter. We’re going with Jesus to the cross not as a destination in itself, but because that way lies redemption and resurrection. Jesus redeems. Jesus rises from the dead. And we get life in and through Him.
No weighing our good deeds against the bad. No platitudes. Jesus. The one who was pierced for your lustful thoughts, whipped for your angry words, spat upon for your pride, pummeled for your sloth.
He becomes you. Jesus becomes the lost and condemned person.
You become Him. Righteous, innocent, and blessed.
You will get what He is: Risen from the dead, living and reigning to all eternity.
This is most certainly true.