There is nothing more comforting then walking into the Church and seeing the Sanctuary Lamp glowing in the Tabernacle. The light letting us know that the Body of Christ in the Eucharist is present. It’s a mystery of faith that we can never fully understand. I do know, from Christ’s own words, that when we are in the presence of the Eucharist; we are in the presence of the Lord. Other than receiving the Eucharist through Holy Communion, the Sanctuary Lamp brings me the most comfort. It is a visual reminder that Christ is local with me in the Church, and I with him. Its’ glow a reminder that Christ is the light of our world. I find it startling every year when I enter the Sanctuary and see the Lamp dark; no Christ present in body. The Body of Christ is missing because he died on the Cross on Good Friday at approximately 3pm.
My heart hurts as the Good Friday Gospel reading details Christ’s Passion. Why did Christ have to endure the Crucifixion? Entire books have been dedicated to this topic (and I hope future blog posts from me too), but for today I will keep it short. Christ had to endure that type of death because of sinners like me. Sin began with the fall of Adam and Eve and continues in all of us today. The Catechism of the Catholic Church States:
“He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”
601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received,” St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.” In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant. Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant. After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.
God takes the initiative of universal redeeming love
604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” God “shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
Christ suffered so we can be redeemed. Did we deserve it? No way. We just need to look to the Apostles to confirm that answer. These were the men who walked with Christ and witnessed His miracles. Even the Apostles were not deserving of Christ’s sacrifice. Judas betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver. The other Apostles fled immediately after Jesus’s arrest. Only Peter returned, but even he denied knowing his Lord 3 times.
One reason I describe the Catholic Woman as local is because only the women remained when Jesus died and when he was buried. This gives me a whole new view of what it means to be present with those I encounter. I often fail, but receiving the Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Lord in the Eucharist gives me the nourishment to try again. Fail. And try again.
It is with great anticipation that I await the Resurrection of our Lord! I long for the glow of the Sanctuary Lamp to let me know that Christ is in the Tabernacle dwelling in the Eucharist.