Eph 2:12-22 / Lk 12:35-38
Sometimes we might wish that St. Paul had searched for some better metaphors in trying to explain what Jesus did for us by being crucified. His use of terms like “ransoming captives” works from one vantage point, namely it underscores our helplessness in the face of our need for redemption. However, it muddies the waters when it comes to our understanding of God our Father. Is He a nasty oriental despot who needs to be paid off before He’ll let the captives go free? Surely not.
Likewise, St. Paul’s heavy use of references to Jewish sacrifices can leave much the same impression. If our salvation is “bought” at the price of Jesus’ blood. Who is it being bought from and who set the price? God our Father? Surely not! God gives grace and salvation to us freely and abundantly, and He intended to do so from all eternity. His favor didn’t need to be bought, and indeed couldn’t be bought. God is too big for that!
Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us.” His mission from the beginning was to make the generous, unbounded love of the Father personally present, visible, and tangible to us. Since His love for us was unlimited, He was willing to go wherever that led Him. He didn’t set out to be crucified, but in the end that’s where His love and our needs took Him.
It is the power of God’s love, made visible in His Son Jesus, that pulls and lifts us out of the morass in which our sins, our love-failures, have mired us. God’s powerful love sets us free and gives each of us a second chance at making lives in which love is all. Don’t waste that second chance!