He is Risen! Alleluia!
To put the reason why Christ suffered and died into one word, we might come up with a few different answers. But ultimately the right answer is love.
Love is the reason we exist. Love is the reason God became man. And love is the reason why Christ allowed Himself to be brutally tortured and nailed upon a cross.
We cannot begin to imagine how excruciatingly hard it must have been for Our Lord during His Passion. Any normal man could not have endured the scourging, mocking, and beating that Christ was subject to. Even a woman could not have endured the incredible emotional pain that Our Lady felt while watching her son.
At any point, whether it was while He was in the Garden of Gethsemane or hanging on the cross, Christ could have changed His mind and decided that the suffering was not worth it. He could have stopped it all and saved Himself from a criminal’s death.
But He didn’t. And that is what makes the Passion so incredible.
As God, Jesus had the power literally on His fingertips to cast aside His tormentors and save Himself. We even read in the Bible, “[A]nd they that passed by, blasphemed him, wagging their heads, And saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Is it possible to imagine what would have happened if Our Lord had listened to them?
If He had, it would have contradicted part of His nature: God is Love.
Every painful step and every difficult breath that He took on that arduous journey to Calvary were labors of love. He willingly endured every trial for our sake. Is there no greater love?
Easter is the result of Christ’s Passion. It is the joyful celebration when He conquered death and opened the gates of Heaven. We are now able to find a new life in Him and look forward to the day when we will sit in the Father’s presence because of the Son’s sacrifice.
In a world where everyone seems to have their own interpretation of ‘love’, Easter serves to remind us of the true meaning of love as well as the love that everyone is to have for their neighbor: The sacrificial love that Jesus had during His Passion.
In our lives, we should be striving to practice this sacrificial love each and every day. We should be going out to serve others with Christ-like love and humility. There are so many in need, not just in need of physical care, but also spiritual care. As followers of Christ, we are called to minister to these people. “As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”
We can be bearers of light in this dark world where kindness and love is all but forgotten. Even in our daily struggles, we must strive to be the image of Christ to those around us. Love unconditionally, give generously, and help unhesitatingly.
We may not see the fruits of our work, but any form of sacrificial love can touch anyone’s life.
Our Lord gave His life for us. What are we willing to give back to Him?