It’s common to remember in our remembrances of Jesus’ death that He died for our sins, but I think that’s incomplete. He didn’t just die for our sins, making atonement for them; he also died because of our sins. Through the Fall, we separated ourselves from God, by choosing our desires above His Will for us. We put our own desire for safety and security above his command to us.
So, we messed up God’s plan. We should have been walking with Him in the Garden of Eden and instead we ended up banished from the Garden in desperate need of a savior if we were to not only regain our Heavenly homeland and unity with God, but to keep from sinking ourselves further and further into violence and despair.
It should be indisputable that, whether one accepts Christianity or not, Christianity has been a positive force in the world. Just compare the ritual human sacrifices that were commonplace in cultures all over the world prior to Christianity’s spread. Even though war is too common nowadays, rights of combatants and civilians are acknowledged now, as compared to the common practices of widespread slaughter, enslavement or rape as used to be inflicted on the losers of conflict. While those still happen, they are far less common than they used to be. And, these changes came through Christianity; it came only because of Christ.
Without Christ, we would still deny rights to those outside our immediate family; women would be second-class citizens subject to the will and desires of men; might would make right; the world would be a place devoid of hope.
It’s an irony that those most likely to deny the reality of sin are also the most likely to get angry, sometimes violently so, at the actions and opinions of those who disagree. Look at the secular Left today; often denying that sin exists, most of the anger and hatred in today’s political debates come from them. If sin doesn’t exist, what are they so angry at? It’s no surprise this anger and hatred comes from the segment of our society that most vehemently denied not only Christ, but even the need for a Savior.
He suffered and died not only that our sins might be forgiven, but that we might avoid new sins. The wonder of the Crucifixion isn’t just that it wiped away our sins, but that it is the source of the Grace we receive from God to avoid committing sins to begin with. The Crucifixion is the “power source” that makes possible the sacraments, through which we receive the strength and grace to avoid sins, if only we make use of them.
So, there’s still work for us to do; sin is far too common in our world and in our lives. Indeed, every time we sin, we add to Jesus’ sufferings on the Cross and in his Passion. Indeed, Christ’s Agony in the Garden wasn’t merely fear as to the Passion and Death He was about the undergo; he was actually experiencing every sin we ever committed or would commit. This is why Catholics show the corpus on our Crucifixes; it’s to remind us of the pain we cause Him when we sin. After all, as we see in the Book of Revelation, His sacrifice is still continuing in Heaven to this day. It’s also a reminder that, like Paul, we “preach Christ crucified.” It’s not the wood of the cross that saved us; it’s the person hanging on it. Every time we view the crucifix, we should remember what we do to Christ when we sin.
So, while we rightly remember all that He did for us this day, we should also remember what we did, and do, to Him.