God is holy. By definition.
What is holy?
What is God?
He is holy.
He is infinitely, terrifyingly holy.
He is won-derfully, magni-ficently holy.
We Christians aspire to holiness. We desire the holiness of God. We want to share in His glory. We want to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy.
Are we presumptuous? After all, how can we be holy—we who subsist on the flesh of dead animals, and sometimes produce bad smells and bad words, and spend a lot of time thinking about ice cream and professional sports and a lot of other things that don’t exactly pertain to holiness? How can we hope to be holy?
There is one simple, straightforward answer to this question. We can hope to be made holy by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The Son of God offered Himself on the cross for us, so that we who are not holy could be made holy.
It would be the height of presumption for us to imagine we could become like God if God had not become like us. But since He has, since He freely chose to give us His holiness in Christ, then it would be the height of ingratitude for us not to want to have what He wants to give.
When Christ shed His blood for us in A.D. 33, He redeemed the human race as a whole.
Our race was and is a disobedient rabble, guilty of countless sins. But since Christ became one of us, our race now boasts One Who is perfect, One Who is divine, One Who freely went to His unjust death to make up for all human injustices. The divine sacrifice of the Son of God has reconciled our race with the heavenly Father.
Here is a question: Does this apply to absolutely every human being automatically? Christ has redeemed the human race. Does this mean that every human being on the face of the earth is a friend of God, simply by virtue of being human?
What about all the people who either don’t know or don’t care about Jesus Christ? What about the people Who reject Him? Is everyone ‘redeemed’ no matter what he or she does or doesn’t do?
Good question? Who knows the answer?
It is not automatic. There is one proviso, one condition. We individual human beings are redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ, provided that we co-operate with God’s plan of salvation.
We cannot save ourselves. But we will be lost if we do not co-operate with the Savior. At all times, the Lord works for our good, moving us closer to heaven according to His perfect plan. But we don’t reach the goal automatically. We have to co-operate.
Now, before anyone gets nervous, let’s focus on what this means in practice.
When the Lord Jesus redeemed the human race in the first place, who were the people who co-operated the most? Sounds like an odd question. Did anyone “co-operate?” Didn’t He do it all by Himself?
Well, yes—if by that we mean that He alone could do it. It is His Blood and only His Blood which redeems us—the blood of the spotless, unblemished Lamb.
But was He absolutely alone when He hung upon the cross? No. The Blessed Mother, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. John were with Him. They were at the foot of the cross, suffering with Him. The penitent thief co-operated, too, repenting of His sins and turning to the Lord Jesus for mercy.
The sacrifice of the Redemption is Christ’s and only Christ’s—and yet He was not alone. The people who loved and trusted Him the most were so close to Him that they could touch Him and kiss His feet as He died.
Can we hope to co-operate with the Redemption like that? Can we hope to touch the holiness of Christ the way the Blessed Mother, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. John did? How could we accomplish something so sublime? Are we fools to imagine we could?
People: We co-operate in the same way every time we go to Mass.
Before the Lord suffered and died, He gave us the Holy Mass. After He rose from the dead, He ascended to the Temple on high. In heaven, Christ is offering Himself to the Father right now, and He always will.
The Holy Mass is that offering. The Holy Mass is the redeeming sacrifice of the Son of God. We co-operate just like the Blessed Mother, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. John did by coming the church, kneeling down, begging for mercy, giving thanks, and offering our whole selves to God in return for all that He has done for us.