“Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.”
Love is sacrificial. We are redeemed by love in that it was out of love for us that the Father sent his only Son to be the price of our salvation. We are redeemed by love because Jesus embraced the cross for love of us. On his body were inflicted the wounds of love as he bore our sins, the wounds of our transgressions, so as to purify us and restore our human nature to its original beauty, innocence and holiness. As we embrace suffering and persecution, we must not forget the example our Lord has given us – in suffering we find healing. There are many sins which must be atoned for, and though they are already atoned for in the death of Christ, as his followers he offers us a part in this drama of redemption. As members of the Body of Christ, we too must carry the wounds so reconciliation may occur and souls saved, not through our efforts, but through a real union with Christ, sharing even in his pain for love of him. St Genesius and the martyrs understood this. They offered their deaths for those who persecuted them, we must also offer our sufferings for those who persecute us and our faith.
Among our intentions today, let us also pray for those who persecute us.