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OUR MISSION IS A REDEMPTIVE MISSION
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, within the Octave of Easter, April 24, 2014
Acts 3:11-26, Ps. 8, Luke 24:35-48


Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.


"Then he said to them, ‘These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must (dei) be fulfilled'" (Luke 24:44).


Here we see God's plan for our redemption. God's love for us is not only the love of a Creator who gave us life and ever sustains it, but it is a redeeming love. God's mission was to send his incarnate Son into the world to redeem us. This redemptive mission of God reached its climax in the Paschal Mystery, the death of his only Son, condemned and punished as a criminal on a cross. The violent death of the Son of God was far more than merely an example of God's love for us that we also are to imitate in loving others. Christ had to die to redeem us from sin. His death was necessary so that God could forgive us without violating his infinite justice. In order to justly forgive us Christ had to die in just punishment for the sins of the world. Therefore "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6 KJV). Thus "the chastisement of our peace was upon him" (Isa. 53:5 KJV). He was condemned and chastised for our sins instead of us, serving our death sentence for us so that God could justly forgive us. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities ... and with his stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5 KJV). It was necessary that Christ suffer and die like this. "Everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must (dei) be fulfilled" (Luke 24:44). "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things" (Luke 24:46-48 NKJV; on the necessity of Christ's death see also Acts 3:18; 17:3; 26:22-23; Luke 9:22; 24:26).


So we see that the Church's mission, given to her by the risen Christ, is a redemptive mission, because the Father's mission and the Son's mission is a redemptive mission. The disciples are sent into the world to preach God's redemption in the violent death of Jesus Christ, which was necessary in God's plan of salvation. He is the Lamb of God, sacrificed to expiate our sins by propitiating God's justice, satisfying it on our behalf by making just reparation for our sins in his passion and death (John 1:29; Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Heb. 2:17).


The center and heart of our mission is, therefore, to preach to the nations the redemptive death of Jesus Christ on the cross as a propitiation for our sins (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2) to expiate them, when we put our faith in him.


The heart of our mission is to proclaim the redemptive death of Christ and his illuminating resurrection. And we present the Church as the human community, given to us by God, in which to experience and live all of this well in a sacramental way. Our mission must be rooted primarily in the redemption of Christ, not merely in a concern for creation.

 

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