The Price of Our Ransom
What does God think of humanity? What does God think of us? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that what we think He thinks, and what He actually thinks, are often two very different things.
The bloodshed in the last century alone causes devout people sometimes to feel God should intervene, and perhaps, just as in the time of Noah, start over with a remnant. After all, wars and ideological struggles, the persecution of Christians in various parts of the world, genocide, tyranny and intentional famines, homicide and the holocaust that is abortion have been responsible for the deaths of 1.5 - 2 billion people in only one century of time. There is not a place on earth that has been unaffected by senseless bloodshed, a situation which at times seems almost hopeless, even to people of strong faith.
Yet, If one could look from some distant point in the universe, at all the suns birthing worlds, all the planets spinning through space, at nebulae and quasars, pulsars, comets, moons and asteroids, the prodigious wonders of galaxies coming to life and others passing away, there would be one spot in creation more beautiful, more blessed, more full of light than all the rest! And it would be our own earth.
This is not because of those who inhabit this world. In fact the inhabitants of our particular world are often so caught in quagmires of darkness that they cannot be said to be responsible in anyway for this beauty. Yet exceptional beauty there is because of God's personal presence among us.
God's interventions in human history are respectful, astounding and full of a wisdom we do not readily comprehend. Most of the things we attribute to God, war chief among them, are really just the consequences of our own sins catching up with us. But from the beginning of time, God's response to our sin, after pointing out the consequences which logically flowed from them, was to promise a Redeemer. The first sin led all of us into captivity. But God was immediately prepared to pay the ransom.
Historically the amount of ransom demanded is determined by the value placed on the person held. The largest ransom ever paid was by the Incas in 1532, to Francisco Pizarro for the release of their leader. The amount of gold given him would be worth about $2 billion in today's markets. Pizarro took the ransom but did not honor the agreement. He executed the Incan leader anyway.
The ransom paid by God for us is infinitely beyond any sum, no matter how great. That in itself tells us something of the value God places on each one of us. St. Peter says:
"You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." (1Peter 1:18-19). Jesus gives His very life, down to His last drop of blood, in order to redeem us.
July is a month which the Church dedicates to honoring the Precious Blood of Jesus in a special way. Why the Precious Blood? Because the Precious Blood of Jesus is the price of our salvation. It is God's answer to our sin. It is the ransom He freely and willingly gives as an expression of His unfathomable love for us.
And this ransom, which is of infinite worth, has been paid once and for all. It may be claimed for anything and anyone, for salvation, conversions, protection, liberation from bondages, reconciliation, purification, healing, restoration of relationships with the Trinity, the saints, each other, for the souls in Purgatory, for advancement of the work of the Kingdom.
How do we access this ransom that is ours? Most easily through the sacraments, through the Mass, through prayer. St. Paul says that where sin abounds grace superabounds. (Romans 5:20). He can say this because of the ransom which Christ has paid! We are entitled to all the good things of God because of this ransom. And we are left all of the channels in the Church by which we may acquire them.
Who doesn't want to be saved? Saved from despair, saved from meaninglessness, saved from a life without love, saved from our own narrow, selfish desires and compulsions, and from all the captivities the world so easily lures us into? Is there anyone who does not want to be saved from illusion? Saved from sin? Is there anyone who does not want to be saved from death? Really?
St. Pope John XXIII stated, "The world can still set itself right and always will be able to, because the voice and Blood of Christ cry out for pity and mercy... Devotion to the Precious Blood is the devotion of our time...It is devotion for all souls, for the whole world."
If you really want to know what God thinks of humanity, what He thinks of you, ponder well the astounding price Christ has paid for you and for all of mankind, and let your heart respond unceasingly with awe and overflowing gratitude!
June 2, 2014