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"Sin is a chain that blocks us."

The first letter of St. John: Christ, the Righteous One, atoned for our sins (part two)

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He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,

and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

(1 John 2:2)


"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins": if we had not needed salvation truly Jesus would have died in vain.

John the Baptist, who had come to preach a baptism of penance for the remission of sins (Mk 1:4), proclaimed about Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn 1:29). We will see in this same letter that on the one hand the Christian still runs the danger of sinning and, on the other (because of his birth from God the Father and his union with Christ the Lord), he is immune from sin (cf. 3:6; 3:9 and 5:18). We are faced with a stupendous paradox: let us pray that we can understand it at least in part so that we can live full of great security and, at the same time, protected and stimulated by a healthy fear. Let us also remember that Christ's ability to purify us from sin cost him dearly: He offered Himself for us as a victim on the cross. Paul, in fact, states, "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood--to be received by faith" (Rom 3:25).

"And not only for ours": Jesus Christ died first of all for our sins. Let us not think that He suffered first and foremost for the sins of others or for the very serious misdeeds of the world: He died for me! (cf. Gal 2:20; Lk 22:19-20). John the Evangelist is aware of this and does not take himself out of the number of redeemed sinners. What had been the not always correct behavior of the great teacher? In the Gospels we find a few hints: the desire to excel (Mk 10:35), envy (Mk 9:38), revenge (Lk 9:54) to the point that Jesus called him the son of thunder (Mk 3:17), fear (Lk 9:34). Just enough to understand that he too struggled to improve himself, but above all he needed Jesus as his savior.

"But also for the sins of the whole world (cf. Jn 11:52)": Jesus is so powerful that He can take away all the sins of the whole world no matter how numerous and serious they are: "She (Mary) will bear a son, and you (Joseph) will call his name Jesus: for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:21). Let us remember that with the remission of sins we are simultaneously given the gift of the grace of the Holy Spirit and of eternal life. We have a living hope in the Lord Jesus, Savior of the world (4:14)!

On November 16, 1921 Luisa saw that Jesus is all bound. His hands, His feet, His waist were bound; a thick iron chain came down from His neck. But He was bound so tightly, that His Divine Person was deprived of motion. Jesus explained to her that during the course of His Passion all other pains competed among themselves, but they would alternate, and one would give place to another. Almost like sentries, they would mount guard to do the worst to Jesus, to boast of having been better than the other. But the ropes they never removed from Him - from the moment Jesus was taken, up to mount Calvary, He remained always bound; rather, they kept adding more and more ropes and chains for fear that He might escape, and to make more fun of Him. But how many pains, confusions, humiliations and falls did these chains procure Him!

In those chains there was great mystery and great expiation. Man, as he begins to fall into sin, remains bound with the chains of his own sin; if it is grave, they are iron chains; if venial, they are chains of rope. So, as he tries to walk in good, he feels the hindrance of the chains, and his step remains hindered. The hindrance that he feels wears him out, debilitates him, and leads him to new falls. If he operates, he feels the hindrance in his hands and remains almost as if he had no hands to do good. In seeing him bound like this, passions make feast and say: ‘The victory is ours’; and from king as he is, they render him slave of brutal passions. How abominable man is in the state of sin! And Jesus, in order to break his chains, wanted to be bound, and never wanted to be without chains, so as to keep His chains ever ready to break those of men. And when the blows, the shoves, made Him fall, He stretched His hands toward man to untie him and render him free again.


don Marco
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