30 March 2012

The vengeance of the Lord

The Christian singer and songwriter Rich Mullins once quipped,
I know, "'vengeance is mine,' says the Lord."  I just want to be about the Lord's business.
How many times in our own lives do we, too, just want to be about the Lord's business?  How often do we say with Jeremiah, in one way or another, "Let me witness the vengeance you take on them [my enemies], for to you [O Lord] I have entrusted my cause" (Jeremiah 20:12).

Today, as on every Friday and at every celebration of the Eucharist, and especially as we draw near to Holy Week, we can indeed witness the vengeance God takes upon his enemies.

As Jesus ascended Mount Calvary to perform the Father's work, the work of reconciliation, God's vengeance was made known (cf. John 10:37-38).  As he hung upon the Cross, Jesus could well say, "the cords of the nether world enmeshed me, the snares of death overtook me," though only for a moment (Psalm 18:6).

From the Cross, the Lord Jesus cried out in his distress to his Father and his "cry to him reached his ears" who then raised him from the dead on the third day (Psalm 18:7).  Through his death and resurrection, Jesus "has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked" (Jeremiah 20:13)!

What is more, the Lord calls each of us to participate in his vengeance as he says, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).  Whenever we unite ourselves to the Lord's Cross, we witness his vengeance, though it is very much not what we would expect it to be.

Let each of us, then, gather at the foot of the Cross, at the stronghold of the Savior, and there call upon the Lord who will indeed hear us (cf. Psalm 18:3).

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