Feast of the Holy Redeemer
A redeemer is one who pays the debt of another, to deliver him from an unfortunate situation from which he finds himself unable to be liberated without aid. As an example, we can recall the religious Orders whose members dedicated themselves to the redemption of captives, paying for their release or offering to serve in the place of those who had become slaves of the Moors.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of all mankind. From what misfortune did He free us? The mystery of original sin and man’s enslavement to the influence of the demons, is the key to the other mysteries of our religion, although it is the most difficult for us to grasp. (Cf. Book of Job)
Our Lord has re-established man in a state more enviable than that of our first father, Adam, who until his sin was the possessor of remarkable gifts and immortality. With Job we can say: I know that my Redeemer liveth, for we have known Christ and His doctrine, and we possess Him in His Sacrament of love. The evils from which He has delivered us are both of the present life and of the future life, if indeed we cooperate with His plan for our salvation. The evils of the present life are those which affect the body, sickness and death, and those which affect the soul. Of these latter — the more important — first of all is ignorance. Before Christ came, this ignorance was so great, the darkness so thick, that men had reached the point of no longer knowing what it was most important for them to know — their origin, their nature and their future destinies. The second evil of the soul is concupiscence, that crowd of bad inclinations which make us all tend toward evil and often carry us into it. Thirdly, we have to bear a hereditary burden of sin — first, original sin, in which we are all conceived; then actual sins, into which concupiscence leads all men to a greater or lesser degree.
But Jesus has delivered His faithful Christians, and all who so desire. He has delivered from ignorance by revealing to us the truths we must believe to be saved, and by teaching us through His holy Church, the continuing work of Redemption. He has delivered us from concupiscence by actual graces, which if they do not extirpate all bad inclinations, at least give us the strength to overcome them and tame them. And God can well say to us, as He once said to Saint Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee. (I Cor. 12:9) And there is no sin for which Jesus has not earned our pardon, if we ask for it. Do not the sacraments of Baptism and Penance have the power to take away every sin, even if they should be as numerous as the hairs of our head, and redder than scarlet?
We are not delivered from the exterior power of sin’s chastisements affecting the body, but Jesus has made it possible to convert them into blessings, for He has won for us the strength to bear them with patience and sanctify them by submission to the holy Will of God, and thereby to make of them a very great source of merits. Death itself will not dominate us forever. After having felled us, it will be victim in its turn, for Christ will raise us up some day, as He raised Himself up, and then we will die no more. Let us say in our hearts, an unending Thank You to our Redeemer.
Les fêtes chrétiennes, by Canon R. Turcan (P. Téqui: Paris, 1929 ) Vol. I