Jesus Died for You

We just celebrated our Easter Triduum.  The Triduum begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper where Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the Priesthood.  It continues with the celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ’s death.  Yes, we celebrate his death.  We celebrate it because of what it means for us, Jesus saves us from our sins.  Then, Jesus rises from the Tomb.  God has power even over death. 

These events happen over three days (triduum) but are one event.  This event is the most important moment there is in the history of humanity.  We prepare for it with the season of Lent.  We continue to celebrate Easter and the Resurrection until Pentecost.

There is nothing more important than what happens in the Easter Triduum.  Yet, humanity needs to ask itself, we all need to ask ourselves, if we are changed by our knowing of and experiencing these events. 

One way to ask ourselves this is to examine our lives using the question, “which has the stronger influence on our lives, the world or our faith.”  Do you believe what the world believes or do you believe what the Lord teaches us in faith?  The world wants us to throw out 2,000 years of teaching presented by the Church through the Holy Spirit (not to mention the teachings found in the Old Testament).  For example, the world wants us to throw out what the Bible says about same-sex relationships.

This should lead us to ask, “Does our faith shape the world?” or “does the world shape (dictate) our faith?”. 

Which do you trust more, the world or Jesus?

Why should we trust the world?  What has it done for us?  I think the primary motivators of people following the ways of the world is an emphasis on worldly pleasure and an overemphasis on freedom.  The world says do what brings you immediate gratification.  The trouble is what brings us immediate gratification sometimes brings pain in the long-term.  This is especially true when the act that brings the immediate pleasure/gratification is sin.  Sin brings the eternal pain of Hell.

The overemphasis on freedom says we should be able to do whatever we want.  (Whatever we want generally being determined by immediate gratification or pleasure).  A proper understanding of freedom focuses not on what we want to do but what we ought to do (see “Homily of his holiness John Paul II” during his Apostolic Journey to America. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. October 8, 1995., 7.).

Why should we trust our Church?  The Church has Jesus Christ as its foundation and has been led by the Holy Spirit for 2,000 years.  The church has had its scandals when it did not listen to the Holy Spirit.  The scandals often arose when the church followed worldly ways instead of Jesus.  Pray that the Church always allows the Holy Spirit to lead the way in all things.

Why should we trust Jesus?

Because He died for us.

What more can we ask?  Has the world ever died for you?

Those who follow worldly ways and reject Church teachings often say the Church needs to get with the times.  They see Church teaching as out of date.  Yet, I do not hear them offer intellectual or theological arguments for their rejection.  Their position(s) seem to be based on a desire for earthly pleasure and the overemphasis on freedom.  Those who say the Church needs to get with the times assume the world’s ways are the correct way.

We do need to read the signs of the times but what is our reference point?  In Gaudium Et Spes, 4, we read “To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel” (Second Vatican Council,  Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. More commonly known at Gaudium Et Spes, 1965. cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1788).  Jesus Christ is our cornerstone upon which our Catholic faith is built. 

The world does not determine what is right and wrong.  God does.  We need to ask the Lord to help us see as He sees (see 1 Samuel 16:7, Isaiah 55:8-9 (read at the Easter Vigil)).  Remember, Jesus is the one who died for you.  You can trust him.  When we choose Jesus over the world, we may not receive immediate pleasure but we will receive the eternal joy of Heaven. 

We see how the world is changing in a recent news story that a friend share with me (Anthony Izaguirre, “Cheating on your spouse is a crime in New York. The 1907 law may finally be repealed.” Associated Press, March 22, 2024.  Available online at  The story says that New York State is considering repealing the law that makes adultery illegal.  Izaguirre writes, “Lavine says it’s time to throw out the law given that it’s never enforced and because prosecutors shouldn’t be digging into what willing adults do behind closed doors.”  While there is some logic in eliminating laws that are not enforceable, those who support doing this do not seem to realize that the act of repealing the law would be interpreted by many as saying adultery is not bad.

I am not looking to send people who commit adultery to prison.  I don’t think that would do any good.  What we need to do to people who commit adultery is to point them to the Lord.

Regardless of whether or not New York State, or any other government, repeals laws against adultery, the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” stands.  This Commandment is given by God in Exodus 20:14.  It is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:18.  Jesus expounds on it in Matthew 5:27-28 (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2331-2400). 

Adultery misses the purpose God created sexuality for.  Pornography and masturbation do the same thing.  They all emphasis the physical pleasure of sex without acknowledging the true purpose of sexual intimacy.  God did not create us as beings who engage in sexual acts solely for the physical pleasure.  Sexual acts are meant to express a deep and loving commitment between a male and a female who are married in a loving and committed relationship.  Pornography and masturbation focus solely on physical pleasure.  Sex with someone besides your spouse ignores the commitment of marriage and the unitive component of sexual intimacy as the husband and wife come together as one (see “Catholic Morality and Sexuality” for more on this).

The world also says we should make a name for ourselves.  In the Gospel of John, the “other disciple” is not named.  The other disciple whom Jesus loved is not out to make a name for himself.  In fact, we should all seek to be the “other disciple”.  Likewise, the suffering servant prophesized four times through the prophet Isaiah is not named.  As Christians we see Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of the Suffering Servant oracle.  Yet, we all are called to be a suffering servant in some way. 

Does this mean that no one should be named in the Bible?  No.  When our purpose is to make a name for ourselves, we commit the deadly sin of pride.  The opposite of pride is humility.  However, humility does not say that we can’t recognize the good we do.  Humility acknowledges the good we do but gives credit to others and to God for the gifts He has given us.

Abraham did not seek to make a name for himself.  He merely went as the Lord directed (see Genesis 12:1-4).  When God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac, he set about doing it because he trusted the Lord, not to make a name for himself (see Genesis 22:1-18). 

Moses did not seek to make a name for himself.  In fact, in Exodus 4:10, he says he feels he is not a good enough speaker to do what the Lord asks of him.

Jesus is the perfect example of humility.  We read in Philippians 2:6-11, Jesus “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.    Rather, he emptied himself…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death…Because of this, God greatly exalted him.”

Jesus calls each of us to humility.  In Matthew 20:16, He says, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  In Matthew 23:12, He says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (cf. Luke 14:11, Luke 18:14).  Jesus sets the example of servant discipleship when He washes the feet of his disciples (see John 13:1-15).

The world says you must “make yourself.”  I completely disagree.  We do not need to “make ourselves.”  What we need to do is “find ourselves.”  What does it mean to “find ourselves”?  It means we should seek to know the gifts God has given us and how He calls us to use these gifts to work for the building up of his kingdom.

We find true joy in become who God has made us to be.  This is what we ought to do with our freedom.


Fr. Jeff


  1. Warren on 04/13/2024 at 6:51 am

    Through your examples of a couple of easily evident improper actions, you have shone a light upon a particular sin and it’s glossing over within our culture.

    The consequences to what otherwise may have been a fulfilling and generative marriage can be damaging and lifelong. Society renaming that act as simply consensual does not diminish its gravity. It does not mention the third party which is suffering the insult is bypassed in this consensuality.

    Less easily identified but just as dangerous to our souls are the very frequent poorly chosen and habitual decisions that as well can have dire consequences to those in our paths. Forgiveness for those acts and justice can simply be beyond our ability to obtain or provide within this earthly sphere.

    In a chosen time and place, Jesus the Anointed One provided this forgiveness and provides it to us, if we but ask. The broken He alone can make whole. Furthermore He clarified a hazily seen truth within Hebrew Scripture to Truth in its fullness.

    Easter’s magnificence, with its annual pageantry reminders is such a necessary blessing to His people.

    Your relatively deep look into it’s meaning in your homily and writings are so appreciated. Thank you for the work you put into these insights.

    It’s not to try to say that His ways are easy, its to say this ‘Way’ is critical as our only path forward.

    • Fr. Jeff on 04/14/2024 at 11:03 am

      Thank you for your comment. I will just draw attention to your words, “are the very frequent poorly chosen and habitual decision that as well can have dire consequences to those in our paths.” We need to think before we act.


      Fr. Jeff

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