14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
We offer only Christ and him crucified. This is the word of God to us today. We are called to live in the world, we are sent out into the world like lambs among wolves, in human terms utterly defenseless. Like Jesus. His only defense, his armour and indeed his weapon is his mission in obedience to the Father, to win the victory of the lamb who was slain. And that is our only defense too.
He is not forced upon anyone. We can’t make people believe. Witness, example and prayer may work but argument and fighting will not. Whether the Lord is accepted or not, we must proclaim him, in church, at home, at work. Jesus makes clear that worldly success is not part of the mission, neither rejoice or despair at the results, for true success lies with the lamb of God who sends us out. Only through the cross is Satan defeated.
The cross, the result of utter defenselessness, of obedience, of being the lamb among the wolves, has become the path to victory in the resurrection. This is what St Paul means by ‘the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world’.
The world, sin and death, has been rendered ultimately harmless through Christ’s crucifixion and Christ by being crucified has won for us victory over the world. The lamb has triumphed over the wolves. In Christ through our baptism, the world is crucified, it has no more power over us and we, crucified with Christ, share his victory.
This great victory includes powerlessness and suffering and a mighty struggle and yet to accept it, to come to realise in faith that it is the way of love, the way of security and hope is perhaps what causes Isaiah to use that beautiful image of a mother comforting her child. The world offers so many things good and bad - the church can offer only what she has received, the love of God revealed and made present in the world by Christ Crucified. And to accept in loving faith this mission and victory of the defenseless lamb is a source of comfort likened to being nursed by a mother.