Preface II of the Sundays in Ordinary Time

For more information on the Preface in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)

Ordinary Time gives us many opportunities to remember the moments of salvation history that we sometimes take for granted. The backdrop of salvation history shouldn’t fade into the background.

The mystery of salvation

One of the fundamentals of salvation history is that it entails salvation. If someone had to give you CPR, push you out of the way of a vehicle about to hit you, or save you from drowning, you’d remember with gratitude, unless you had a death wish. If someone helped you recover financially, get off drugs, or reconcile with your family they’d never cease to be your friend unless you didn’t care about them. We don’t have a death wish and we care about Christ because he saved us.

“For out of compassion for the waywardness that is ours, he humbled himself and was born of the Virgin; by the passion of the Cross he freed us from unending death, and by rising from the dead he gave us life eternal.”

A world consisting of a downward spiral toward an unending death is a sad and hopeless world if there is no help to be found. Even after the Fall the Lord kept hope for redemption alive: “I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman [Eve], and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel” (Genesis 3:15). The Church Father saw this enmity between humanity and the Devil as the first sign that humanity would be redeemed in the future by descendants of Adam and Eve. Salvation means rescuing someone; redeeming them means paying a ransom for what they did. Our Lord did both, and he became man to do it.

In the first chapters of Genesis we see sin after the Fall spreading through the world, yet even in those moments of darkness the Lord rescued Noah and his family. That was just the first rescue in salvation history: after that came the Patriarchs, the people of Israel, the kings of Israel, and the Judges. Each one was a preparation for the definitive redemption won on the Cross by Our Lord. He wasn’t forced to save us: we blew it, and whenever we sin we continue to blow it. He did so because he cared about us. He became our savior by choice.

Many tombstones and altars bear the inscription IHS. It means Iesus Hominum Salvator (Latin for “Jesus, Savior of men”). Let’s never forget that we were redeemed at a great personal cost for Christ.

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