BIBLICAL TEXT FOR 2017
2 Corinthians 5:14-20
For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
The Eight Days and the Worship Service
The text, 2 Cor 5:14-20, shapes the reflections of the eight days, which develop some of the theological insights of the individual verses, as follows:
Day 1: One has died for all
Day 2: Live no longer for themselves
Day 3: We regard no one from a human point of view
Day 4: Everything old has passed away
Day 5: Everything has become new
Day 6: God reconciled us to himself
Day 7: The ministry of reconciliation
Day 8: Reconciled to God
|Isaiah 53:4-12||He gave his life as an atoning sacrifice|
|Psalm 118: 1.14-29||God did not abandon me to death|
|1 John 2:1-2||Christ died for all|
|John 15:13-17||Giving his life for his friends|
When Paul was converted to Christ he came to a radical new understanding: one person has died for all. Jesus did not just die for his own people, nor merely for those who sympathized with his teachings. He died for all people, past, present and future. Faithful to the Gospel, many Christians down the centuries have laid down their lives for their friends. One such person was the Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe, who was imprisoned in the concentration camp at Auschwitz and who in 1941 willingly gave up his life so that a fellow prisoner could live.
Because Jesus died for all, all have died with him (2 Cor 5:14). In dying with Christ our old way of life becomes a thing of the past and we enter into a new form of existence: abundant life – a life in which we can experience comfort, trust and forgiveness, even today – a life which continues to have meaning even after death. This new life is life in God.
Having come to this realization, Paul felt compelled by the love of Christ to preach the Good News of reconciliation with God. Christian churches share in this same commission of proclaiming the Gospel message. We need to ask ourselves how we can proclaim this gospel of reconciliation in view of our divisions.
- What does it mean to say that Jesus died for all?
- The German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “I am a brother to another person through what Jesus Christ did for me and to me; the other person has become a brother to me through what Jesus Christ did for him.” How does this affect how I view others?
- What are the consequences of this for ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue?
God our Father,
in Jesus you gave us the one who died for all.
He lived our life and died our death.
You accepted his sacrifice and raised him to new life with you.
Grant that we, who have died with him,
may be made one by the Holy Spirit
and live in the abundance of your divine presence
now and for ever. Amen.