Friends, today for the second time in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus foretells his imminent death.
Jesus spoke frequently of his “hour,” the culmination of his life’s work, and this hour coincides with his cross. In what is perhaps the most disturbing mystery of the New Testament, this macabre glorification through crucifixion is not simply the result of evil human choices; it is also willed by the one whom Jesus called “Abba, Father.” Somehow, it is the deepest purpose of the Incarnation; somehow it is why he was sent.
And therefore the assault on death was the ultimate mission of the Son of God. There could be no place untouched by the divine mercy, no refuge from the press of God’s relentless love. Because the Son has gone to the limits of godforsakenness, we run from the Father only to find ourselves, at the end of our running, in the arms of the Son.
As a parent would go anywhere in order to rescue his child, so God, the parent of the human race, went into the darkest reaches of body and soul in order to save us. And therefore this is the meaning of the cross: God is heart-broken love.