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Friends, today’s Gospel is John’s wonderful narrative of Christ’s Passion.

On the cross, Jesus entered into close quarters with sin (because that’s where we sinners are found) and allowed the heat and fury of sin to destroy him, even as he protected us.

We can see, with special clarity, why the first Christians associated the crucified Jesus with the suffering servant of Isaiah. By enduring the pain of the cross, Jesus did indeed bear our sins; by his stripes we were indeed healed.

And this is why the sacrificial death of Jesus is pleasing to the Father. The Father sent his Son into godforsakenness, into the morass of sin and death—not because he delighted in seeing his Son suffer, but rather because he wanted his Son to bring the divine light to the darkest place.

It is not the agony of the Son in itself that pleases his Father, but rather the Son’s willing obedience in offering his body in sacrifice in order to take away the sin of the world. St. Anselm said that the death of the Son reestablished the right relationship between divinity and humanity.