a thing. However, in his omnipresence as a divine person he transcends the universe. If you deny his human nature, with all of its constraints and limitations, is an instrument and function of his omnipresence you are saying he shed his human nature in order to be with us in omnipresence to the end of time. That would be an outright denial of the fact that the consubstantial union of Christ's human nature to his Divine Person still exists as God and man, and that would be an outright attack on his reign in glory even now as God and man.
Of course he did not shed his human nature, he rose from the dead with it, and he promised to be with us as God and man to the end of time. He is present in the present for all time as both God and man, in real time, at any time.
Nor can you take one instant of his earthly life (take the moment he said to the Jews "Before Abraham came to be I AM") and say only that instant of his earthly life is present to all of time. That would be to breach the consubstantial union with his human nature to his Divine Person; it would be to try to cut out a segment of omnipresence (omnipresence is not mutable) to say his human nature is consubstantial with his divine person in that moment only. No, you cannot do that, you cannot cut out a piece of consubstantial union in time in which the human nature of Jesus is one in substance with his Divine Person like you are cutting a piece out of a pie. So, in fact, every single instant of his earthly life, and this includes the event of Calvary, is present to all of time and place as a function and instrument of his omnipresence as a divine person.
Therefore, Calvary, being an event in his earthly life which takes place in his human nature which is the instrument of redemption for the 2nd person of the Trinity, is every bit as much present to all of time and place as a function of his omnipresence as it was 2,000 years ago. He is the Alpha and the Omega who is before us and ahead of us, Who Was, Who Is, and Who is to Come.
Remember, the Jews claimed that Jesus blasphemed when he said "Before Abraham came to be, I AM," but who was it that really blasphemed against God? If you deny that Calvary is present to all of time you do as well.
We must now look at the Catholic Catechism which states:
460 "The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":78 "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine son-ship, might become a son of God."79 "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81
How is it that we share in the divinity of Christ? Jesus takes the human nature that he took from Mary and makes it one with his Divine Person (not divine nature), but he also takes his very same human nature and makes it one in substance with our own human nature which the Council of Chalcedon teaches "... and the same homousious (same substance, same essence) in our human nature." It is very important, however, to understand the distinction of persons between us and Jesus remains even when he becomes one with us in our human nature. He remains a divine person only, we remain a human person only.
Even among human persons (which Jesus is not, he is a divine person) we all share in the one substance of human nature as distinct persons, and in fact, we even proceed one person from another which is a reflection of the procession of distinct persons existing in one essence in God. For us there is a beginning point in time, in God who is Eternal there is no beginning point for the procession of persons in the essence of the One God, there is co-eternal existence in the distinct persons of the One God.
We share in the divinity of Christ by virtue of the fact that his human nature which is consubstantial with his divine person is also consubstantial with our human nature, all of which is accomplished by his transcendent power.
We can now look at the distinction between the priesthood of the laity by virtue of baptism, and the priesthood of the ordained by virtue of Holy Orders.
We know that Jesus makes his human nature one with our human nature, but in the priesthood of the ordained the very person of the Priest becomes the very priesthood of Christ which continues in time and place through the man who is ordained. Upon ordination Christ confers numerous powers to the man who is ordained, among which is the power to absolve sin and to say Holy Mass to make Calvary substantially accessible to us so that we can receive the literal Body and Blood of the Lord.
The substantial reality of Calvary is present and available to us through the veil of the Sacramental Priesthood of Christ. When the Priest says these words of consecration, "This is my body ... this is my blood which shall be shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin," we are actually at Calvary. This is accomplished by the fact that Christ, in his human nature which is an instrument of his omnipresence and which is one with the human nature of the Priest, by his transcendent power acting with and through the Priest, makes the substantial reality of Calvary which is present to all of time accessible and available to us. The only thing that changes through time is that more and more people are able to be at Calvary when they are born into time.
What does this mean in practical terms in our day to day living as the laity, meaning those who are not ordained to the priesthood?
It means Christ wishes to enter into every moment of our life to share everything with us so he can sanctify it, joy and suffering alike. We have but to offer all of it to the Lord as a spiritual sacrifice that he joins to his own sacrifice on Calvary in Holy Mass. This is what Catholics mean when we say "offer it up," we offer up what we suffer to Christ so that he may enter into our suffering to make it become redemptive suffering. To understand this let's go back for a moment to the distinction between Jesus as a divine person and us as a human person.
Imagine for a moment a river which has a bridge over it, on one side of the bridge stands Jesus, a divine person, and on the other side, us, a human person. We as human persons can never cross over that bridge and become a divine person; there will always be only three divine persons in the essence of the One God. However, Jesus can walk over that bridge to our side. If you understand Jesus as the Groom, then understand his human nature as the bridge by which he comes to be one with his Bride, which is us in our human nature, we are the Bride. In this you will see the reason for the Incarnation, you will hear him say "I have come to you to be one with you. Let me be one with you, let me help you, let me be your strength. There is no longer any reason to fear. I will take care of you, I will nourish you, I will cherish you, I will feed you, I will protect you, I will guide you. I will give you my own inheritance to be one with me. I will give my all for you, I will even give up my life for you so that when our flesh becomes one the atonement accomplished in my flesh burns away your sin so that you do not perish in your sin." This is the Holy Mass in which there is an exchange of vows between the Groom and the Bride. The Groom, says "This is my body ... this is my blood which is being shed for you for the remission of your sins." The Bride responds by saying "Amen, so be it." Even though we are poor hands at cooperating with all that Christ offers to us, how can we be indifferent to this reality, to such a love as in the Holy Mass?
Jesus exchanges vows with us while he is on the Cross, and it is in the Mass where he wants to meet us in our suffering. This is why Christ said "Take up your cross and follow me." Where did he go with the Cross? He went to Calvary. Where do we think we go to meet Jesus with our cross, to McDonalds for a Happy Meal? No, we meet Jesus on Calvary in the Holy Mass. The form of the Cross, or the type of suffering we carry takes many forms and comes in so many ways, but the type of Cross we carry is irrelevant. The important thing to understand is that Christ wants to enter into our suffering no matter what form it takes so that our suffering becomes one with the suffering of Christ on the Cross which is accomplished by his transcendent power.
Christ wants to enter into the condition of our suffering to sanctify it with his own suffering, and together the Father sees the one offering of Christ with our suffering made one with his Only Begotten Son. We don't just share in the divinity of Christ with joys; we enter into the divinity of Christ on the cross, which is why our suffering takes on a co-redemptive value. This is exactly what Saint Paul tells us in Colossians 1:24:
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church (Colossians 1:24)."
Paul clearly understands that our suffering joined to the suffering of Christ does not add to the sufficiency of Calvary, but the suffering of all those (including Paul's own suffering) who belong to Christ is gathered through time as we come to exist and made (by the transcendent power of Christ) one suffering, one offering to the Father, which, in total, is the sufficiency of Calvary.
Until the suffering of everyone (in total) who will belong to Christ through time is united to him on Calvary, the sufficiency of Calvary which is waiting for our suffering, the suffering of Christ is lacking which is exactly what St. Paul stated; and it is the only reason he could make such a claim as he did in Colossians 1:24. All grace accorded to the saved in that one sufficiency of Calvary will be the fruit of the one offering to the Father, which consists of our suffering made one with Christ; the suffering we offer to Christ becomes co-redemptive. Therein we have the economy of salvation, not one extra grace will be accorded to those who rejected grace because salvation is 100% sufficient and efficient.
In other words, Christ asks us to redeem the world with him which is exactly what St. Paul stated, for the sake of his body, the church. So this is not a violation of the fact that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. Satan and his minions do everything possible to come between us and this reality, between our suffering made one with the suffering of Christ on the Cross, namely, in Holy Mass. He will convince people to reject this reality, to reject belief in the Holy Mass, to forsake the weekly obligation of Mass, to minimize it second to sports events, to take away a sense of sending anything in our day through our angel to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that it be made one with him. Satan hates the Holy Mass more than anything else, and you can take that to the bank with the winning lottery ticket.
In fact, St. Paul explains "co-redemption" and that it is a reality rooted in the Power of God Himself. In 2nd Corinthians 4:7-12 we read:
7: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us." (We are the earthen vessel, and why is the earthen vessel a treasure? Because we, along with our suffering, are made one with Christ).
8: "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;"
9: "persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;"
10: "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." (How can they be carrying around the death of Jesus in their body if Calvary is over and done with? They cannot, which means they are united in their suffering to the literal death of Christ on Calvary.)
11: "For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." (What value is there in being given up to death for Jesus if there is no value in what they offer? The only reason their offering can have value is if it is united to the only reality that has value in the matter of redemption which is Christ who dies for us on Calvary).
12: "So death is at work in us, but life in you." (For there to be life in the other, which is grace in the soul of the other, because of the death at work in "us", the only way grace can be given to the other soul is due to the fact that the suffering of the faithful is one reality with Christ on Calvary. This is co-redemption suffering because life is given to the unbelievers as a result of Paul's suffering. The only way Paul can speak of his suffering as something that gives life to the soul of the unbelievers is if the transcendent power of Christ makes Paul's suffering one with Christ's own suffering on the Cross, and so it is with all of those who belong to Christ).
The prayers, sacrifices, supplications, and therefore the sufferings of the Saints are united to Christ as a sweet aroma to God the Father in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
As stated, but not to be missed, we can also unite our joys and sufferings to the Mass throughout the day when we are not at Mass. We can unite our heart and our thoughts to the Mass which is ever present being said on Catholic Altars throughout the world at any given time of day or night. We see this in the words of St. Peter when he tells us the Saints can suffer and offer spiritual sacrifices. In 1st Peter 2:5 we read:
"And like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
Apart from Jesus our suffering remains as dumb anguish, and the simple fact is the Lord wants to divinize our suffering no matter how small or trivial the suffering we think it may be. If we let him enter into our suffering he grafts it to the Cross with his own suffering. This becomes an opportunity for us to be charitable towards those we love, those who persecute us, and for others who we may never meet or know in this life, only in the next. Jesus opens doors of opportunity for us in whatever suffering we encounter in life, and given that all crosses are the roads that lead to Calvary we would do well to practice this highest degree of love. Wide is the road that leads to destruction, but all roads upon which the weary trod who will be raised to eternal life lead to the Holy Mass.
Is there more Scripture to support this understanding of suffering united to Christ? Yes, there is more.
In Acts 9:4-5 we read:
4: 'And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute ME?"
5: "And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you ARE persecuting;"
This is irrefutable evidence from Jesus Himself that He is suffering in His faithful, and this is years after He ascended into glory.
I would also like to note that Jesus did not say,
" Why do you persecute those who believe in me?
"Why are you persecuting My Church?
" Why are you persecuting My Friends?
"Why are you persecuting my institution?
Jesus said "Why do you persecute "ME"? I am Jesus, whom you ARE persecuting." (Not who HAS BEEN persecuted)
It would be impossible for Jesus to declare this fact, this reality, if Calvary was not present to all time and place. He could not suffer in his faithful if Calvary is over and done with.
In Acts 22:7-8 we read:
7: "And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
8: "And I answered, `Who are you, Lord?' And He said to me, "I AM JESUS OF NAZARETH WHOM YOU ARE PERSECUTING."
And in Acts 26:14-15 we read:
14: "And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads."
15: "And I said, `Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting."
We see the same in Hebrews 6:6:
6: "And are fallen away: to be renewed again to penance, CRUCIFYING AGAIN to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery."
Paul clearly speaks of crucifying Christ again, yet the event of Calvary had come and gone. We did not exist when Christ died on Calvary, how then can our sins literally crucify him if we did not yet exist? Our sins literally crucify him when we come to exist because Calvary is an event present to us when we come to exist and sin, each and every time we sin.
In 8:34-39 we read:
34: "Who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes (again, present tense) for us?"
I would like to note that Paul confirms Jesus is in glory "interceding" (present tense) for us. He does not say "Who HAS interceded for us."
35: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"
36: "As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
Paul is identifying our sufferings as being joined to Christ who was led to the slaughter.
37: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
38: "For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,"
39: "nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
To fail to see Calvary as an everlasting sacrifice is to deny the very priesthood of Jesus Christ.
In Hebrews 6:20 we read:
20: "â€¦ Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
This verse does not say "He WAS a High Priest" and that His role as High Priest ended on Calvary. Jesus is ahead of us in time, and he is in glory at the same time as the High Priest Forever.
The function of a High Priest is to offer sacrifice for sins. It would be impossible for Christ to fulfill his function as the eternal High Priest if He does not have an everlasting sacrifice to offer in atonement for our sins at the right hand of His Father in glory. When Jesus said "It is finished" on the Cross the redemptive sacrifice on Calvary had been accomplished, but it is a sacrifice present to all time and place.
If you deny that Jesus is the Eternal High Priest you would be rejecting what you have just seen in Scripture. If you deny the role of a priest is to offer sacrifice you would be denying Jesus is the Eternal High Priest yet again. If you deny that Jesus, as the Eternal High Priest, needs a perpetual sacrifice to offer you would be attacking the very priesthood of Jesus Christ.
To reject the fact that Calvary is present to all of time and place is to see the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross as being less than an animal sacrifice, and in fact you would have rejected redemption itself.
Look closer now at Jesus in Glory at the right hand of God the Father.
Hebrews 7:25 tells us:
25: "Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them."
This verse says "to save", not "has saved", and it would be impossible to "draw near to be saved" if Calvary is an event of the past that is not present to all of time and place. This verse tells us that Jesus "lives" (present tense) to make intercession for us, and he offers to the Father his sacrifice on Calvary as he makes (present tense) intercession for us as the Eternal High Priest. This is the Catholic Mass. It is NOT a "re-crucifixion" of Jesus.
We see this in Revelation 5:5:
"Then one of the elders said to me, "Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open