... The fact that Christ voluntarily suffered was such a great good to find in human nature that God was appeased in regard to all the offences of mankind, given that we join ourselves to the suffering Christ in the ways we have mentioned.
To say that Christ reconciled us to God doesn't mean that God began to love us anew: with an eternal love I have loved you.
But Christ's passion removed all occasion for hatred, washing away sin and substituting and agreeable good. Two kinds of sin prevent us from entering the kingdom of heaven: one, common to all humanity, is the sin of Adam, which shut the gates of heaven to man, and the other is the individual sins of men committed by their own acts.
Christ's passion not only delivered all humanity from its common sin -- fault and liability to punishment -- but also reed from their indivdual sins all those who share in Christ's sufferings by faith and love and the sacraments of faith. So Christ's passion has opened to us the gates of the kingdom of heaven. By performing works of justice, the patriarchs earned entry into the kingdom of heaven through the faithin Christ's passion, and were cleansed from their own personal sins.
But neither their faith nor their justice could remove the obstacle constituted by the liability of the whole human race; that had to be removed by the ransom of Christ's blood. Before Christ's passion no one could enter the kingdom of haven to achieve the eternal happiness of enjoying God completely.
Today's reading from Isaiah described the Israelites bringing their offering to the Lord "in clean vessels". The givt of myself -- my patient endurance and fidelity to the will of God -- is as important as the moetary gift I offer.
"People will come from the East and the West ..." &em;
The severity of this Gospel passage is tempered by the announcement that salvation is available to all people if only they open themselves to Jesus and his word.
"O saving Victim, opening wide the gate of heaven to man below."