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That God the Father Delivered Christ to the Passion

Taken from Medulla S. Thomae Aquinatis which arranges various short texts from St. Thomas Aquinas' corpus based on the liturgical year. I will be posting the day's meditation each day and will be bringing it into print once I'm through it.

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Second Sunday of Lent

That God the Father Delivered Christ to the Passion

God hath not spared His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. (Rom. 8:32)

Christ suffered voluntarily out of obedience to the Father. Hence in three respects God the Father did deliver up Christ to the Passion:

1. According to His eternal will He preordained Christ’s Passion for the deliverance of the human race, according to the words of Isaias (53:6): The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all; and again (Isa 53:10): The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity.

2. Inasmuch as by the infusion of charity He inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. Hence we read in the same passage: He was offered because it was His own will (Isa 53:7).

3. By not shielding Him from the Passion, but abandoning Him to His persecutors: thus we read (Matt 27:46) that Christ, while hanging upon the cross, cried out: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? because, to wit, He left Him to the power of His persecutors.

It is indeed a wicked and cruel act to hand over an innocent man to torment and to death against his will. Yet God the Father did not so deliver up Christ, but inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. God’s severity (cf. Rom. 11:22) is thereby shown, for He would not remit sin without penalty: and the Apostle indicates this when (Rom 8:32) he says: God spared not even His own Son. Likewise His goodness (Rom 11:22) is shown, since by no penalty endured could man pay Him enough satisfaction: and the Apostle denotes this when he says: He delivered Him up for us all: and, again (Rom 3:25): Whom—that is to say, Christ—God hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith in His blood.

The same act, for good or evil, is judged differently, accordingly as it proceeds from a different source. The Father delivered up Christ, and Christ surrendered Himself, from charity, and consequently we give praise to both: but Judas betrayed Christ from greed, the Jews from envy, and Pilate from worldly fear, for he stood in fear of Caesar; and these accordingly are held guilty.

(ST III.Q47.A3)

Christ therefore did not owe a death due to any necessity, but out of his love for men, by which he willed man’s salvation, and out of his love for God, by which he wished to fulfill his will, as Matthew 26:39 says: not as I will, but as thou wilt.

(Sentences Commentary, III.D20.A5.Quaest1.ad2.)

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