So now, brethren, what torment the man who denied the Lord brought upon himself? We should therefore watch over ourselves that we should not be led astray, that for the sake of things of this life, we should not be made strangers to him who has created us. Perhaps there is someone today who is denying God for the sake of riches because the love of money closes the eyes of those who are given to it. Such a person takes the part of Judas, He has sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver.
It is therefore good for us to direct our concerns towards the Lord since it is he who takes care of us [text here has been lost]. Let us now turn to the goal proposed to us by the cross. For the ladder which Jacob contemplated that was fixed to the ground and reached up to heaven on which the angel of the Lord ascended and descended (Gen. 28:12), is Our Lord Jesus Christ raised up on the wood of the cross. The angels surrounded the cross, attending to his will.
Consider and contemplate God's mercy and great patience. He looks down from on high and sees his only-begotten Son nailed to the wood, and is longsuffering in his great bounty. For him, then, they still pierce our Lord Jesus Christ's holy hands with nails, they still slap his face, they still beat his head with fists, they still give him vinegar mixed with gall to drink, they still divide his garments by lot, and they still break a cane on his head. And in spite of all these things, he does not grow angry, nor has he any rancour in his heart against them.
Do you want to know the truth? I will not tell you; listen to him. After these things he cried out, saying, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,' (Lk. 23:34) Do you realise how great is the Father's mercy towards us, and that of his Son, who mounted on the cross for the salvation of the entire created world? For the moment he was hung on the cross, he purified the whole of creation, the things of heaven and the things below. His divine body, then, hanging on the cross made the whole air clean and pure. With the shedding of his sacred blood, the whole earth was equally purified of its contamination. Moreover, his divinity descended into Hades, despoiled it, and released the souls shut up in darkness, setting them free. For this is what he promised us with his mouth of truth, which in all eternity has never uttered any falsehood.
'If they exalt me on earth, I will draw them to me,' (Mt. 10:32) In another place it says, 'I will draw them to me with the chains of my love.' (Jn 12:32). What great love, then, is equal to this, which makes him mount of the wood of the cross and surrenders him voluntarily to imprisonment? For if it was not of his own free will, who would have been able to seize him? For who could ever have seized God, the Creator?
At the moment the impudent Jews surrounded him to arrest him, he asked them with great mercy, 'Whom do you seek with swords and clubs?' (Lk. 22:52) But they replied in their pride, hardness of heart and arrogance saying, 'We seek Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus replied, saying, 'I am he.' (Jn. 18:5). The ray of light in his divinity struck their faces and they fell to the ground (Jn. 18:6). Likewise in his great mercy he made them stand up because perhaps they would repent. But they stood up and seized his disciples with great harshness.
God does all these things, then, in his desire to save us. Otherwise in that hour he would have brought it about that the earth would have opened its mouth and they would have descended through the opening into the place of their Ninevite brothers, along with the other brothers whom the earth opened its mouth and swallowed. I refer to Dathan and Abiram and the sons of Korah, the men who rebelled against Moses. (Num. 16:1-33).
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)