"And we have seen him, and he had no beauty nor comeliness" (Is 53:2). Was our bridegroom ugly, then? Of course not! ... It was to those persecuting him that he appeared ugly. If they had not thought him ugly, they would not have attacked him, they would not have beaten him with whips, they would not have crowned him with thorns, they would not have dishonored him with spit. They did all these things because he appeared ugly to them. They did not have eyes to see why he is beautiful.

To what eyes does Christ appear beautiful? The kind of eyes Christ himself sought when he said to Philip: "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not see me" (Jn 14:9)? They are eyes that need to be cleansed to be able to see that light, eyes that when even slightly touched by his splendor, are inflamed with love and desire to be healed and enlightened. That you may learn that Christ is beautiful, the prophet says of him: "More beautiful than all the sons of men" (Ps 44:3). ...

What do we love in Christ? His crucified limbs? His pierced side? Or his love? When we hear that he suffered for us, what do we love? We love his love. He loved us so that we would love him in return, and so that we might love him in return, he has come to us with his Spirit. (Augustine, Enar. in Ps 127, 8)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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