92 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed
Kingdom by his words and deeds in obedience to the will of his Father.
He showed the full meaning of all that had been revealed in the Old
Testament. But some did not want to hear his message. They opposed
him and turned him over to the administration of the Roman Empire in
Palestine to be put to death.
On the Cross, Jesus freely gave his life as a sacrifice. His sacrifice
was an act of atonement, that is, it makes us one again with God by
the power of divine mercy extending to us the Father’s forgiveness of
our sins. His sacrifice is also called an
act of satisfaction
because he lives out fully the Father’s call to human beings to be faith-
ful to his plan for them, thus overcoming the power of sin. It is also
for our sins, which in the understanding of Scripture means
that God takes the initiative in bringing about reconciliation to himself.
In the words of Christian Tradition, Jesus’ sacrifice merits salvation for us
because it retains forever the power to draw us to him and to the Father.
Who is responsible for the death of Jesus? Every one of us from
the dawn of history to the end of time who in pride and disobedience
has sinned is in some way responsible. Historically, some Jewish lead-
ers handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who con-
demned Jesus to death on the Cross.
It is wrong to blame the Jewish people for the death of Christ in
the manner that often has been done in history. “The Church does not
hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the tor-
ments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too
often burdened the Jews alone” (CCC, no. 598). At the Second Vatican
Council, the Church made the following declaration regarding the
means “making amends for a wrong done or for an offense, especially
for sin, which is an offense against God. By his death on the cross, the Son of God of-
fered his life out of love for the Father to make reparation for our sinful disobedience”
is “the act of redemption and atonement for sin which Christ won for us
by the pouring out of his blood on the cross, by his obedient love ‘even to the end’ (
13:1)” (CCC, Glossary).