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478 Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: "The Son of God. . . loved me and gave himself for me." 116 He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, 117 "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings" without exception. 118

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575 Many of Jesus' deeds and words constituted a "sign of contradiction", 321 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply "the Jews", 322 than for the ordinary People of God. 323 To be sure, Christ's relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting; 324 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes. 325 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God's people: the resurrection of the dead, 326 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer), 327 the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbour. 328

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595 Among the religious authorities of Jerusalem, not only were the Pharisee Nicodemus and the prominent Joseph of Arimathea both secret disciples of Jesus, but there was also long-standing dissension about him, so much so that St. John says of these authorities on the very eve of Christ's Passion, "many.. . believed in him", though very imperfectly. 378 This is not surprising, if one recalls that on the day after Pentecost "a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith" and "some believers. . . belonged to the party of the Pharisees", to the point that St. James could tell St. Paul, "How many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; and they are all zealous for the Law." 379

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608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". 422 By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover. 423 Christ's whole life expresses his mission: "to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." 424

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624 "By the grace of God" Jesus tasted death "for every one". 459 In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only "die for our sins" 460 but should also "taste death", experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. The state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb, 461 reveals God's great sabbath rest 462 after the fulfilment 463 of man's salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe. 464

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641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One. 497 Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection for the apostles themselves. 498 They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers, 499 and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" 500

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694 Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit." 27 Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified 28 as its source and welling up in us to eternal life. 29

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1225 In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a "Baptism" with which he had to be baptized. 22 The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. 23 From then on, it is possible "to be born of water and the Spirit" 24 in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved. 25

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1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. 25 Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: "Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!" 26 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced: 27

Let us fix our eyes on Christ's blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.

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