They are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement[a] by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to demonstrate at the present time his own righteousness, so that he is righteous and he justifies the one who has the faith of Jesus.
The Pelican has often been depicted as a symbol of the atonement and representative of the redemptive love of Jesus Christ. The thought was that the pelican would wound itself to feed its young with its own blood. From today’s observation of the pelican, this believed practice is not accurate and proves only to be a myth. This believed act of sacrifice lined up well with the self-giving love of Christ though, so the bird appears throughout murals of the early Christian church and in paintings and stained glass. Thomas Aquinas even wrote a prayer that begins “Pelican of Mercy, cleanse me in Thy Precious Blood.” It is a symbol based on misinterpreted reality, but at its core it reminds of how much Christ loved us, even to give his life on the cross.
Loving God, we give You thanks for the gift of Your Son and Your sacrifice for our salvation. Help us to be grateful for Your love and remind us of how we are called to share Your love with those we encounter today. Amen.