Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blog # 149 Two Lives

Blog # 149 Two Lives Taking them at face value I imagine someone who did not know the entire story of Jesus' life might think some of His statements given as quotations in the Gospels were evidence of self aggrandizement pride or boasting on the part of Jesus. Here are a few samples. Jn 10: 9. I am the gate. Whoever does not enter the sheepfold through me is a thief and a marauder. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe. Jn 15:5. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him will produce abundantly; for apart from me you can do nothing. The story of the ten lepers is given in Luke 17: 12ff. Of ten lepers cleansed one came back praising God and Jesus. "Jesus took this occasion to say: Were not the ten made clean? Where are the other nine?" Was Jesus expressng disappointment at not having received praise from the lepers or was He saying something different from what could be implied in His words as given by Luke? And Jn 14 6. I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. If you really knew me, you would know the Father also. In our awareness of the complete life of Jesus as given in the Bible we know for sure He was not boasting or seeking glory in the statements we have been considering. The human glory of Jesus was His total love for the Father as expressed throughout His life among us and finally in the perfect obedience of His unconditional love on Calvary. What then was it to which Jesus was referring as absolutely necessary for us in God's plan for us and so clearly identified as available in Him alone? A clue can be found in Chapter 3 verse 3 and 5 of John's Gospel . Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus about salvation expressed as entering God's kingdom. "I solemnly assure you no one can enter God's kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit." Then, as an old man, after vigorously proclaiming the divinity of Jesus throughout his Gospel, John sums up his story in Chapter 20, verses 30 and 31: Jesus performed many other signs as well-signs not recorded here-in the presence of His disciples. But these have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus IS the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life in his name. Now we see more clearly and completely what Jesus was claiming for Himself in His identity as the sheep gate. Contrasting Himself with others who may come and identifying them as thieves and marauders, He says of Himself :"I came that they may have life . It is clear Jesus is not speaking here about sharing His human life . That all of us already have, created as we are as human beings. He is speaking about a new second life , a genuine sharing in God's infinite love in our own human capacity as created images of God. In our Catholic theology we are familiar with this gift under the title Sanctifying Grace, translated as the gift that makes us holy through our sharing and living by faith in God's love. An important word in the quotation from the conclusion of John's gospel is the word identifying Jesus for his readers in the present tense : Jesus is the Messiah. John is writing here to people living perhaps fifty or more years after Jesus ascended into Heaven. In other words people like ourselves today in our relationship through faith with Jesus. I think these reminders of insights into the dual life we are entitled to live, one completely human, a gift from God through the instrumentality of our parents, and the second a supernatural gift identified as a genuine sharing of God's life through the instrumentality of faith and Baptism help us understand and appreciate the content of the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus today. I'll try to get out Blog # 150 on The Ascension later on in this afternoon or tomorow.

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