Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blog # 174 United in Love

Blog # 174 United in Love Any and all of you who are reading this blog are related to me in one way or another. You may know someone who has the name Hughes, and even the the combination of names Charlie Hughes. You may be a person who relates to me by living across the Street and down the block from me here on McDowell Street. You may have gone to school with me when we were children. You may have been ordained a priest with me in Cincinnati back in 1954. You may be one of my nephews or a grand-niece who live in Rockford, Illinois. You may know me and love me as a friend, though you were not thinking of me or your love for me at the precise moment when I brought our relationship to your attention. You and many others (currently 6 billion of us!)are related to me and every other person living on earth today in one way or another of a variety of ways. We relate to the WHOLE of creation in a most significant way just by being created. These ways of relating to one another are actual and real. Yet not one of them is as strong and meaningful as another relationship I have with those of you who have been Baptized, and as the relationshipALL of you who have been Baptized have with me and one another. I know this by faith. Our unity as creatures was revealed to Abraham by Yahweh. Our unity in Jesus is through faith and Baptism and revealed to us by Jesus. It is built upon our unity as human creatures but far surpasses that unity in its perfection and completeness. Jesus compared it to the unity of branches on a vine, sharing one single life together (Jn 15: 5). St. Paul speaks of it as the unity of the members of a single living human body with its head, again sharing a single life together ( 1 Cor 12: 27, also the entire Chapter 12of 1 Cor). What I want to do now is try to begin to tie this together with the two previous blogs, nos. 172 and 173. There we found Jesus more than once 'alone', praying, on a mountain, in the desert, "at a distance" from His disciples in the garden of Gethsemani. Then in John's Gospel we heard Jesus make the claim:...I am not alone: I have at my side the one who sent me [the Father]. Jesus related Himself to the Father as being sent by the Father at least thirty times in the Gospel of John . An even more clear and powerful claim and identification of the presence of the Father with Jesus came in the response of Jesus to the request of Philip that Jesus show him the Father. What prompted Philip's request was the statement Jesus had made: "If you really knew me you would know my Father also." Jesus responded: "Philip, after I have been with you all this time, you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say,"Show us the Father?" Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? On another occasion given by John, Jesus is walking in the temple and a crowd gathers around him. They confront Him with the challenge: "If you are the Messiah tell us in plain words," Jesus responds: I did tell you, but you do not believe." Jesus then refers to His miracles done in His Father's name as evidence of His authenticity. The miracles were done by Jesus as sent by the Father, obedient to the Father, in union with the Father's will. "put faith in these works, so as to realize what it means that the Father is in me and I in him".(Jn 10: 38). Speaking to the same group of people in a few verses previous to this one in John's Gospel, Jesus had said: "The Father and I are ONE."( Jn 10: 30). In response to this some of the people reached for rocks to stone Jesus. "It is not for some 'good deed' that we are stoning you but for blaspheming. You who are only a man are making yourself God." EXACTLY!!! As He stood before the people gathered around Him in the Temple two thousand years ago the claim Jesus had made for Himself was that He the son of Mary was also the Son Beloved of the Father, equal to the Father, the Word of God come among us on earth, capable of identifying Himself in the same way the Eternal Single God of all creation identified Himself to Abraham and Moses: "I AM!" The first part of that claim was well known by the people who were accusng Him of blasphemy. Jesus was indeed the son of Mary,of a certain number of years of age, with all the characteristics of an ordinary carpenter's son from Nazareth. The second part of the claim was that Jesus was not only a prophet sent by God with a message of salvation for the people but GOD HIMSELF come among them. Jesus was the only one on earth who could bear authentic witness to this claim. Others could receive it as true in the freedom that is faith. Jesus appealed to His audience for this fundamental act of faith. Some of them in the very name of God reached for their stones to kill him for what they thought was blasphemy. (Jn:16,1-3). They knew neither Jesus nor the Father.

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