Blog #309 Life in Jesus
There are many types of evil we can think of that we can experience in the course of our lifetime, whether that evil be the temporary pain of a sprained shoulder, arthritis, pneumonia, cancer, the 'loss' of a loved one in death, blindness, loneliness, depression, mass murders, active volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, war injuries, an auto accident while driving home from work, or, ultimately for us all, death.
There are many types of responses people make to the evil we experience including fear, shame, anger, medicine, surgery and drugs of one sort or another, seeking counsel, prayer, pain relievers a humble acceptance of the will of God on the part of some, and loss of faith in God on the part of others.
I am proposing a SINGLE RESPONSE to all that is evil and have labeled that response the CHRISTIAN RESPONSE.
The Eternal Word of God, incarnate, and called Jesus, was sent among us precisely to be a uniquely authentic witness to God's presence on earth in Him, and in his entire life, death, and resurrection, to give testimony with regard to the identity and purpose of all creation including what is commonly referred to as evil. The Word of God, as Jesus, was sent not merely to speak of the meaning and value of suffering and death, but to live it out in his entire life's experience and especially in his suffering and death on Calvary.
A key question is whether there was something going on on that afternoon when Jesus died on the Cross that could not be seen by our eyes but was just as real as the blood being shed and the death that was occurring. What could not be seen was the truth to which that blood poured out bore witness.
Jesus had said quite clearly about love there was none greater than for a person to lay down his or her life for a friend.(Jn 15: 13). When Jesus gave no answer to Pilate's question where did Jesus come from, Pilate was angered and said: " Do you not know that I have the power to release you and the power to crucify you?" Jesus answered: "You would have no power over me whatever unless it were given you from above." Jesus was going to die because it was the Father's will, not that of Pilate!
Then as part of the long discourse on the occasion of the Last Supper John has Jesus give this testimony about His death: "the Prince of this world is at hand. He has no hold on me, but the world must know that I love the Father and do as the Father has commanded me. Come, then, Let us be on our way." And He led the Apostles to Gethsemane where the conclusion of His prayer was "Thy will be done". The whole episode of the death of Jesus was programmed by the Father and carried out in the perfect obedient love of Jesus. It was to be a free act composed of unconditional trust and total love. Only God deserved such trust and such love. Calvary can be identified as an act of WORSHIP on the part of Jesus!
On Calvary that gift of worship belonged to Jesus alone. It was His gift to the Father. At the Last Supper that SAME LOVE was shared with the Apostles in a different mode. This was something like the monetary value of a single dollar bill and four quarters as the same but in a different mode. That same love of Calvary and the Last Supper, after the Resurrection has been shared with all who are made one with Jesus by faith and Baptism down through the ages throughout the world in the WORSHIP identified in the mode of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
To understand and justify that statement we must keep in mind our Catholic theology concerning the gift of Baptism and Sanctifying Grace. Through faith and Baptism we are recreated as it were in union with the Resurrected Jesus as branches on a vine and members of a living body, the Church. We are called and equipped to share the love of Jesus in such a way that as Jesus said to Philip:” Philip, if you see me you see the Father. The Father and I are one." "If you see me, Fred, Jack, Mary, Florence, Pedro, Francois, all who are united in Jesus through faith and Baptism in the gift of Sanctifying Grace, you see Jesus, walking, talking, praying, worshiping, through, with, and IN JESUS!
Because the ground we are covering in recent blogs may be 'new ground' for many faithful Catholics who were instructed and trained to 'go' to Mass rather than to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each Sunday, I'll end this blog here and hopefully continue with a few more helpful Catholic theological insights tomorrow. The Lord be with you, and by faith within you!