Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog # 310 Resurrection in union with Jesus

Blog # 310 Resurrection in union with Jesus

The subject matter we have been treating in recent blogs is very important in helping us understand and carry out the task we have been called by Pope Benedict XVI to achieve in this Year of Faith. We are being called to a personal uniquely individual and community-wide Catholic revitalization of 1. our faith in God and our love for God through Jesus, and 2. in our love for one another in that faith.

When a lawyer, thinking most likely in terms of the ten given through Moses in Exodus 20: 1 - 17 asked Jesus "Which commandment of the law is the greatest?" Jesus replied: "'You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with you whole soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments the whole law is based, and the prophets as well".(Mat 22: 36 - 40).

That reply of Jesus to the lawyer easily reminds us of that other occasion when celebrating the Passover with the Apostles Jesus said there is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for a friend."

From Cain and Abel,the sons of Adam and Eve,(Gen 4: 1-4),all the way down through history to Calvary,people recognized the power of sacrifice as expressing total love for their God. This was true even of those who professed faith in many gods before God's revelation to Abraham there is but one God, the single Creator of all that exists.

We have evidence in the Bible of God condemning sacrifices being offered insincerely without the accompanying total love that sincere sacrifice expesses. The notion of sacrifice as worship was never condemned. It was rather the insincerity of those who abused it that was condemned.

The act of sacrifice is defined as an offering to God alone, by an official repesentative of the people, of some material thing, with the change or destruction of what is offered in order to recognize God's supreme dominion and our complete dependence upon God. That definition applies to the freely chosen death of Jesus on Calvary, the experince of Jesus with the Apostles at the Last Supper, and the experience of Jesus and those believing baptized Christians who with Him offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass day by day.

The unconditional trust and total love Jesus offered the Father in His act of perfect worship on the Cross is the same unconditional trust and total love He offered at the Last Supper and offers in the worship of the Mass.
In all three instances it was the gift of worship. The Father's response to Jesus was the gift of RESURRECTION.

Yesterday, August 20, we celebrated the feast of St.Bernard , Abbot, who lived back in the twelfth Century. I told the people offering Mass that morning with me I thought the short passage read as the Gospel for Mass that day was among the topmost in importance in the entire Bible. This was because I saw in it the power that causes OUR resurrection from the dead in union with that of Jesus. It was from the Gospel of St. John 17: 20 - 26. In union with Jesus in His gift of Worship we remain in union with Him in His resurection.

As part of the long discourse Jesus makes on the occasion of the Last Supper John has Jesus pray this way.(17:1). Father, the hour has come! Give glory to your Son that your Son may give glory to you, inasmuch as you have given him authority over all mankind that he may bestow etrnal life on those you have given him...I pray for all those who will believe in me through their word that they be one, as you, Father are in me and I am in you;...that they may be one, as we are one, I living in them, you living in me-that their unity may be complete. So shall the world know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me.

In our Catholic theology we believe that unity for which Jesus prayed is given, through faith, in the Sacrament of Baptism. That gift, the gift of Sanctifying Grace, is designed and desired by God to be kept and developed all the way up to the instant of our death when it is transformed into the experience of eternal life.

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