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OF THE SOCIETY θ THE CALL OF THE TWELVE DISCIPLES θ HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WHOM HE CALLED “ABBA” θ HEALING OF THE SICK/FORGIVING SINS/EXORCISING EVIL SPIRITS/DEMONS θ WONDER WORKS: MIRACLES θ HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN I. TABLE FELLOWSHIP θ Jesus shared companionship both with His disciples and with the wider circle of those interested in Him. In the culture of the Middle East, sitting down at table with someoneθ and breaking bread sets up a real bond of kinship. Not done lightly, this action makes people into friends, colleagues, and family. What Jesus did was to sit down at table with all manner of folks,θ including sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, people considered insignificant and outside the reign of God in every way. Among the Jews of the first century C.E., to invite another to breakθ bread with him at table meant to share life with him or her and to enter into a relationship of mutual trust. θ Jesus showed eagerness to break bread with sinners, those who had disobeyed the law. θ Seeing Himself as offering God’s salvation in an unconditional way. Jesus effectively said to sinners: “Dine with me, enter into a trusting relationship with me, share life with me, and in that dining with me, you will know and receive God’s accepting love, which will mean the forgiveness of your sins. No need to go to the rituals prescribed by the law for returning to God’s good graces. Just be open to the gift God offers you through me.” People found themselves at table with Jesus in anew kind ofθ community, sharing with people they never thought they would sit down with. They would break bread together after preaching. A foretaste of the kingdom of God is savored at these joyful meals,θ where, Jesus is guest of honor or hosts. At these meals, being sad in Jesus’ presence is an existential impossibility. One cannot be sad in the presence of the Lord. Gospel texts: Matthew 14:13-21 Mark 8:1-10 Luke 5:33-39 John 2:1-12 Matthew 16:32-39 Mark Luke 7:34-35 John 6:1-15 Matthew 26:26-30 Luke 7:36 Luke 24:41
II. THE CALL OF THE TWELVE DISCIPLES While many men and women were affected by Jesus’ teaching and healingθ touch, only few became disciples, and even fewer became members of his intimate circle, those disciples who were called the “Twelve” “The Twelve” has symbolic function, referring to God’s intention toθ restore Israel as one nation, gathering back together the scattered tribes of Israel with the twelve as its leaders (representing the twelve tribes of Israel). Unlike the other rabbis, who accepted into their circle students whoθ petitioned to join them, Jesus Himself called disciples to “come after him” and to participate in His mission (Mark 3:13-15). Just as Jesus was sent by God to preach the reign of God and cast outθ demons, so they were being sent by Jesus to share in his mission. Being called, being with and being sent constituted the basic features of discipleship with Jesus. III. HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WHOM HE CALLED “ABBA” In the Hebrew Scriptures God is occasionally called “father” in someθ of the Psalms and prophets. But Abba does not exactly mean Father. It is the Aramaic word that the small child would use to address his or her father before being bale to talk. It s a babble word, which later is translated into English as “papa” or “dada” or something equivalent. θ Jesus’ own personal experience of God as close and compassionate led him to name God in this very intimate way, Abba. θ The name evokes the power of a very close relationship between Jesus and the One he names this way. Jesus teaches others to call God Abba, encouraging them to trust Godθ the way little children trust a good parent to take care of them. Jesus’ Abba experience is the heart of the matter, the dynamism andθ force behind his preaching the reign of God and of his typical way of acting. God Abba was the passion of his life. IV. HEALING OF THE SICK AND FORGIVING SINS, EXORCISM Jesus presented himself to people as a charismatic exorcist andθ healer, endowed by the Spirit of God and the power to cast out evil spirits and to heal the sick. In the Synoptic traditions (i.e., Matthew, mark and Luke) we findθ possibly fifteen healings and five exorcisms, and in the Johannine tradition three healings. In Jesus’ day, serious illness and the influence of the evil one wereθ related, so there can be no strict demarcation between healings and exorcisms. However, there are some exorcisms that are clearly portrayed as suchθ (e.g. Mark 1:2327). These stories depict Jesus as fully the match and more of the evil spirits He encountered, and able by the POWER OF HIS WORD to expel them. On some occasions, Jesus acted like the Jewish rabbis of his time whoθ were empowered by the Spirit of God to exorcise. The difference between them and Jesus lies in the
context within which he performed his exorcisms and did his preaching: THE INBREAKING OF THE REIGN OF GOD TO WHICH HIS WORDS AND DEEDS GAVE DECISIVE EXPRESSION: “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28 and Luke 11:20). In this way Jesus indicated that the reign of God involved liberation from the radically alienating power of the Evil One and the restoration of possessed persons to self-possession within the community. θ The anticipation of the arrival of the God’s kingdom meant wellness on one’s body and psyche and social being. Jesus not only freed people from the power of the Evil One but alsoθ healed many people of their actual sicknesses. Again, Jesus’ healings are part and parcel of his proclamation of God’s profound good will toward people, especially those broken in body and spirit, a good will that seeks human well being through the arrival of God’s full reign as the consummation of human history. Certainly, Jesus did not heal every ill person in Israel at the time.θ The pattern suggested by the Gospels consists in afflicted people, or their relatives and friends, approaching Jesus and asking for help. The unsystematic character of the healings reminds us that Jesus wasθ not intent on a gradual improvement of the outer situation (of Israel) through his efforts and those of his disciples, but rather was proclaiming the imminent coming of God’s reign: a reign, which was given powerful anticipatory expressions in these healings. θ In the Synoptic traditions, Jesus’ exorcisms and healings are generally called dynameis (“deeds of power”). In John’s Gospel, they are termed erga (“works”) or semeia (“signs”).θ The latter usage (signs) is telling us that the accent falls not on the miraculous character of these deeds but on their revelatory role with regard to Jesus and the salvation he brought. “Miracle” or “wonder” are not the preferred terms for the exorcismsθ and healings in the New Testament, and the absence of their use does seem to be deliberate. CONTEMPORARY REFLECTIONS ABOUT THE MIGHTY DEEDS OF JESUS There are four distinguishable types of mighty acts or signs found inθ the New Testament: exorcisms, healings, resuscitations, and so-called nature wonders such as the feeding of the five thousand (Mk 6:34-44 and Mt. 14:21-31; John 6:1-13) and Jesus walking on water (Mk 6:45-52; John 6:16-21). There is consistent tone evoked in the narratives that is simple,θ direct and lacking in “spectacle,” whether or not Jesus’ refusal to offer a sign to the Pharisees when they ask for one is historical. Jesus often commends recipients of healing for their faith, which hasθ made them well. The early Church understood by this that the person’s relationship with Jesus (or better God), and through Jesus was the reason for her being healed. The person participated in the event of healing through openness to God’s being at work in Jesus. θ On occasions when Jesus failed to heal, it was because the people lack faith or they attributed Jesus’ power to the Evil One. In Jesus’ time, disease and sickness were considered evil, (Ex: Johnθ 9:2) “Rabbi, who
sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Thus, the belief that sin deserved punishment and that punishment could be visited even on another generation. The point is that, in curing illness and disability, Jesus wasθ overcoming the power of evil a clear sign of the arrival of the kingdom of God. Thus, Jesus reveals God’s power to heal and to save. V. MIRACLES There is no doubt that the gospels attest to a strong and authenticθ tradition about the miraculous power of Jesus. Flavius Josephus (Jewish writer and historian), born a few years after the death of Jesus, testifies that “Jesus was a worker of wondrous deeds.” The gospel miracle stories are woven into the whole scheme of Jesus’θ teaching on the reign of God; that are the signs of the breaking in of God’s power to overcome evil, which is the firm basis of our faith. The word “miracle” derives from the Latin word “mirare,” which meansθ to gaze at, to stare fixedly at, to wonder at. In the popular sense, miracle is something spectacular, sensational, akin to magic. In the original Greek, however, the word by the Synoptic gospels is dynameis, meaning “works of power.” The gospels are speaking of works of God’s power, which is greater than the power of evil. God’s power is ever active in the world, but it takes faith to seeθ it. Miracles are for believers. Miracles confirm the faith of those who already believe. They strengthen it. In fact, Jesus’ miracles are almost associated with faith. He often demands faith before he will work a miracle (Mk. 9:23-24). VI. JESUS’ RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN Jesus showed respect for women, which recognized in them adultθ children of God who were not to be treated as possessions of men but as persons in their own right. θ There were women of means who supported his ministry (women of Jerusalem) θ Others were disciples in an intimate way (Mary Magdalene, Martha and Mary) Jesus took the woman caught in adultery seriously as an individualθ and refused to be drawn into a collective condemnation of her, but instead cared enough to recognize her contrition (John 7:53-8:11). Responding to the woman who anointed his feet with her tears, heθ comfortably received what ordinarily would have been a very sensual sign and recognized in it not sexual seduction but great love born of forgiveness (Luke 7:37-50). He was affected by the Canaanite woman’s quickness of wit and ledθ beyond his previous viewpoint on the place of Gentiles in his ministry (Matthew 15:21-28). θ Jesus himself was willing to compare God to the housewife who searched and searched until she found the lost coin. θ Looking down on his beloved Jerusalem, he felt like a hen that yearns together her chicks under her wings.
JESUS CHRIST IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WORLD THE POLITICAL SITUATION We learned how God called Abraham to be the father to his people. However, it was through the Exodus experience that the descendants of Abraham became a real people and formed their own kingdom. Their kingdom, however, was short-lived. Then followed a period in which one nation after another dominated God’s people up to the time of Jesus’ earthly life. Palestine was then a province of the Roman empire. THE JEWS AND THE ROMAN RULE The Roman armies had captured Jerusalem in the year 63 BC. The Jews♣ despised the Romans. Yet, the Romans were more tolerant of them than any other people they had conquered. They showed relatively great respect for the Jewish traditions and♣ institutions. The Jews were allowed to keep their own councils and synagogues. The Sanhedrin, the highest council of Palestine, could continue to promulgate laws, to make decisions, and to hold trials, except to mete out capital punishment. Rome also appointed the high priests. ♣ The Roman Empire dominated everything in Palestine during the New Testament time ♣ Conquered all Mediterranean lands plus the modern-day France, England, and Whales ♣ Countries under the Roman rule were known as provinces ♣ The Roman empire helped to speed the Christian Good News around the world because of: θ The Greek language which was spoken throughout the empire θ Roman roads which made travel quick The Pax Romana (Roman Peace) which meant life was stable and secure;θ imposed by the superior force of the arm; lasted for approximately 200 years. The Jews hated the Romans because the former were convinced that they♣ were God’s chosen people, therefore, they should be ruled by no one else. ♣ Rome gave considerable self-rule. Each community in Palestine had its own council. Great Council/Sanhedrin—Judea’s council, was allowed to make numerousθ laws, hold trials, and execute its decisions, although Rome took away its right of capital punishment. The reason why Jesus was turned over to Pontius Pilate in order to have him put to death. θ Rome kept control over the choice of men for the office of the high priest. What the Jews hated most was the fact that they had to pay taxes to♣ the Romans. Although most of these taxes were used for the improvement of roads and other public services in Palestine, the Jews were convinced that their land and all its produce belonged to God. Paying taxes to the Romans, therefore, was an act of unfaithfulness to God. Tax collectors (also known as Publicans) abused their powers by♣ exacting exorbitant
fees. Romans spent the money of physical improvements like the building of the roads and aqueducts (waterworks), against the wishes of the Jews who felt that the money belonged to God and could be better spent in the Temple. THE JEWS AND THE FAMILY OF HEROD I. ANTIPATER and HEROD THE GREAT The dynasty of Herod was a family of Idumean (south of Palestine)♣ Jews who ruled various regions in Palestine as client kings or governors under Rome from 37 BC to 70 AD. Following the conquest (66-63 BC) of Syria-Palestine by the Romans,♣ Herod’s father, Antipater, through skilled diplomacy, achieved Roman citizenship and appointment as procurator (principal administrative official) of Judea in 47 BC by Julius Caesar. He was assassinated in 43 BC, leaving is energetic son Herod in control. ♣ Rome gave a form of half self-rule to Palestine and appointed local rulers. Herod the Great, b. 73 BC, was made king of Judea in 39 BC by the♣ Romans but only started to rule from Jerusalem after 37 BC to 4 BC. He was born in southern Palestine of Arab origin on both sides. An imperious king and capable general, Herod promoted Hellenization♣ among the Jews. An important part of that ethos was centered in city life. He busied himself with fine building programs, establishing palaces in Jerusalem and Jericho and residences and public works in the provinces especially in Samaria. ♣ He founded the city of CAESAREA (named after the emperor). And rebuilt much of Jerusalem including the temple. At Masada, on the southwest side of the Jordan River, Herod built a♣ fortress, now a place of sacred pilgrimage to the Jews because it was there that the last stand was made by the Jewish freedom fighters at the close of the first Jewish war in AD 72-73. Jerusalem Temple—the most significant building project associated♣ with Herod. Begun in 20 BC on the site of the second temple of Zerubabbel, this rebuilt edifice was said to be the climax of Herod’s life’s work, for which he hoped to be remembered with everlasting gratitude by the Jewish people. After 18 months’ work, the sanctuary was put to completion although final touches were done in its completed form in AD 63, seven years before its destruction by the Romans. In spite all these attractive aspects of Herod’s rule, he was not♣ popular. His public image was defaced by his reputation as an individual, who in a position of autocratic power within his family and courts was obsessed with suspicion and fear. His cruel and hasty removal of all he suspected as enemies caused him to be hated by the Jews. He was regarded more of as a foreigner and a friend of the Romans despite himself, being a Jew. Herod’s illness, which caused him some mental disorder led to his♣ death in 4 BC. His kingdom was divided among his surviving sons—ARCHELAUS, HEROD ANTIPAS and PHILIP. II. HEROD ANTIPAS
Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea (4 BC-AD 39)—son of Herod the Great;♣ like his father, he was a great builder and erected a great city on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, which he named Tiberias after the reigning emperor (c. AD 22) ♣ Herod Antipas maintained his power by threats and by eliminating his enemies. After many years of marriage with the daughter of a Nabatean king♣ (Aretas IV—9 BC to AD 40), he contracted an illicit relationship with his niece and sister-in-law Herodias. He met her in Rome when she was the wife of his brother Herod Philip; and he persuaded her to marry him after he divorced his Nabatean queen. ♣ This affronted the Nabatean king Aretas, who staged an attack in Perea in AD 36 and dealt crushing blows to Antipas’ forces. ♣ Herodias’ brother, Agrippa, had designs too on Antipas’ kingdom and accused him of plotting with the Parthians in the east. Failing to answer those charges, Antipas was banished to Lyons in♣ Gaul. Herodias decided to accompany him into exile and oblivion, leaving the way clear for Agrippa to assume rulership in Galilee. PHILIP (4 BC to AD 34)—was a stay-at-home ruler, confining his attention to♣ his tetrarchy of Ituraea and Trachonitis (Luke 3:1) in the upper Jordan region on both west and east banks. He refounded the city of Paneion, which he renamed in honor of the Roman emperor, Philip’s Caesarea or in Latin, Caesarea Philippi, to distinguish it from the larger city of that name on the Mediterranean seaboard. He also established the city of Bethsaida and made it into a winter♣ residence. There he died in AD 34, and as his estate had no heir the region he ruled over passed under the control of the legate of Syria. ARCHELAUS (4 BC to AD 6)—inherited to all the character deficiencies of his♣ father. His office as ethnarch in Judaea, Samaria, and Idumaea was short-lived because of his oppressions. The occasion of Archelaus’ outbursts was a rising fervor of hope that God’s kingdom would be established in Judaea and the Jews would be able to throw off all Roman domination. Archelaus’ ferocious manner of quelling these uprisings led both Jews♣ and Samaritans to protest to the emperor. Augustus, fearing that Archelaus’ callousness and obvious disfavor with the people would lead to widespread revolt, banished him to Vienne in AD 6. Judaea became a Jewish province administered by a procurator♣ (praefectus), chosen from the lower order of equities but answerable to the emperor himself. PONTIUS PILATE ♣ The fifth Roman procurator, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar He ruled from AD 26 to AD 36; exercised complete power over the♣ people who lived in Judaea, Samaria, and part of Idumaea, except persons who are Roman citizens. Pilate was considered an unfit ruler and never could understand the religious feelings of the
Jews or their national pride. Pilate’s years in office were marked by conflict with the Jews. At♣ one point, he is reported to have introduced votive images of the emperor into Jerusalem, which angered the Jews and caused the latter to appeal to the emperor for his removal. ♣ He also executed a large number of Samaritans in crushing a prophetic movement. In the gospels, Pilate is portrayed as officiating at the trial of♣ Jesus. Although believing in his innocence, he yields to the desires of the crowds, releasing instead Barabbas, a thief and a murderer JEWISH RELIGIOUS GROUPS The Jewish religious community during Jesus’ time was no longer united. Due to many factors they were divided in a number of religious groups or sects. Two of these groups, the Zealots and the Essenes had opposite reactions to the situation they were living at that time. The Zealots had taken up arms against the Romans on more than one occasion. Many of them have given up their lives for the liberation of their land. The Essenes, on the other hand, were waiting for the right time to wage war against the Romans and opted to rigidly observe Jewish religious practices. 1. PHARISEES ♣ They formed a powerful minority group during Jesus’ time. Their name means “the separated ones” and indeed the Pharisees♣ separated themselves from the rest of the society. They formed closed communities within the community. ♣ The letter of the law strictly ruled their life and they considered themselves “ the holy men of Israel.” ♣ Accepted both oral and written traditions ♣ The kingdom would come without human collaboration if they would be faithful to the Law; meticulous observance of the law. For them, Israel was a theocracy, which means the chosen nation of♣ God, of which God was the true king and master. Their opposition against the Roman occupation originated from their religious conviction. They paid taxes to Rome but they did under protest. The Pharisees♣ considered the Roman occupation as a punishment from God for Israel’s unfaithfulness. In order to be liberated, Israel must turn to the law and traditions.♣ They believed that God rewards those who keep the law and punish those who don’t keep them. ♣ In the meantime, they too wait for the coming of the Messiah who would set them free. ♣ Nicodemus was an example of a Pharisee, who was attracted by Jesus’ character and miracles. 2. SADDUCEES ♣ Ruling party during the time of Jesus ♣ Mainly composed of wealthy upper class; belonged to the chief priests, the elders, and a few scribes Conservative and accepted only the Pentateuch; rejected the coming of♣ the kingdom
and do not look forward to the coming of the Messiah ♣ They accepted only the written law and rejected the oral or traditional law. ♣ They are opposed to the Pharisees. ♣ Adhere to the strict observance of the Sabbath. The chief priests were responsible for the organization and♣ administration of the temple; priesthood was hereditary, from father to son; the elders were the rich laymen. The high priest was chosen from their circle ♣ They considered themselves broad-minded and had adopted much of the Greek culture. ♣ They restricted themselves to the teaching of the Pentateuch and rejected later teachings such as the resurrection. They believed that one had to solve his own problems and should not♣ always rely on the providence of God. No wonder they accommodated the Romans, because they thought that cooperation was the best way by which they could solve their political problems. ♣ They considered wealth as God’s reward for their good deeds and virtue. Poverty and suffering were God’s punishment for sins. ♣ They were not much liked by the people. ♣ They occupied political positions and were hated by the poor An example of a Sadducee was Caiphas. Caiphas was a Jewish high♣ priest for 18 years, who presided at the trial of Jesus Christ. He was one of those most strictly responsible for the death of Jesus. According to Christian sources, in a general council summoned to take action on the preachings of Jesus, he favored putting Jesus to death as a matter of expediency. He was said to have been aggrieved at what he considered as a blasphemy. The High Priest did not have the power of final condemnation, and Jesus accordingly was handed over to the Roman authorities to be sentenced to death. 3. SCRIBES (Latin scribere,”to write”) ♣ In antiquity, men who acted not only as copyists but as editors and interpreters of the Bible and the Law Basically a group of Jewish scholars who interpreted and taught the♣ biblical law and ethics from the 5th century to about 200 AD. The first of the scribes was the biblical prophet, Ezra. They were♣ responsible for having fixed the Old Testament scriptures and for having initiative in rabbinic studies. ♣ As copyists and editors, they made sure that the purity of the original text was intact. ♣ Many of them belonged to the Pharisees. They are learned men of the community and are teachers of the law. ♣ They loved to be called Rabbi or Master and the law became an obsession for them. The letter of the law was applied to numerous situations and then put♣ down in an equal number of prescriptions, which would guide man’s every act. Some of them started to summarize these prescriptions and reduce them to a few principles, such as, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” An example of a scribe was Joseph of Arimathea. According to the four♣ gospels of the New Testament, a rich Jew of Arimathea, probably a member of the Sanhedrin, who after
the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, requested the body from the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate and placed it in his own tomb. THE SANHEDRIN The Supreme religious council of the Jews composed of seventy-two♣ members, all from the above groups. It had no political power, but it functions mainly as the highest Jewish tribunal and as the advisory board of the high priest in religious matters. The council was composed of three groups: the high priests; the elders or lay senators, and the scribes or legal experts. Strictly speaking, there was only one high priest appointed by the♣ Roman procurator, but in actuality, those who held office before still exerted much influence. So, we read of the “high priesthood of Annas and Caiphas” at the beginning of John the Baptist’s preaching. The high priests and elders could normally be reckoned to be Sadducees and the scribes to the Pharisees. ♣ It was the council which decided to sentence Jesus to death and which handed him over to Pilate. 4. ESSENES A Jewish monastic group practicing ritual and ceremonial purity as♣ well as personal holiness; they emphasized justice, honesty, and commitment. Fulfilling detailed ceremonial rituals was an essential aspect of righteousness. 5. ZEALOTS A fiercely dedicated group of Jewish patriots determined to end Roman♣ rule in Israel. They believed in the Messiah but did not believe in Jesus as the one sent by God. They believed that the Messiah must be a political leader who would deliver Israel from Roman occupation. ♣ They were supported by the poor and assassinated Roman and Jewish collaborators 6. HERODIANS A Jewish political party of King Herod’s supporters. Their agreement♣ with Jesus is unknown. In the gospel, they tried to trap Jesus with questions and plotted to kill him. They were afraid of Jesus causing political instability. They see him as a threat to their political future, at a time when they were trying to regain from Rome some of their lost political power. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION: Formalism and hypocrisy had eroded the true religion and worship. Religion had become a source of division in the community. The law had been turned into an instrument of oppression of the simple people. Legalism had replaced obedience to the law. People still worshipped God but did not show concern for their fellowmen. There was, therefore a need for religious reformation. THE SOCIAL SITUATION
The numerous prescriptions of the law regulated every aspect of life in the Jewish community. In that sense, it was very difficult to determine what belonged to the political, religious or social sphere. They were all interwoven. The social situation in Palestine at the time of Jesus was characterized by the presence of many poor and oppressed people. They had no voice in the political and religious matters of the community, though they made up the majority of the population. The educated and the virtuous, the wealthy and the priests were leaders not only in the political and religious life of the community, but also in the social life. In contrast, we have a large group of the poor and the sinners, the oppressed and the outcast.
The Poor and the Oppressed ♣ Sick and Disabled θ Could not work; had a hard time finding jobs Includes people suffering from any mental disability; disability toθ work as to find a job with no income and that forced man to depend on his fellowmen θ Sickness was associated with intergenerational and personal sin To suffer from a particular disease or physical disability at thatθ time was considered a form of punishment for one’s sins and the sins of his/her ancestors θ The blind, crippled, lepers, deaf, mute and paralytic belonged to this group of people ♣ Widows and Orphans Women and children do not enjoy too many rights and privileges inθ society. However, the Jewish society treated them more favorably compared with other societies at that time. θ The support of the family was still exclusive duty of the father; society did not offer jobs for women θ Therefore women and children had no choice but to depend on the charity of others ♣ Unskilled day-laborers Belonged to the poor, they were ones who lacked the training andθ skills required for specific trades and professions. Although they were capable and willing to do manual labor, the only problem was finding a job. ♣ Women θ Had no place in Jewish society; role was limited to motherhood θ Jesus gave them the same value and dignity as men He was free to relate with them even publicly (ex: Samaritan woman,θ adulterous woman, Syrophoenician woman, women of Jerusalem and all the other women Jesus met in the gospels)
Prominent examples of these women: Saint Mary Magdalene In the New Testament, woman so named from Magdala, a town near Tiberias (now in Israel). She deserves to be called a disciple of Jesus Christ. An energetic, impulsive, caring woman, she did not only travel with Jesus, but also contributed to the needs of the group. Jesus healed her of evil spirits and, and she followed Him until the foot of the cross at Golgotha. She was the first to see Jesus after his resurrection. Mary Magdalene is a heartwarming example of thankful living. Jesus miraculously freed her life—he cast seven demons out of her. Mary did not have complicated faith. It was direct and genuine. She was eager to believe and to obey than to understand everything. She learned to love much because she was shown mercy and forgiveness. Mary and Mary (sisters of Lazarus) They were one of the best hospitality teams in the Bible. Jesus was their frequent guest. This hospitality was social requirement in Jewish culture at the time. It was considered shameful to turn anyone away from your door. She let her sister Martha take care of the details. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were all known for their hospitality. Martha was known as the hospitable owner. She had a strong desire to do everything exactly right. Tended to feel sorry for herself when her efforts were not recognized. Martha’s character exemplifies the value of work as a form of spirituality; she saw the importance of attending to the more urgent needs and challenges of daily living. Mary believed that hospitality meant giving more attention to the guest himself than to the need he might have. She saw the value and the beauty of “wasting time” in the presence of the Lord. She has chosen the better portion because she knew how to listen.
Sinners and Social Outcasts In a society where the law and traditions were highly regarded, violators must be looked upon as outcasts. And indeed, the sinners, those who did not keep the law and traditions were outcasts of society. The group of people labeled as “sinners” was treated with much contempt. Unclean Professions—prostitutes, tax collectors, robbers, shepherds,θ usurers and gamblers qualified in this category. The inclusion of prostitutes, robber, usurers and gamblers is obvious. But what about shepherds and tax collectors? Tax Collectors—serve the Romans; they make a contract to submit toθ Rome a certain amount of taxes. They could freely determine how much tax each one had to pay. Many of them included a slave for themselves and were dishonest.
Shepherds—they take care of the flock of their people. They too wereθ thought of as dishonest people. And indeed many of them would lead their flock to the pastureland of another, butcher a lamb for their own consumption. Barabbas—In the New Testament, the prisoner, described variously as aθ murderer, revolutionary, and notorious bandit, who was released in the place of Jesus Christ. Three of the Gospels report that it was customary for the Roman governor of Judea to placate the Jerusalem populace by freeing a prisoner of their choice at the time of the Passover, although Luke’s account does not mention this practice. All the Gospels appear to agree that Jesus and Barabbas were the only two candidates under consideration for release by the Romans. SOCIAL CLASSES ♣ UPPER CLASS θ Was a very small restricted class θ A group of wealthy people who occupied all positions of leadership in the community.
They looked down upon those who didn’t belong to their class; to thisθ class belonged the family of Herod, the family of the high priests and the group of the elders who owned most of the land. ♣ LOWER CLASS There was a sharp contrast between the very restricted and theθ extremely wealthy upper class and the overwhelming majority of the population, which made up the lower class. θ To this class belonged the poor and the oppressed, the sinners. ♣ MIDDLE CLASS Jesus belonged to this group of society, which was composed ofθ professionals such as the Pharisees, shopkeepers, fishermen and carpenters (Jesus was a carpenter). Those who belonged to the middle class were by far not as wealthy asθ upper class, yet they were well-off compared to the lower class; people of the middle class were accepted as respectable members of the community. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION The poor and the sinners shared a miserable lot. Life offered them little joy and hope. The consolation of God’s love and mercy were even denied them by their leaders. And yet when God sent a Messiah, they would be the ones who would recognize him first, and welcome and accept him unconditionally. ISRAEL 4 MAJOR LAND REGIONS I. THE COASTAL PLAIN
♣ A narrow strip of fertile land along the Mediterranean Sea Important Areas: a) Plain of Esdraelon—northern part of the coastal plain; is the same as the Valley of Jezreel (Hebrew Jezreel became Esdraelon in Greek) b) Plain of Sharon—central part of the coastal plain; between Tel Aviv—Jaffa and Haifa c) Plain of Philistia/Shephelah—southern part of the coastal plain (location of the city of Tel Aviv) II. JUDEO-GALILEAN HIGHLANDS ♣ Includes a series of mountain ranges that run from Galilee to the edge of the Negev Desert a) The Northern part, which contains the mountain ranges in Galilee, stretch southward to the Plain of Esdraelon b) The Southern Part, where Jerusalem is located consists of the Judean Hills—farming is done on the hillsides and on its broad valleys; to its south, the land is limited only to grazing due its rugged topography III. THE RIFT VALLEY ♣ A long, narrow strip of land in the far eastern side of Israel ♣ its edges are steep but its floor is largely flat has only few fertile areas mostly north of the sea of Galilee which♣ includes the Dead Sea and the River Jordan, which flows through the northern part IV. THE NEGEV DESERT ♣ Israel’s driest region ♣ An arid area of flat lands and mountains ♣ Occupies slightly more than half of Israel Has been used for grazing due to its uselessness to agriculture♣ brought about by every minimal precipitation throughout the area THE LAND DURING THE TIME OF JESUS CHRIST The land of Jesus, Palestine (now called Israel) is part of the Graeco-Roman world that consists of the whole empire of Alexander the Great from Macedonia (West) to the Indus River (East). This includes Mesopotamia, Palestine, Babylonian and Egypt. This includes bodies of water such as the Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. It has two geographical divisions: 1) The Fertile Crescent—the rich river valleys and deltas extending from the TigrisEuphrates River Valley (Mesopotamia) through the Jordan River (Palestine) and the Nile River (Egypt); shaped like a crescent moon 2) The North and West—includes Asia Minor, Greece, Italy and Gaul, Mediterranean; Britain, Turkey (Constantinople), Romania and the region along the Danube River to the
Rhine River (now Western Europe) PALESTINE ♣ Name imposed by the Roman reference to the Philistines who once inhabited the coastal area. ♣ A small narrow, rectangular strip centrally located in the Ancient Civilization (Egypt and Assyria-Babylonia) LOCATION ♣ North—Phoenicia (Lebanon) and Syria ♣ East—Arabian Desert (now known as the Negev Desert) ♣ South—Arabian Desert and the Sinai Peninsula ♣ West—Mediterranean Sea --has a unique topography (rough and craggy) due to various land formations TOPOGRAPHY ♣ Humped by mountain in the North and South ♣ Surface gradually tapers into flat land on each side of its central ridge: o West—arable coastal strip o East—rugged, barren desert CLIMATE ♣ Usually hot and dry but varies from every region due to the difference in altitude REGIONS 1. GALILEE (from the Hebrew word Galil, meaning ring or circle) ♣ The northern part of Palestine ♣ A lush land of rolling hills ♣ has only three major trans-Galilean routes o The Great Jordan Rift θ major North and South dividing line θ goes all the way up to Mount Hermon o Major East and West Route θ Runs from Ptolemais (Haifa/Acco) to Capernaum by the Western shore of Lake Galilee θ Divides the land into upper and lower Galilee o The Roman Road θ Separates North from South (upper and lower Galilee) • Upper Galilee—composed mainly of mountains and has a treacherous terrain; a rural and remote area along the border and frontiers of Phoenicia (Lebanon); region of the Gentiles; ruled by Roman Emperor Tiberias who lives in a palace atop a hill above the town of Tiberias, the most important town on the western shore of the Lake of Galilee ♣ PLACES IN GALILEE 1. LAKE OF GALILEE/SEA OF GALILEE
• Also called Sea of Tiberias, a well stocked lake supporting a fishing industry • Surrounded by the busiest towns and villages 2. GENNESARET(H) • A narrow plain on the northwestern side of the Lake of Galilee, famous for its fertile land 3. JEZREEL VALLEY/PLAINS OF MEGIDDO • A vast, fertile plain at the West of Galilee wherein commerce from the East and the West take place 4. CARMEL RANGE • A mountainous range near the Mediterranean Sea • Where Elijah the prophet prayed for rain after proving to all Israel that God is indeed God • Home for many monks 5. NAZARETH • A small village perched on the hillside overlooking the Jezreel Valley • The village where Jesus grew up • Where many Gentiles reside 6. MT. TABOR • East of Nazareth; a limestone mountain, where the transfiguration of Jesus took place 2. JUDEA • Spreads westward through the mountains from the Dead Sea • Dry and craggy land • Has terraced slopes so that its rocky soil could be cultivated • PLACES IN JUDEA 1. JERUSALEM • Perched on a cluster of high hills • Capital of Israel since the time of David • Land of the Jews 2. BETHLEHEM • South of Jerusalem • Birthplace of Jesus • Ancestral city of David 3. Dead Sea • A saltwater lake 399 m (1, 310 ft.) below sea level • The lowest point on earth’ saltiest body of water in the world (9 times as salty as the ocean) • Few plants and no fish (except for the brine shrimp) live in its waters • Surrounded by rocky, barren land and steep cliffs that rise above its eastern and western banks 4. MT. OLIVES • A hill about one half mile east of Jerusalem • Gethsemane—garden on the side of the Mount of Olives where Jesus went to pray before His arrest and crucifixion 5. MASADA
• A historic Jewish fortress which stood on a huge rock 3. SAMARIA • A rough and barren land between Galilee and Judea • inhabited by the Samaritans --Samaritans were people born of the intermarriage between the Jews of the Northern Kingdom and the Gentiles who came during the destruction of 721 BC • JORDAN RIVER o The most important river in Palestine o Rises in the spring of Mount Hermon in Syria and goes through the Lake of Galilee, then across Samaria until it empties itself into the Dead Sea. o The land surrounding it is very fertile (the valley surrounding it is part of the Fertile Crescent) Report this post to a moderator Re: RS NOTES [post #19569995 is a reply to post #19569895 ] ♫♥♪enigmatic♪♥♫ Total posts: 18 Member since: June 2004 THE NEW TESTAMENT As in the case of the Old Testament, the New Testament is not a single book but a collection of books and letters: 27 in all. The books are: 1. The Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The word gospel means “good news.” They are concerned with the story of Jesus and the good news He offered. 2. The Acts of the Apostles: the second volume written by Luke. It comprises a history of the early church, with special reference to the missionary journeys of Paul, whose disciple Luke was. 3. The Pauline Epistles (Letters): There are 13 letters attributed to St. Paul, but by examining the texts scholars are certain that he did not personally write all of them. The letters were written to the early churches that Paul founded. We may divide them as follows: a. Genuine Writings of Paul: 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, I and 2 Corinthians, Romans, Philemon b. Probably Not Genuine Writings of Paul (probably written by disciples but imbued with
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Pauline teaching): 2Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians c. Not Written by Paul: Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy These letters are not listed in chronological order in modern editions of the Bible. Almost certainly, the earliest of the letters was 1 Thessalonians. Written between 50 and 55 C.E., it is the earliest written document in the Christian Scriptures. The other letters were written by Paul before his death in Rome in 64 C.E. Scholars vary widely in their opinions of when the letters were written, although they were almost certainly written before 150 C.E.
4. The Letter to the Hebrews: author unknown 5. Seven Letters to All Christians: one by James, two by Peter, three by John, and one by Jude. Opinions as to date of writing again vary widely from about 60 C.E. to early in the second century 6. The Book of Revelation (Apocalypse): Apocalypse means extraordinary, cataclysmic, mystical revelation not normally seen or heard by human beings. It is a visionary book most difficult to interpret. The opening verse refers to John as the author, but scholars are not convinced that the John referred to is the apostle John, the author of the gospel. The book dates from the end of the first century. The Gospels: MARK ♣ Theme: focused on Jesus as the Suffering Messiah Audience: written for Gentile Christians suffering persecution in♣ Rome. Mark’s author wanted to assure his readers that Jesus had to suffer a similar experience. ♣ Date: probably between 65 to 70 AD Mark showed that Jesus’ mission was ultimately fulfilled not through♣ his great teaching and powerful miracles, but in his suffering and death. According to Traditional sources, probably written by an interpreter♣ and companion of Peter or the John Mark of the Acts of the Apostles According to Critical Sources of Mark’s authorship, probably the♣ gospel of Mark is a product of a community effort in which one member recorded the memories of the community. MATTHEW ♣ Theme: focused on Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the great teacher who fulfills the Torah. Audience: probably written to a group of Jewish-Christian community,♣ in which the
evangelist is deeply involoved in Jewish issues ♣ Date: probably written between 80 to 85 AD Begins the gospel with the genealogy of Jesus, tracing his origin♣ back to Abraham, who is considered as the Father of the Jewish people/the Israelites. By creating this connection, Jesus is portrayed as one among the chosen people of God, and that He is indeed the promised Messiah the Jews had long been waiting for. His coming into the world signaled the coming of the “fullness of time.” The Gospel is written in high quality Greek, certainly superior to♣ that of Mark. It does not look like a translation from an Aramaic document. LUKE Theme: Jesus as the Savior of all People, Gentiles as well as Jews.♣ He is the Lord not only of Israel, but also of the world and history. ♣ Audience: written to a non-Jewish community or a “Greek” branch of early Christianity ♣ Date: probably between 75 to 80 AD Traces Jesus’ genealogy all the way back to Adam, obviously being the♣ father of the entire human race. Jesus is then portrayed as someone who belongs to the family of the human race. Luke also shows interest in portraying Jesus as the friend of the♣ poor. The oppressed and the sinners. For Luke, the love of God has no boundaries (parable of the Good Samaritan) JOHN Theme: The Word of God made flesh; Jesus is the eternal word of God♣ made flesh; special emphasis on the union of Jesus and God much more than the synoptics ♣ Audience: written as an instruction for the early Christian Church ♣ Date: probably written between 90 to 100 AD John begins the prologue with the same words that begin the book of♣ Genesis, because the author is interested in portraying Jesus as the pre-existent Word of God who was present at the dawn of creation Report this post to a moderator Re: RS NOTES [post #19570044 is a reply to post , 09/08/08 08:02 PM #19569895 ] ♫♥♪enigmatic♪♥♫ Total posts: 18 Member since: June 2004 THE PASSION AND DEATH NARRATIVES OF JESUS ♣ THE LAST SUPPER
o The Passover o The Eucharist ♣ THE PASSION AND DEATH OF JESUS o The Agony in the Garden o Jesus Arrested o The Crucifixion THE LAST SUPPER (Mk. 14:12-16, 22-26) On the first day of the Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the paschal lamb, Jesus’ disciples said to Him, “Where do you wish us to go to prepare the Passover supper for you?” Jesus sent two of His disciples with these instructions, “Go into the city and you will come upon a man carrying a water jar. Follow him. ‘Whatever house he enters, say to the owner, “The Teacher asks, Where is My guest room where I may eat My Passover with My disciples?’ Then he will show you an upstairs room, spacious, furnished, and all in order. That is the place you are to get ready for us.” The disciples went off. When they reach the city, they found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover supper. During the meal Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. “Take this,” He said, “This is my body.” He likewise took the cup, gave thanks and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my Blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many. I solemnly assure you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vibe until the day when I drink it new in the reign of God.” After singing songs of praise, they walked to the Mount of Olives. The Passover This commemorative religious festival is a combination of two different feasts: that of the Passover, itself, celebrated at home in the evening and the feast of mazzot, the seven-day feast of unleavened bread. Historically, both feasts were of pre-Israelitic origin: the Passover, a rite of nomadic shepherds, was celebrated in the night of the full moon of the vernal equinox or on the occasion of the passing over from their winter to the summer grazing grounds. The feast of mazzot had its origin with those living an agricultural life. Celebrated to commemorate the time between the old and new harvest the people ate unleavened bread that contained no flour from the previous harvest. These two “nature” events were combined by the Israelites to memorialize the mighty act of God by which He brought His people out of slavery into a new life, a new age of Freedom, thus a Passover, too. The Lord did this for me when I came out of Egypt (Ex 13:8; Dt. 16: 20-25). The Passover is a day of remembrance. The feast recalls and makes present the saving act of God so that the present generation might participate in it by celebrating the feast annually. Jesus probably had this in mind when he told his disciples, Do this in memory of me (1 Cor 11:24), during the Last Supper.
As the Lord delivers the Israelites out of Egypt, as He is still delivering us here and now, so are we looking forward to His saving help in the future. The Last Supper The Last Supper, the site of which is now known as the Cenacle, is the traditional name given to the Passover meal which, Jesus ate with His Apostles in Jerusalem. It is not, though, simply a record of a historical meal. It is an image of the Church celebrating the Eucharist in every age. This is My Body. As Jesus was eating with His disciples, He took the bread in His hands and said a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God. This gesture and prayer was common at meals and was part of the Passover ritual. Jesus, as head of the family, took the bread, broke it, and distributed it to His disciples, again, as part of the Passover ritual. But when He says This is My Body the bread takes on a deeper meaning. Jesus identifies Himself with the bread that is broken and given to those present, a symbol of Jesus’ selfgiving death. This is My Blood. Jesus, then, took a cup with wine and after a prayer of thanksgiving, they all drank from it. Jesus, then, said, This is My Blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many. Blood stands for the life a living thing. The words of Jesus mean that the wine in the cup symbolizes His life that He will soon give up on the cross for the sake of the many people. … The Covenant… A covenant unites those who enter into it. God had called Moses to seal the (old) Covenant with a ritual of the blood (Ex 24:1-11). By this ritual a bond of union was expressed and made between God and His people. It was a living, vital bond, which was then celebrated with a holy meal in the presence of God, Himself (Ex 24:11). In the new covenant Jesus lays down His life (blood) in death, to created an eternal union between the Father and mankind. The New Covenant is also celebrated with a sacred meal shared in the presence of God by the Lord, Jesus, and His new elders. St. Matthew adds in his Gospels the phrase for forgiveness of sin to make explicitly why Jesus poured out His blood: the everlasting union with God would be brought about through the forgiveness of sin. St. Matthew clearly points out that divine pardon for all is secured through the death of Jesus. I Shall no More Drink of the Vine… Jesus knows that He is about to die and that this is His last Supper with his close friends; but what he says is simply not a sad statement about leaving them. It is a strong act of confidence in the certainty of the coming of the kingdom of God. The time when God’s will would be fulfilled completely was often described in terms of a great banquet (Isaiah 25:6). Jesus looks forward to the celebration of the Kingdom in the future when he says, “I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” This makes the Last Supper a celebration of hope.
(Summary) The Last Supper is the Covenant between God and His renewed people made in and through the death of Jesus, His Son, and celebrated by a holy meal in His presence and through the presence of His Son. The Last Supper is a celebration of hope. The First Mass The Last Supper was the first Mass. The instant Jesus pronounced, this is My Body; this… is… My Blood, He instituted the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. With his pronouncement, Jesus changed bread and wine into His Body and Blood, a change we called transubstantiation. This means that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is really not bread and wine but the Body and Blood of Jesus. Jesus continues this transubstantiation every day at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass through the priests to whom He gave this same power. Do this in remembrance of me. (Lk 22:19). At Mass when the priest says This is my body…this is my blood, at that instant, Jesus Christ becomes really and truly present under the appearance of the bread and wine. At the Last Supper, Jesus offered Himself up under the appearance of bread and wine as a sacrifice to the Holy Father. The following day He consummated that sacrifice by freely submitting Himself to His Passion and death by crucifixion at the hands of the Jews. In recent times, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is frequently referred to as the celebration of the Eucharist. Eucharist means thanksgiving, so the Holy Mass is a Eucharistic Sacrifice or a Thanksgiving Sacrifice. The Eucharist is not intended as a memory of something past. It is a remembrance, which created a meeting of Jesus, in His death and resurrection with every disciple who celebrated the Eucharist, the Christian Passover. In the Holy Eucharist, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, the God-man, are truly and substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine. Jesus, Himself, instituted the Eucharist and commanded its repetition. VOCABULARY PASSOVER—a Jewish festival commemorating the time when the Israelites passed over from slavery to freedom. It is also associated with the tenth plague that hit Egypt (Ex 12:13) during which the Lord promised to pass over the homes of those whose doorposts had been smeared with the blood of the lamb. The smearing of blood was done to distinguish the Israelite homes from the Egyptian homes. The death-resurrection mystery of Jesus is seen as His Passover from the death of slavery to sin, to the new live and freedom of grace. CENACLE—the upper room where Christ and His Apostles ate the Last Supper at which the Eucharist was instituted. It was here also that Christ appeared to the Apostles eight days after His death (Lk 34:36) and where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles (Acts 2:1-36). It was also the meeting place of the faithful at the time of St. Peter’s imprisonment (Acts 12:12).
LAST SUPPER—the traditional name given to the Passover meal at which Jesus ate with His Apostles in Jerusalem. COVENANT—a contractual agreement between two persons, or between distinct groups. Its religious meaning is that of testament. In the Old Testament the covenant establishes a new relationship, a promise of exchange of powers, and the attendant rights and duties that follow the contract. The most famous Old Testament covenant is that made by God with the Israelites through Moses. In the New Testament the new covenant is a refined concept of both contract and conditions. The covenant of the New Law is with us today as the means of our attaining salvation (Mt 26:28; 1 Cor 11:25) TRANSUBSTANTIATION—“ a singular and wondrous conversion of the total substance of bread into the body and of the total substance of wine into the blood of Christ, the external appearance only remaining unchanged” (Council of Trent). It is by this transubstantiation that the body and blood of Christ are present in the Holy Eucharist (Mk 14:22-25). PASSION of CHRIST—includes Jesus’ suffering and sacrificial death on the Cross, as foretold by Isaiah (42:13-43) and as recorded by all the evangelists (Mt. 26,27; Mk 14,15; Lk 22,23; Jn 18-20) EPICLESIS—from the Greek word meaning invocation. It is a prayer said immediately after the words of institution by the celebrant and is addressed to God the Father and God the Son, asking that the Holy Spirit be sent down upon the sacred species to change the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood so that the recipients can be thereby filled with grace. Thus the theological significance is that God the Father shows His love, that this love is manifested through the Sons of God, and that the Holy Spirit sanctifies all by working out God’s divine plan among men. It thus holds that the Eucharist is central in God’ plan of redemption and that the Trinity—three divine Persons—accomplishes the salvation of people. ANAMNESIS—something done in memory of someone or something, as stated after the consecration in Holy Mass. JESUS’ AGONY, HIS CRUCIFIXION AND DEATH (Mt 26:36-42;27:27-54) Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. HE said to them, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, and began to experience sorrow and distress. Then He said to them, “My heart is nearly broken with sorrow. Remain here and
stay awhile with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Still, let it be as you would have it, not as I.” When He returned to His disciples, He found then asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not stay awake with me even for an hour? Be on your guard and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is not.” Withdrawing a second time, He began to pray, “My Father, if this cannot pass Me by without my drinking it, Your will be done!” The procurator’s soldiers took Jesus inside the praetorium and collect the whole cohorts around him. They stripped off His clothes and wrapped Him in a scarlet military cloak. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they fixed it on His head, and stuck a reed in His right hand. Then they began to mock Him by dropping to their knees before Him saying, “All Hail, King of the Jews!” They also spat at Him. Afterward they took hold of the reed and kept striking Him on the head. Finally, when they had finished making a fool of Him, they stripped Him of the cloak, dressed Him in His own clothes, and led Him off to crucifixion. On their way out they met a Cyrenian named Simon. They pressed this man into service to carry the cross. Upon arriving at a site called Golgotha (a name which mean Skull Place), they gave Him a drink of wine flavored with gall, which he tasted but refused to drink. When they had crucified Him, they divided His clothes among them by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over Him. Above His head, they had put in writing the charge against Him: “This is Jesus, King of the Jews.” Two insurgents were crucified along with Him, one at His right and one at His left. People going by kept Him, tossing their heads and saying, “So you are the one who is going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days! Save yourself, why don’t you? Come down off that cross if you are God’s Son!” The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders also joined in the jeering. “He saved others but He cannot save Himself.” “So He is the King of Israel. Let’s see Him come down from that cross and then we will believe in Him.” “He relied on God; let God rescue Him now if He wants to. After all He claimed, ‘I am God’s con’” From noon onward, there was darkness over the whole land until mid-afternoon. Then toward mid-afternoon Jesus cried loud out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Eli, eli, lema sabachthani?)
This made some of the bystanders remark, ”He is invoking Elijah!” Immediately one of them ran off and got a sponge. He soaked it in cheap wine, and sticking it on a reed, tried to make Him drink. Meanwhile the rest said, “Leave Him alone. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to His rescue.” Once again Jesus cried out in a loud voice, and then gave up His spirit. Suddenly the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, boulders split, tombs opened. Many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were raised. The centurion and his men who were keeping watch over Jesus were terrorstricken at experiencing the earthquake and seeing all that was happening. They said, “Clearly, this was the Son of God!” The Agony in the Garden In the same way that Jesus began His ministry of teaching with prolonged prayer in the desert, so does He began His ministry of suffering with a prolonged prayer in the garden of Gethsemane (Olives). As Jesus prays, He sees the deep malice of sin which is about to do Him to death, the inhuman suffering that He is about to undergo, and the painful ingratitude of many who will reject Him in spite of what He is doing out of love for them. He sees all these and He is overcome with extreme anxiety, anguish and sadness. In His moment of agony, He cries out to His father to take away the cup of suffering yet He adds Your will be done, not Mine. Jesus knows that God, His Father is all-powerful and so He pleads not to have to undergo suffering and death. From the beginning of His public life, however, He makes it clear that all that matters in His life is to do His Father’s will. Now that His public life is near its end, He make sit clear, again, that it is His Father’s will that is foremost in His mind. The spirit of His prayer is basically that in the Lord’s Prayer: Your will be done. Once it becomes clear that the Way of the Cross is indeed His Father’s will, He stands up majestically to accept fully what He has to do, and to face what us about to happen. The agony is over. He is ready for what is to come. The hour is on us. You will see that the Son of Man is to be handed over to the clutches of evil men. Rouse yourselves and come along. See! The betrayer is near (Km 14:42). Reflection: The Agony of Jesus is one of the most dramatic manifestations of His humanity, of His brotherhood with all mankind. When the agony is over, Jesus accepts the passion that is in conformity with the divine plan of His father: to have His Son become one with us in our fallen nature and suffer the consequences of sin, and in loving obedience, make a reparations for our sins and reopen for us the road to salvation, to union with the Father. The Crucifixion
Crucifixion was a common form of execution during the ancient times. After being scourged, the person to be crucified was forced to carry the wood in which he was to be nailed or tied. Crucifixion was not just a way of executing criminals. It was a way of frightening people into obeying the laws of the rulers. The criminals would be crucified in public places and the crimes for which they were accused were posted above their heads, a stern warning to all who might contemplate similar crimes. Thus the soldiers out in writing above His head the charge against Him: This is Jesus King of the Jews (27:37). To claim kingship in those days was considered a crime of sedition, for it was a threat to the ruler of the kingdom. The soldiers charged to crucify Jesus ridicule the idea that such a helpless and pitiful man could possibly pretend to be the king of the Jews and be a threat to the mighty Roman Army (27:29). Earlier, Jesus is scourged (Mk 15:15). This happens after His trial before the high priest and the trial before Pontius Pilate. Jesus is bound to a pillar and His clothes are torn off. Strong men with whips, cords, and straps with iron spikes scourge Him. The whole body of Jesus is one great wound. Weakened by loss of blood from the scourging, Jesus is overwhelmed by the weight of the cross He is commanded to carry. Reflection: Heavy and evil indeed are the sins that we heap on Jesus. Each time we sin we make His Cross heavier. Casting of Lots Upon reaching Golgotha the soldiers begin the execution. They strip Jesus and divide His clothes among them. In those days, once a man is condemned to death, the soldiers in charge could do with him as they wished so long as the proper sentence is carried out. That the soldiers share out Jesus’ clothing is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:10… they divide My garment among them, and for My vesture they cast lots. Jesus’ vesture or tunic is woven in one piece from top to bottom like that worn by a high priest (Jn 19:23). This signifies that Jesus is not only the victim of the sacrifice, He is also its high priest, in the same way it happens in the Mass. Nailing to the Cross. Next, Jesus is stretched in the cross and nailed as prophesied in Psalm 21:17-18. Jesus is offered a drink to deaden the severe pain but He refuses it. He does not want to close His mind to the reality of the crucifixion. The placard reading King of the Jews is secured to the cross. Written in Latin, Greek and Hebrew (Jn 19:20) the placard attests to the kingship of Jesus not only over the Jews but over all nations. The Mocking of Jesus. Finally, the cross is hoisted into place. Sensing His utter helplessness and apparent defeat, the mob begins to mock Him. The Psalmist’s words are realized: I am a worm, not a man; the scorn of men, despised by the people. All who see Me scoff at Me… He relied on the Lord: let Him deliver Him, let Him rescue Him, if he loves Him (Ps 22:7-9). But, Jesus did not become angry at the taunting crowd. Instead,
He forgives the people. Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing (Lk 23:34). The insults hurled at Jesus focus on two things: His prophecy on the end of the temple and His miracles. The mob jeeringly ask for a dramatic show of power. What they do not know is that the temple at Jerusalem would, indeed, soon come to an end and a new Temple, Jesus Himself, would be raised from the dead. They mockingly call Him “King” and that, in fact, is the truth about Jesus. From the beginning of His public life Jesus unites Himself with sinful people (Mk 1:9; 2:15). In His crucifixion, He accepts all the things that humanity believes worthless— pain, rejection, shame, guilt, and eventually, death. A New Paschal Lamb. As death draws near, Jesus is consumed with scorching thirst. The soldiers relieve His thirsty by soaking a sponge in wine and presenting it to Him on the end of a stalk of hyssop. Thirteen hundred years before, this fern-like plant was used to smear the blood of the first paschal lamb on Israelite doorposts on the occasion of the first Passover (Ex 12:22). Reflection: Christ is the new Paschal Lamb. As God’s chosen people in olden times were saved by the blood of sacrifice, so are God’s new chosen people saved by the blood of the Lamb of God. The Death of Jesus Finally, the moment comes. Jesus cries out in aloud voice and dies. The death of Jesus is God’s judgment in the whole land (all mankind). It is a judgment which God has willed to lay upon His own Son, and which the Son accepts as a ransom for all (Mk 10:45). It frees us from the punishment due us for our sins. Darkness Covers the Land. Two hours before Jesus dies (Jesus dies around three in the afternoon) darkness falls on the whole countryside (Mk 15:33). This darkness cannot be explained in any natural way like an eclipse or a sand storm. It is a supernatural darkness, the darkness of the Day of the Lord, the darkness such as described in Amos 8:9. That day… I will make the sun set at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight… I will make it a day of mourning as for an only son. This darkness shows us that the death of Jesus has meaning not only for the earth but also for the whole universe. When the Son comes at the end of time, the sun will be darkened just as it was at His crucifixion. During that period after the trial of every sort the sun will be darkened, the moon will not shed its light, stars will fall out of the skies, and the heavenly hosts will be shaken, then men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. The Sanctuary Veil is Torn. For centuries the temple at Jerusalem had been the symbol of God’s presence among His people. However, worship at the Temple discriminated
against the Gentiles, the women, and people of inferior rank. Only the high priest could enter the Presence of God and this he could do only once a year. With the death of Jesus, the curtain of the sanctuary is suddenly torn in two from top to bottom, a symbol of the coming to an end of the old way pf worshipping. It is a revelation of things hidden, in the same way Jesus has revealed the Father in His teachings, His works of mercy, and His death. It signifies access to the presence of God, unlike before when God’s presence was “hidden” in the darkness and cloud of the Temple’s inner room (Leviticus 16:1-2). With the death of Jesus, the Old Covenant gives way to the New Covenant. A new Temple is raised but the Temple is not one built by human hands. It is the Church, Christ’s mystical body. The new sacrifice is the sacrifice of Calvary, performed in an unbloody manner, as instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. The Earth Quaked. The death of Jesus is not like the death of other people. It is the saving act of God. That the tombs also were opened and many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were raised shows the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy (Ez 37:7). Three truths are veiled by these events. These are: 1. The death of Jesus is God’s act of forgiveness by which mankind is raised to eternal life. 2. This new life is entered into body and soul. It is a resurrection of the whole person. 3. The death of Jesus obtained pardon for the whole human race, for the saints who died before Jesus, and for all who would come after Him. “Clearly, This was the Son of God.” The Gentile centurion is awed by all that has transpired. He remarks, “Clearly, this was the Son of God.” He makes an act of faith on Jesus as the Son of God. The centurion represents all the rest of the human race, of any religious denomination (Gentile) who will gain access to God by their faith. The Mother of a Redeemed Mankind. In John 19:34, after Jesus’ death, the soldiers pierce Jesus’ side to make sure He is dead. Immediately there comes out blood and water. St. Augustine and other Bible scholars see the blood and water as symbols of the Christian sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist, the symbolic formation of the Church from the side of Christ. The Church is the new Eve formed from the side of the sleeping Christ, the new Adam. The Church is to be the mother pf a redeemed mankind which would be fully constituted and manifested to the world on Pentecost. Reflection: The death of Jesus is not a tragedy because His life is not taken away from Him—He lays it down of His own free will as an act of sacrificial love for God and for all people. THE SEVEN LAST WORDS During the three hours that Christ suffered on the cross, He spoke seven times. These are
called The Seven Last Words: ♣ “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23:34) ♣ “I tell you this: today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43) ♣ “Woman, there is your son. There is your mother.” (Jn 19:26-27) ♣ “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46) ♣ “I am thirsty.” (Jn 19: 30) ♣ “It is finished.” (Jn 19:30) ♣ “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” (Lk 23:46) VOCABULARY GETHSEMANI—In the time of our Lord, this was a garden area situated at the foot of the western slope of the Mount of Olives (Lk 22:39). The name means olive press, a device for extracting oil of olives. It is the place chosen by Christ for His meditation prior to His apprehension by the Jews and Roman soldiers and thus, the scene of the agony in the garden, Christ’s betrayal by Judas, and His arrest (Mt 26:26-46). A church was erected at Gethsemani as early as the fourth century, and above the ruin of this church the modern Catholic “Church of All Nations” has been built. In front of the sanctuary, the rock, which was the traditional place where Christ prayed, has been left exposed. CRUCIFIXION—It is the manner of execution by which Christ suffered, died, and affected our redemption. It was a method used by Egyptians and Romans which included a degree of ridicule and mockery in the procedure, besides being a mark of degradation. CALVARY—The word is taken from the Aramaic word Gulgutas (Golgotha), which in Greek is literally translated as the place of the skull, and translated into the Latin equivalent calvarium. Originally, this name was given to a place of execution that was customarily located on a rocky site or a small rise. Calvary, also called Gogoth (Mt 27), was the place near Jerusalem where Christ was crucified. The plural calvaries refer to wayside shrines in which the crucifix is shown. This is also applied to outdoor Stations of the Cross, as that at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. SUMMARY 1. What is meant by the passion of Jesus? The passion of Jesus refers to the suffering that He endured immediately before His death. This include the following: ♣ The agony in the garden ♣ The trial before the high priest ♣ The trial before Pontius Pilate ♣ The scourging at the pillar ♣ The way of the cross
2. Why did Jesus have to suffer? Jesus suffered, not for His own sins, as He was sinless, but for the sins of mankind, in accordance with God’s plan of salvation of man. By becoming one with us in our fallen nature, Jesus was to make reparation for our sins and to reopen to us the road to salvation and union with the Father. 3. What events occurred when Jesus died? At the death of Jesus, the sun darkened, the earth quaked, the veil of the temple was torn, the rocks split and many of the dead arose and appeared in Jerusalem. 4. What lessons do we learn from Jesus’ suffering and death? We learn the following: a. God’s great love for man: No one can show greater love than this: to lay down his life for those he loves (Jn 15:13) b. The evil of Sin and the hatred that God bears c. Suffering and trials can strengthen us. Report this post to a moderator Re: RS NOTES [post #19570116 is a reply to post #19569895 ] ♫♥♪enigmatic♪♥♫ Total posts: 18 Member since: June 2004 THE PROCLAMATION OF THE KINGDOM IN WORDS • THE BEATITUDES • THE PARABLES OF JESUS THE BEATITUDES (MATTHEW 5:1-12) When Jesus saw the crowds He went up on the mountainside. After He had sat down, is disciples gathered around Him and He began to teach them: ♣ Blessed are the poor in spirit; the reign of God is theirs. ♣ Blessed are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled. ♣ Blessed are the lowly; they shall inherit the land. ♣ Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice; they shall have their fill. ♣ Blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy. ♣ Blessed are the single-hearted for they shall see God. ♣ Blessed, too, are the peacemakers; they shall be called children of God. ♣ Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me.
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♣ Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven; they persecuted the prophets before you in the very same way. THE BEATITUDES. In one beautiful sermon, Jesus delivers a complete lesson in Christian doctrine. He gives a sermon on the mountainside overlooking a lake near the city of Capharnaum and so; it is called the Sermon on the Mount. The sermon presents eight rules of happiness called the Eight Beatitudes. Each rule begins with the word blessed, hence the term beatitude. The word blessed means favored, valued, approved, esteemed, or upheld by God and is a form of praise or greeting. The Blessings (Beatitudes) express the paradoxical nature of membership in the Kingdom. It is a total gift that must be worked for. The Beatitudes proclaim the gift God offers; at the same time they show how arduous the demands are on those who accept. 1. BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT FORTHEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. • The poor in spirit are those who realize that there is something more important in this world than having many material things. • Money, clothes, cars, luxuries do not in themselves produce happiness. They may be a means to a certain kind of happiness, but not the eternal happiness for which God created us. • Persons who are wealthy may be “poor in spirit” if they realize that all they possess are given to them for the purpose of bringing them closer to God, who is the Giver of all things. • Those who do not have many material things can be very rich in inner peace, the peace of mind and quiet happiness of those who know they are sharing God’s life because they are in the state of grace, and so possess riches no amount of money can buy. THE POOR IN SPIRIT USE MATERIAL THINGS WISELY AND WELL. THEY ALWAYS PLACE GREATER VALUE UPON SPIRITUAL RICHES. 2. BLESSED ARE THE SORROWING; THEY SHALL BE CONSOLED. • Sorrow and pain are very much a part of our daily human experiences. But for those who trust in the love of God, sorrow is turned into joy. • Instead of growing bitter in the face of trials and difficulties, we, as true Christians, should unite our sufferings with those of Christ and live in the hope that He will make everything beautiful for us in His own selected time. • This beatitude is not an encouragement to accept in passive surrender the negative events that may take place in our lives; rather, it is an invitation for us to discover in our suffering and pain the hidden lesson that we still yet have to uncover if we truly want to grow and mature as Christians. • Discovering the meaning and significance of the struggles we experience in life is the challenge we need to face if we want to follow the ways of Christ. THE CONSOLATION PROMISED TO THOSE WHO HOPE IN GOD IN IMES OF ADVERSITIES IS THE FINAL COMING OF THE KINGDOM WHEN GOD’S WILL
SHALL GOVERN IN THE HEARTS OF WOMEN AND MEN. 3. BLESSED ARE THE LOWLY; THEY SHALL INHERIT THE LAND. • This beatitude has been translated to mean Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth. • Meekness is the spirit of poverty and humility towards our fellowmen. • We are meek when we do not pre-judge others, nor look down on others through selfrighteousness. • We are meek when we refuse to attack, seek vengeance or dominate for it is God alone who sets things right. • The model of meekness is Jesus himself (Mt. 11:29; 21:5). THE PEOPLE OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT RECEIVED THE LAND (CANAAN) AS A GIFT. IN THE SAME MANNER THE MEEK WILL RECEIVE THE KINGDOM. 4. BLESSED ARE THEY WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR JUSTICE FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED. • The word filled suggests the richness of the great banquet, a frequent image of the kingdom of God to which He invites all of us to share in its bounty. On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all people a feast of juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines (Isaiah 25:6). • True Justice is the mark of God’s kingdom. • Human justice on earth means to give someone what she/he deserves and what is rightfully his/hers. This means we must give everyone what is due to him or her. We must respect the rights and properties of others, while at the same time protecting our own rights. HUMAN BEINGS ARE JUST WHEN THEY DO WHAT GOD WILLS FOR THEM. THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR JUSTICE ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR MAN’S DIGNITY ON EARTH. THEIR REWARD WILL BE THE FINAL GLORY: A LIFE WITH GOD. 5. BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY. • God’s mercy is His love actively applied to those who are especially in need. • There are many kinds of human needs but the greatest of all human needs is the need for FORGIVENESS OF SIN. • To be merciful means to have pity on the world’s poor, naked, hungry, handicapped, sick, and persecuted. • To be merciful means to give generously—a money offering, clothing, prayers, good words—anything that will relieve the suffering of others. FORGIVENESS AND THE PRACTICE OF WORKS OF CHARITY ARE ESSENTIAL
QUALITIES FOR MEMBERS OF GOD’S KINGDOM. THOSE WHO ARE MERCIFUL WILL ALSO HAVE MERCY SHOWN TO THEM. 6. BLESSED ARE THE SINGLE-HEARTED FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD. • In some works, the word single-hearted is translated to clean of heart or pure of heart. Whichever term is used, the expression refers to those who serve loyally for God’s own sake and not primarily for self-interest. • The single-minded/clean of heart/pure of heart are those who do all things with the intention of pleasing God. They keep their hearts and their love for Him first. They are careful to avoid anything that might stain their purity, whether by thought, word, or action. They are reliable because they have peace of mind and are calm in making judgments. • The term pure of heart dates back to the Old Testament times when the privilege of being admitted to God’s presence during liturgical celebrations in the Temple was restricted to the pure. As years went by, the notion of purity came to mean interior heartfelt obedience and humble submission to God. (See Psalm 24 and Psalm 51). • In Jesus’ time, the idea of purity degenerated into mere correctness according to the law: one was pure if one avoided contact with dead bodies, lepers; if one washes hands before meals and so on. Jesus did not like this notion of purity (Mt. 23:25-26). For Him, the pure of heart are persons turned totally to God. PURITY IS JUSTICE IN THE DEEPEST SENSE. IT IS PAYING TO GOD WHAT WE REALLY OWE TO HIM. IT IS AN UTTER SURRENDER TO HIS WILL, LIVED OUT IN ACTION. THE REWARD IS TO SEE GOD FACE TO FACE AND STILL LIVE. 7. BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS, THEY SHALL BE CALLED THE CHILDREN OF GOD. • Peace in Scripture does not only mean the absence of war: it is the full life brought about by the good and selfless relationships among the people and between God and the people. • Peace is destroyed by sin, by every form of disunity and injustice. • The peacemaker removes the friction and unrest caused by sin, disunity, and injustice. He/she promotes harmony within the community and does not foster strife or violence for his/her personal advantage. • The peacemaker is a leader, the kind of leader that our wounded world badly needs. Such leadership begins in the heart of every young girl and boy who love others because they see in each person a child of God. PEACEMAKING IS A POSITIVE EFFORT TO BRING ABOUT THE WILL OF GOD, EVEN AT THE COST OF GREAT OPPOSITION AND SACRIFICE. THIS IS A QUALITY CHARACTERISTIC OF SOMEONE WHO IS TRULY A CHILD OF GOD.
8. BLESSED ARE THOSE PERSECUTED IN THEIR PURSUIT OF JUSTICE FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. • If members of the God’s kingdom were to be true to their call, they would come under attack from many people because a true follower of God would live out the values of the Kingdom even if these contradict the world. • This beatitude emphasizes persecution, which is the result of actually pursuing justice or the will of God at all costs. • When we are made to suffer for our obedience to Jesus, we can be sure of a reward from heaven for our endurance. JESUS REWARDS ALL WHO PRACTICE THEIR FAITH CONSTANTLY AND FEARLESSLY THOUGH THEY MAY BE HATED AND RIDICULED FOR IT. Report this post to a moderator Re: RS NOTES [post #19570157 is a reply to post #19569895 ] ♫♥♪enigmatic♪♥♫ Total posts: 18 Member since: June 2004 JESUS IS TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN INTRODUCTION Christianity grew and developed not among the Jews but among the Greek-speaking people (Greco-Roman world). These people also tried to explain who Jesus was. However, they were interested in philosophical descriptions than in biblical ones. Whereas in the New Testament, the focus was to show who Jesus was in relation to us and to God—or what His function was, the later Christians tried to explain more about who Jesus was in his essence and being. The most important question then that came out was: “Is Jesus Christ God?” The New Testament was clear in its understanding of the unity of Jesus with the Father. However, it was not interested in the question. To understand the mystery of Jesus’ divinity and humanity which is “unconfused, unchangeable, undivided, and inseparable” is to understand the meaning of person and nature. Person means who someone is, while nature means what someone or something is. Jesus Christ is one person with two natures. He is human and divine but He is only one Person. He remains only the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, who from al eternity took to Himself a human nature in time, and who remains a God-man forever.
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Arianism One of the bishops of the early Church, named Arius, taught that Jesus was not fully God. He claimed that: ♣ Since there was only one God, Jesus must belong to the order of creation. ♣ He is God’s created Son, and superior to the rest of the creation, but he is a mediator between God and humans. This teaching was rejected by the leaders of the Church at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. This was the Church’s counter statement against the claim of Arian: ♣ Jesus is one in being with the Father. He is not created by the Father but “begotten” of the Father. In♣ this, the Son of God is clearly distinct from any creature. He does not belong to creature but to the very being of God. The official teaching of the Council of Nicea made its way to us as the Nicene Creed which we recite at mass. Council of Chalcedon After the Council of Nicea, there was no question about the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God. While it was taught that Jesus was truly God, the matter of his humanity still needed to be clarified. After a series of extended arguments, the Council of Chalcedon declared in 451 that Jesus Christ was: θ The same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly man composed of rational soul and body θ The same one in being with the Father as to divinity and one being with us as to humanity θ Like unto us in everything except sin. We confess that the one and the same Lord Jesus Christ, the onlyθ begotten Son, must be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion or change, without division or separation. The conclusions they arrived at: 1. Jesus Christ is one person with two natures, both human and divine. The one person of the Trinity, the Word or Logos. 2. All that can be said about God can be said about Christ. 3. All that can be said about humanity can be said about Christ except that He was without sin. This is the official teaching of the church. What does this mean for us? JESUS IS TRULY GOD IN THE FLESH
If Jesus were not God, then God would remain outside the humanθ situation. He may care about us, his creatures and love us dearly, but he has not united himself with us and has not become one with us. BECAUSE JESUS IS GOD, WE BELIEVE THAT THE HUMAN AND THE DIVINE ARE JOINED FOREVER θ The sacred has entered into the human condition, and therefore the human condition can never be the same. θ We can find God not only in the beauty of nature but in the flesh and blood of humanity. θ In the incarnation (Birth of Jesus as human being), God has united Himself with us. Question: If Jesus was God, did he have the mind of God? Did he only appear human? Did he know the future? THE HUMANITY OF JESUS θ The Church clearly teaches that Jesus was truly human. He is the model of all humanity. θ We are all called to be sons and daughters of God by God’s grace. θ We are all called to share in the glory of his resurrection and live a life of union with God in him. CONTEMPORARY UNDERSTANDING OF JESUS Fifteen hundred years after Chalcedon, it is the task of each culture and generation to come to understand Christ anew. It does not mean we change the teaching of the Church for Jesus is not a doctrine, but the power and presence of God before us, a person to be encountered by his followers. Today, the focus seems to be on the humanity of Jesus. There is great emphasis on his teaching, his attitude, his values, and his challenges to us his followers. A wide number of Christologies are existing today: θ The sacred heart of Jesus is still an important image in many homes and families. It helps us get closer to Jesus. Among the oppressed people of South America and other parts of theθ world, Jesus is often described as the liberator, the one who calls us to freedom from all oppression, especially political and economic oppression. θ Highly developed nations often portray Jesus as the model of humanity. θ Peace groups focus on the non-violence of Christ. θ Millions of Christians developed a Christology based on the Eucharist.
θ Many women see in Jesus’ relationship with women as a model for pursuing advocacy on women’s rights and gender equality. THEME: THE PATH OF CHRISTIAN BECOMING Life is like a race where everyone is a runner. Everyone races ahead in and towards Christ, the goal of all life and growth SCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION Jesus is true God Jesus performed miracles within the sight of small circles of people or of great multitude. Some of His miracles are the following: 1. He changed water into wine (John 2:1-11) 2. He made the blind see (Mark 8:22-25) 3. He made the lame walk (John 5:1) 4. He made the dumb speak (Mark 7:31-37) 5. He healed the sick (Mark 5:21-24) 6. He raised the dead to life (John 11:1) 7. He calmed the wind and the sea (Mark 5:35-41) 8. He cast out demons and evil spirits (Matthew 18:23) 9. He forgave sins (Mark 2:5) Jesus’ teachings manifested a wisdom that pierces the hearts and evokes awe and astonishment: “No man ever spoke like this man. (John 7:46). The Gospel according to St. John focuses on the “I AM” sayings of Jesus: θ 6:35 “I myself am the bread of life…” θ 6:51 “I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever.” θ 8:12 “I am the light of the world…” θ 10:7 “I am the sheep gate…” θ 10:11 “I am the good shepherd…” θ 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life…” θ 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life…” θ 15:1 “I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower…” The “I AM” can be recalled as God’s name which was revealed to Moses (Exodus 13:14) “But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them the God of your fathers has sent me to you, if they ask me ‘what is his name’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I am sent me to you.” In several instances in His discourses with His apostles and with other persons, it is read in the Gospels that they call Him Messiah, Lord, Savior, Son of God—titles which confess His divinity. Jesus is true Man “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) Jesus is truly God and he is truly man. He did not just appear to be a man in our midst, rather he became truly one of us through the incarnation. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He was born of a woman (Luke 2:5—7) and experienced the frailties of human flesh. The Gospel records vividly the profound humanity of Jesus: 1. Jesus tired from his journey. (John 4:6) 2. He knew what it was to be thirsty. (John 4:7) 3. He knew what it was to be hungry. (Luke 4:2) 4. He was deeply moved with great sadness. (John 11:33) 5. He was tested through suffering. (Hebrews 2:17-18) 6. His heart was moved with pity for the crowd. (Matthew 15:32) 7. He wept over Jerusalem with sorrow. (Luke 19:42) 8. He faced the cross in agony. (Mark 14:34-36) In the last hour of his passion, the reality of his humanity was evident. He suffered severe pain of mind and body saying, “My heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:34). The sharpest of physical pain and torture of scourging and crucifixion was His, and He truly died. In His resurrection appearances, He manifested Himself to His apostles in His humanity: “Look at my hands and feet; it is really I. Touch me and see that a ghost does not have flesh and bones as I do” (Luke 4:39). INFANCY NARRATIVES Gospels of Matthew and Luke The Infancy Narratives are not part of the earliest Christian preaching, as they are absent from the Gospel of Mark and John. Mark 1:1 corresponds to Matthew 3 and Luke 3. Historical growth of the Christian Preaching: 1. Resurrection and Exaltation
2. Empty Tomb; the arrest; the trial; the crucifixion of Jesus 3. Public Ministry (words and deeds of Jesus) 4. Back to Jesus’ baptism (Although there exists already the tradition of Jesus’ descent from David (Acts 3:30; 12:23; Rom 1:3), there is no mention of the events surrounding his birth. 5. Later in the Apostolic period, the interest developed concerning Jesus’ early years in Nazareth, and his birth in Bethlehem. This is answered by Matthew and Luke. Both authors attempt to tell the story about Jesus’ birth. Matthew and Luke: Differences and Similarities Differences Matthew Luke 1. (Mt 1:1-17) Genealogy from Abraham to Christ following the ruling Davidic line. Luke’s genealogy has no relationship to Jesus’ birth. It follows the baptism of Jesus and runs the opposite way, from Jesus back to the son of Adam and the Son of God. 2. Joseph is the main actor and person. Mary is the recipient of revelation. 3. The visit of the Magi; the flight to Egypt; the massacre of the innocent children; The story of the annunciation of John the Baptist; 4. the return from Egypt and the flight to Galilee and Nazareth. Mary’s visit to Elisabeth; the presentation of Jesus in the Temple; the lost and finding of Jesus in the temple; the Magnificat of Mary; the benedictus of Zechariah and the nunc dimittis of Simeon. 5. Joseph and Mary live in Bethlehem and later settle in Nazareth because of an evil Herod Joseph and Mary live in Nazareth and go to Bethlehem for the census; Shepherd and pious Jews. 6. Matthew text rests of formula or fulfillment quotations; i.e., quotes from the Old Testament introduced by a phrase like “to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet…” Luke’s allusions to the Old Testament are not given in the form of allusions, but by way of subtle allusions which are concentrated in the hymns. Similarities Mt. 1:21-25 Lk. 2:16,41,48 Mary is the mother of Jesus; Joseph is considered the father of Jesus Mt. 1:18-25 Lk. 1:26-38 The Virginal Conception of Jesus Mt. 1:16,20 Lk. 1:35 Joseph is only the legal father of Jesus Mt. 2:1 Lk. 1:5 Jesus’ birth during the reign of Herod Mt. 1:21 to Joseph Lk. 1:31 to Mary The name of Jesus is communicated by an angel Mt. 1:1 ff Lk. 1:32 Jesus belongs to the family of David Mt. 2:23 Lk. 2:39 Jesus spends his youth in Nazareth
Conclusion: Despite the disagreements, these agreements of so different accounts that in itself do not want to be historical, allows the conclusion, that we are in possession of basic historical facts. The Infancy Narrative according to Matthew 1. The General Structure θ The genealogy of Jesus θ The annunciation of Jesus’ birth θ The visit of the Magi θ The flight to Egypt θ The Massacre of the innocent θ The return from Egypt (EXEGESIS) I. The Genealogy of Jesus θ David: Jesus’ family is a royal family The bearer of Messianic promises The true king θ Abraham: Jesus himself is the promise made to Abraham (Gen 12:3) From Abraham to David, there were fourteen generations (1), fromθ David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations (2), and from the deportation to Babylon to Christ, fourteen generations (3). Fourteen is the double of seven. Seven is the number of fullness. Jesus stands at the end of a seven series in order to show that in him is the fullness of being. θ The four women in Matthew’s gospel: Rahab, Tamar, Ruth and Bathseba. o All four women are non-Jewish. o They have irregular backgrounds: Tamar (Gen 38)—“Tamar offers herself to her father-in-law Judah…Tamar is declared innocent. A divine voice declares “It is from me that these things come.” She collaborated in the coming of the Messiah. Rahab (Josh 2:121)—“as prostitute of Jericho.” She too collaborated in the coming of the Messiah. Ruth (Ruth 4:8-22; Gen 19:32) a gentile woman—“The Messiah King could be born out of her, due to the intervention of the spirit. Bathseba, wife of Uriah the Hittite: The rabbinical literature excuses her sin with David and stresses her line in the royal lineage with Solomon. θ Joseph: His place in the genealogy (Mt. 1:16) “and Jacob, the father of Joseph, a just man (Mt. 1:19) who is obedient to God. As husband, Joseph translates his lineage to Mary
II. The Conception and Birth of Jesus θ Fulfillment quotations (Isaiah 7:14) Mt. 1:20-21 Is 7:14 Which is conceived in her shall conceive Will bear a son shall bear a son You shall call his name shall call his name
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