March 22, 2015

5th Sun. of Lent

March 22, 2015:  Fifth Sunday of Lent

Find nine connections with
today's Bible readings and celebration?
(Legend below)
Listen

Pope Francis to detainees
I come to bring you the love of Jesus” who came to the world save everyone.  You may feel disappointed, discouraged, and abandoned, but God doesn't forget his children!  He's always at our side, especially in times of trial; he's a Father rich in mercy, always waiting with open arms.  God never tires of showing you the path to him; not even jail bars can separate you from God’s love.  Only sin can separate us, but if we sincerely repent, our sin becomes the place of encounter with him.  Live every day in God’s presence. Don't lose hope in God's mercy and providence.
Pope Francis to Naples youth
God is a God of words,  gestures, and silences, knowing us better then we know ourselves. But God can’t speak to us if we're not silent, if we don't silently gaze at the Crucifix.  God created us to be happy, but that doesn't mean everything will be perfect.
It's hidden euthanasia when when old people are denied medicine, food, or family affection. Solitude is the great poison of the old.  When did you last call or visit your parents? 

Toward a new synthesis:  Dialogue in the Spirit can iron out difficulties and open up new perspectives; contemporary pneumatology not only reaches agreement on the Filioque but moves towards a fuller synthesis.  The Spirit is not only sent by the Son but is also sent upon the Son; the Son both gives and receives the Spirit.  The transition from one phase to the other is the cross.  The Spirit intervened on Jesus at his birth, his baptism, his self-offering to the Father, and his resurrection; this reciprocity must reflect relationship within the Trinity.  The Spirit's role derives from a Trinitarian relationship through which the Spirit characterizes the relation between Father, source of love, and his beloved Son.

Christian theologians are converging to recognize reciprocity in the Trinity.  We can call the Spirit “the Spirit of the Father|Son,” but we can't call the Father|Son “the Father|Son of the Spirit”; however, we can call them “the Father|Son in the Spirit”; it is true that we cannot call the Son “the Son of the Spirit” but we can call him “the Son in the Spirit,” using the preposition traditionally used to speak of the Spirit.  As Jesus cried Abba “in the Spirit” on earth, it must be “in the Spirit” that the Son pronounces his eternal Abba in his generation by the Father.  Orthodox theologian Clément anticipated this conclusion in saying “the Son is born of the Father in the Spirit.”

So we can conceive Trinitarian relationships anew:  Word and Spirit proceed simultaneously from the Father, without chronological or logical precedence.  Just as the nature that constitutes the divine Persons is unique, so too the operation that has its source in the Father that constitutes Father as “Father,” Son as “Son,” and Spirit as “Spirit.”  Son and Spirit can't be seen one before or next to the other but one in the other. Generation and procession are not aspects/results of one unique act.

Clément speaks of “an eternal anointing” of the Son by the Father through the Spirit, as Irenaeus wrote, "In the name 'Christ' is implied the one who anoints, the one who was anointed, and the anointing itself.  The Father anoints, the Son was anointed in the Spirit who is the unction.”  Basil took this up and Ambrose repeated it.  At first it referred to Jesus’ anointing at his baptism, then as at his Incarnation, then further back.  Justin, Irenaeus, and Origen spoke of a “cosmic anointing,” one the Father confers on the Word in view of creation insofar as “through him, the Father anointed and adorned [arranged] all things.”  Eusebius saw it as at the moment of generation:  “The anointing consists in the very generation of the Word by which the Spirit of the Father passes over into the Son like a divine fragrance.”  Gregory of Nyssa illustrated the anointing of the Word by the Spirit in this eternal generation by the Father, assuming “Christ” (“Anointed One”) belongs to the Son from all eternity.  The oil of gladness represents the power of the Spirit with which God is anointed by God, that is, the Only-begotten is anointed by the Father. . . . The anointed one can't be not-anointed but had to be anointed forever.

This image of unction adds an active role of the Spirit, so called because he is breathed and breathes, within the Trinity, just as he performs an “active” role outside the Trinity by inspiring Scripture, prophets, saints, etc..  If an active role of the Son toward the Spirit is recognized and expressed by the image of spiration, then there's an active role for the Spirit toward the Son, expressed by the image of anointing.  We can't say the Word is “the Son of the Spirit,” but can say he's “the Anointed One of the Spirit.” (to be continued)

Read
  • Jer 31:31-34  I'll make a new covenant with Israel and Judah:  I'll write my law on their hearts; I'll be their God, and they my people.  All shall know me, for I'll forgive them and remember their sin no more.

  • Ps 51:3-4, 12-15  "Create a clean heart in me, O God."  Have mercy on me.  Wash me from my guilt; cleanse me of my sin.  Don't take your Spirit from me.  Give me back the joy of your salvation.  I'll teach transgressors your ways, and they'll return to you.

  • Heb 5:7-9  Jesus offered prayers with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.  Though Son, he learned obedience from suffering; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of salvation for all who obey him.

  • Jn 12:20-33  Some Greeks asked Philip, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”  Philip told Andrew; then they told Jesus, who answered, “The hour has come for the Son to be glorified.  Unless a grain of wheat dies, it remains just wheat; but if it dies, it produces fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, but whoever hates it in this world will preserve it.  To serve me, follow me, and where I am you'll be, and the Father will honor you.  “I'm troubled now, but Father, glorify your name.”  Voice from heaven:  “I have and will again.”  Crowd/Jesus:  “An angel has spoken to him.”/“The voice came for your sake.  Now the ruler of this world will be driven out.  When I'm lifted up, I'll draw everyone to myself.”
Reflect
    • Creighton:  The author Hebrews calls Jesus “high priest” to capture the reality that, like the high priest on the Day of Atonement, Jesus functioned as mediator between God and us, facilitating reconciliation through a sacrifice, in his case, self-sacrifice.  Jesus can function as mediator because he's both divine and human.   He “learned” obedience as a man by obeying the Father's will.  He was “made perfect,” for through his suffering he grew one with people, became a more perfect mediator, and enabled us to be saved.  He's “of the order of Melchizedek” who “without father, mother, ancestry, beginning or end of life, was made to resemble the Son of God.”  The metaphor reminds us Jesus became one of us and helps us connect with him....
    • One Bread One Body:  "The blood of the covenant":  God, wants to love us in a permanent, faithful relationship.  As married couples make a covenant with each other by exchanging vows, so the Lord made covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all his chosen people, but the people broke them all. So God promised to make a new covenant, and we can keep it because God puts it inside us, giving us a new nature capable of love and faithfulness.  Jesus gave us this new nature and new covenant through the cross; we receive it by being baptized into him.  By faith, we live according to our new nature and in the new covenant.
      Walk of faith/ Kinkade
    • Passionist:  In "Walk of faith," Kinkade painted a lush garden with a path down the center; he said he added [Jesus and Peter] to give it fuller life.  In today's gospel Greeks want to see Jesus; they meet one who fulfills Jeremiah's promise of a renewed relationship with God.  He learned obedience from suffering.  He's the seed that fell and died to free us and give us life.  John who revealed Jesus as Gentle Good Shepherd, Bread of Life, Giver of Life to the Dead, and Healer of body and soul now reveals him as Suffering Savior.  Today we see images of suffering:  warfare, bread lines, death camps, children running for their lives....  We also experience pain and suffering in our lives:  death of loved ones, unemployment, illness, aging....  Remember Jesus' suffering and that we need to deal with suffering too.  Even if Jesus wants us to minimize suffering, some is unavoidable.  We're invited to unite ourselves with the Crucified and receive his strength to bring new life and a renewed relationship with God for ourselves and others.  In the neediest of circumstances, we'll see the Suffering Jesus and his love and be empowered for the “walk of faith” through life.
    • DailyScripture.net:  God draws us to himself in peace and friendship.  God established a covenant :  "I'll be your God, and you my people," his people broke it, and God kept sending prophets to draw them back.  Jeremiah offered hope, speaking of a new covenant to wipe away sin and open the way to God's mercy.  The Father sent Jesus for our sake so he could offer the sacrifice to unite us with God and give us life. / After a leader's victory, he was crowned and given a new title (Victor, Savior, Deliverer), robed in royal splendor, and enthroned on high in the sight of all.  Jesus knew the only way to victory was suffering and death.  He described his willingness as his “hour of glory” when he'd fulfill his Father's will.  Jesus saw his death as triumph over sin and darkness.  He used the “grain of wheat” analogy to show how God brings life from death and fruit through suffering.  Seeds on their own are worthless and lifeless, but when destroyed by burial they rise to new life.  To receive life, our fallen nature must be put to death; it occurs in baptism and through daily growth in which the Spirit buries us more deeply so we might rise in God's love and justice.  Death leads to life and allows us to love and serve others....
      • Deogratias, bishop, caring pastoral leader.
      • Nicholas Owen, carpenter, built priest hiding places, martyr. “Nobody can be said to have done more good of all those who labored in the English vineyard.  He saved the lives of hundreds.”
    Dress legend
    • 'Hearts' tie:  I'll write my law on their hearts (1st reading); Create a clean heart in me (psalm)
    • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  Jesus offered prayers with loud cries and tears (2nd reading)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” (gospel)
    • 'Clock' tie bar:  The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  (gospel)
    • 'Wheat' pin:  If a grain of wheat falls and dies, it produces much fruit.  (gospel)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Some said, “An angel has spoken to him.” (gospel)
    • 'Ruler' tie bar, 'car' tie pin:  "Now the 'ruler' of this world will be 'driven' out." (gospel) [Ruler better visible here than at top.]
    • Purple shirt:  Lenten season