March 27, 2015

March 27

March 27, 2015:  Friday, Fifth Week of Lent

  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Lord, you probe mind and heart (1st reading)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  Lord, my Rock (psalm); Jews started to stone Jesus (gospel)
  • '?' tie pin:  Jesus' questions to the Jews (gospel)
  • "I ♥ my dad" tie:  Jesus' relationship with the Father (gospel)
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season
East and West before the Mystery of Salvation,
Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 4th Lenten homily
Greek Christians' life goal is divinization; Western Christians', holiness.  The Word became flesh, according to the Greeks, to restore our likeness to God lost through Adam and to divinize us; according to the Latins, to redeem us and pay the debt owed to God’s justice.
Two aspects of salvation:  Old Testament prophets announced “the new and eternal covenant” with a negative aspect (elimination of sin and evil) and a positive one (the gift of a new heart and new spirit, rebuilding/restoring God's work).  God wants to take out our iniquity (stony heart) and put in a new heart and spirit.  John the Baptist presents Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” and the one “who baptizes with the Spirit.”  In the Synoptics, redemption predominates; Jesus identifies himself as the Servant of Yahweh who atones for sin and speaks of his blood poured out “for the forgiveness of sin.”  John presents Jesus as “the expiation for our sins and the whole world's” but emphases the positive aspect more:  once the Word was made flesh, light, truth, life, and grace came, and the gift of the Spirit receives greater prominence than expiation of sin.  In Paul the two aspects are in perfect balance:  he says Christ came to free us from death, sin, and the law, then says Christ has procured for us the Spirit, sonship, God's love, and final glorification.
Church Fathers received the aspects differently:  the East assimilated the positive (deification, restoration of image of God), the West the negative (freedom from sin), but the two visions aren't so far apart.  The Latins expressed the positive in the concept of divine sonship, based on the indwelling of the Trinity.  Orthodox soteriology isn't summed up in divinization nor Western in St. Anselm's theory of expiation. Greek fathers also spoke of sacrifice for sin (ransom, debt repayment), seeing the paschal mystery as integral to divinization.  Nature and sin blocked communication between God and us; the Incarnation removed the first, the crucifixion the second.  In some cases the East affirms salvation through the Incarnation of the Word into the human nature present in every person; in an extreme case, divinization is seen to come before baptism.  East and West theories aren't so clearly divided, but the difference is clear in the understanding original sin and the primary effect of baptism.  Eastern Christians never understood original sin as inherited “guilt” but as the transmission of a nature inclined to sin, like a loss of the image of God in us due not only to Adam's sin but to that of succeeding generations.
We profess “one baptism for the remission of sins,” but in the East baptism's aim isn't to remove original sin but to free people from sin's power, restoring the image of God and inserting us into Christ.  This different perspective leads to different images of Mary:  "immaculate" (conceived without original sin, macula. In the West, she is seen as “immaculate” that is, conceived without original sin (macula). In the East, her corresponding title is Panhagia, the All-Holy. (continued tomorrow)
  • Jer 20:10-13  Many whisper:  “Let's denounce him!  Perhaps he'll be trapped and we can take vengeance.”  But the Lord is with me; they'll be put to shame.  Lord, I've entrusted my cause to you; let me witness your vengeance.  You've rescued the poor!
  • Ps 18:2-7  "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice."  I love you, Lord, my rock, my deliverer; I'm safe from my enemies.
  • Jn 10:31-42  The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus for blasphemy:  “You, a man, are making yourself God.”  Jesus:  “Can you say the one the Father has sent blasphemes by saying, ‘I'm the Son of God’?  If I perform his works, at least believe the works, so you may realize the Father is in me and I'm in the Father.”  He went back to the place where John first baptized; many there began to believe in him.

  • Creighton:  Let go of stress before it becomes distress.  God gives us perspective, gives us examples about how to handle stress (e.g. birds sing), helps us do something about the causes, invites us to give up control and turn our stresses over to him.  We're dependent on him....
    • One Bread One Body"On the threshold of God's glory":  We're approaching Holy Week, the Triduum, and the Easter octave to celebrate God's greatest work, but we may like Jeremiah be denounced.  Let's make it a priority to give God our prime time....
    • Passionist:  "The prophet is never accepted in his own home…":   Yves Congar, O.P., likely influencer of Pope Francis, said true reform is rooted in pastoral concern for ordinary faithful people, especially those on the periphery, and unites us; false reform is driven by ideas in self-enclosed groups distant from the faithful and leads to disunity and loss of identity....
    •  Jesus met the religious leaders blasphemy charge:  the good works he did demonstrated his power came from God; he can speak of himself as Son of God because Scripture speaks of people as gods;  the Father consecrated him for a special task and sent him to carry out his Father's mission.

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