March 28, 2015

March 28

March 28, 2015:  Saturday, Fifth Week of Lent

Where are the 11 connections
with today's Bible readings and celebration?
Legend below

Listen:  Passion Sunday preview
East and West before the Mystery of Salvation,
Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 4th Lenten homily (continued from yesterday
An asymmetrical comparison:  The West’s conception of salvation is more familiar to us, but there's a paradox:  Augustine, who trumpeted the necessity of grace for salvation and identified the gift with the Giver, the Spirit, also restricted its field of action.
To counter the Pelagians, Augustine highlighted the role of prevenient grace (preserving, helping, healing), but his doctrine of original sin as hereditary caused baptism to be seen as liberation from original sin, though he mentioned other benefits of baptism such as divine sonship, insertion into Christ, and the gift of the Spirit. But in how baptism is administered and viewed, the negative aspect has prevailed over the positive.  If you ask an average Christian what it means to be “in God's grace,” you'll likely hear “to live without sin on your conscience.”
Heresies push theology to focus on one doctrinal point at the expense of the whole, but what made Augustine's temporary loss of balance so long-lasting is his unique stature and authority. After him, Duns Scotus proposed an explanation closer to the Greeks':  the Incarnation was primarily to sum everything up in Christ, not primarily to redeem from sin, so it would have taken place even if Adam hadn't sinned.  But his voice remained isolated; instead, the one that stood out, Luther's, exacerbated Augustine's:  God extrinsically imputed righteousness, leaving the baptized sinners in themselves but justified in God's eyes.
Some Orthodox authors considered our concepts of salvation as different on almost all counts:  in the East, theology, spirituality, and mysticism are united (theology is experiential), but in the West, mysticism and spirituality were distinct from dogmatics. The East-West encounter would have produced different results and fewer conflicts if people had taken into account spiritual movements and mystics who lived salvation experientially instead of treating it as theory.
The "dark night" of the West's John of the Cross is in line with the “God in darkness” of the East's Gregory of Nyssa.  No mention is made of Western monasticism, of St. Francis' positive, Christocentric spirituality, or of mystical writings in harmony with Eastern theology.  We Westerners made the harmful separation between theology and spirituality; we can't ask others to synthesize them when we haven't. (concluded tomorrow)
  • Ez 37:21-28  I'll gather Israel's children, bring them back to their land, and make them one; never again shall they defile themselves with idols and transgressions.  I'll deliver and cleanse them so they may be my people and I their God.  David shall be their prince; they shall live by my statutes.  Forever they'll live where their fathers did.  I'll make with them a covenant of peace, will multiply them, will put my sanctuary among them, and all shall know I'm the one who made Israel holy.
  • Jer 31:10-12abcd, 13  "The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock."  The Lord shall ransom Jacob; he who scattered Israel now gathers them.  They'll come streaming to the Lord’s blessings.  I'll turn their mourning into joy.
  • Jn 11:45-56  Many began to believe, but some went to the Pharisees, who said, “What are we to do?  If we leave him alone, all will believe, and we'll lose our nation.”  High priest Caiaphas:  “It's better for you that one man die, so that the nation may not perish.”  So from then on they planned to kill him, and Jesus no longer walked about in public.  Many who went up to Jerusalem for Passover looked for Jesus.
    • Creighton:  We celebrate the anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's martyrdom.  John said Caiaphas was being prophetic in saying Jesus would die for the people, even though he, just looking to get rid of Jesus, didn't understand.  Romero's death was the result of the military's attempt to get rid of him , to silence him, but his blood was the seed of faith.  His preaching gave oppressed people hope.  We're grateful for Jesus' sacrifice and the witness of all who serve the faith in a way that promotes justice.  May be have the courage to live the Gospel so others might see our love and believe we're Jesus' disciples.
    • One Bread One Body:  "Goings on":  If we let Jesus go on, "let go and let God," we'll lose our lives. If we let him be our Lord, he'll change our plans, dethrone us and invade our comfort zones.  If we don't, he'll keep knocking and challenging us to repent.  Jesus gives no alternative to crucifixion:  either we are crucified with Christ, or we crucify him.  May we carry the cross daily and let Jesus "go on."
    • Passionist:  The Sanhedrin, shaken by news that Jesus raised someone from the dead, and that more people believed in Him, decided to get rid of him, afraid the Romans would take everything from them.  They embraced the death of Jesus instead of new life in him, for fear of losing their old life.  Am I hesitant to embrace new life in Christ out of fear of losing my comfy old life?  If I believe in Jesus, I can trust that any change arising from putting him more at the center of my life will be life-giving. Embracing Jesus will bring us closer to him, to those close to us, and to the rest of the world.
    •  Jesus set his face like flint, knowing what awaited him.  What irony that Caiaphas prophesied Jesus must die for the nation.  Jesus came to lay down his life for the many, waiting till nothing would stop him from fulfilling his Father's mission.  "The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience...  He loved us so much that, sinless, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved. How then can he, source of righteousness, not give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness?  How can he, whose promises are true, not reward the saints when he though sinless bore the punishment of sinners?  Fearlessly acknowledge and openly proclaim that Christ was crucified for us; confess it not in fear but joy, not in shame but glory." (St. Augustine, paraphrased)  Jesus' cross is the way to glory and victory for us.
    Dress legend
    • 'Children around the world' tie:  I'll take the children of Israel from the nations (1st reading)
    • '2 interlocking rubies' tie bar:  God uniting Israel and Judah (1st reading)
      • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols (1st reading)
      • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  I'll make with them a covenant of peace (1st reading)
      • 'Abacus' tie pin:  I'll 'multiply' them (1st reading); 'division' between Sanhedrin and Jesus (gospel); how to do both.
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  God will guard us as a shepherd his flock; sheep among Lord's blessings (psalm)
      • 'Kentucky sign' pin:  This man is performing many signs  (gospel)
      • Crucifix:  It's better that one die so that the whole nation may not perish. (not the way Caiaphas intended) (gospel)
      • Purple shirt:  Lenten season

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