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"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, con
cerning the word of life -- the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it ...." I John 1:1-2 (RSV)

"After his resurrection the disciples saw the living Christ, whom they knew to have died, with the eyes of faith (oculata fide)." Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, 55, 2 ad 1, as quoted in D. M. Stanley, Jesus in Gethsemane (New York, Paulist Press 1980).

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ecclesia de Eucharista John Paul II

This week I  have reflected on John Paul II’s encyclical, “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” published the Vatican April 17, 2003.  This is a blog on  the words and deeds of Jesus.  Among his most important words were those spoken at the first Eucharist where he said of the bread, "this is my body," and of the wine, "this is my blood,"  and said  "take and eat." 

Section  22 explains how union with Christ makes his people a sacrament.  The Pope cites John 20:21 (as the father has sent me, so send I you).  The Pope says, “From the perpetuation of the sacrifice of the Cross and her communion with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, the Church draws the spiritual power needed to carry out her mission. The Eucharist thus appears as both the source and the summit of all evangelization, since its goal is the communion of mankind with Christ and in him with the Father and the Holy Spirit.”

Section 23 explains the communal aspect:  “[O]ur union with Christ, which is a gift and grace for each of us, makes it possible for us, in him, to share in the unity of his body which is the Church.”

And the Holy Spirit?  The Pope says, “God the Father is asked to send the Holy Spirit upon the faithful and upon the offerings, so that the body and blood of Christ “may be a help to all those who partake of it ... for the sanctification of their souls and bodies. The Church is fortified by the divine Paraclete through the sanctification of the faithful in the Eucharist.”

And finally for this post I note section  24.  The Pope is realistic.  He knows that there is disunity in the world, and in the church:  “The seeds of disunity, which daily experience shows to be so deeply rooted in humanity as a result of sin, are countered by the unifying power of the body of Christ. The Eucharist, precisely by building up the Church, creates human community.”

What do I take from all of this? We have this great gift which brings Jesus close to us and makes us more like Christ. It also creates a fellowship like no other among believers, a closeness. How do I make this happen in real life? I attend a large church, the largest church in the entire Milwaukee archdiocese, and I know very few people there.  At Mass I am not sharing with people whom I know. How do I make what JP II describes actually happen? Start with prayer.  Ask God to bring people into my life who will help with all of this.  That should be a prayer that God will answer.  But be patient. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Jesus in the Gospels

Here is a long blog post from Larry Hurtado, which is wonderful:

 https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/jesus-in-the-gospels/

Larry concludes:

In short, it is a fallacy to pose a genuinely human Jesus such as we have in the Gospels over against the “high” Christology reflected in Paul’s letters and other various early Christian texts. Instead, at least in the various circles that comprised the emerging “proto-orthodox” Christianity of the late first century and thereafter, various affirmations about Jesus were seen as compatible and complementary, and various literary genres were appropriated to express Jesus significance.