Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pentecost 2008

Mission of the Holy Spirit: “The Wondrous Exchange:”[1] God becomes man so that man can become God.

“Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations – we become God.”[2] Since Christ is God (“I and the Father are one” Jn. 10, 30; “Philip, he who sees me sees also the Father” Jn. 14, 9), then he who becomes Christ, is divinized (“I live; no not I; Christ lives in me” Gal. 2, 20; “The promises were made to Abraham and his offspring. He does not say, ‘And to his offsprings,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to thy offspring’ who is Christ,” Gal. 3, 16); and finally, “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3, 28). At Christ’s Baptism, The Holy Spirit comes down on Jesus, and He who is without sin, becomes weighted with all the sins of all men in obedience to the Father: “For our sakes he made him to be sin who knew nothing of sin, so that in him we might become the justice of God.”[3]
Jesus’ Baptism:

Jesus Christ is the prototype of man (Gaudium et Spes #22) without sin while accepting the burden of all sin (2Cor. 5, 21). “He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners. His inaugural gesture is an anticipation of the Cross. He is, as it were, the true Jonah who said to the crew of the ship, ‘Take me and throw me into the sea’ (Jon. 1, 12). The whole significance of Jesus’ Baptism, the fact that he bears ‘all righteousness,’ first comes to lift on the Cross: The Baptism is an acceptance of death for the sins of humanity…”[4]

Our Baptism:
“To accept the invitation to be baptized now means to go to the place of Jesus’ Baptism. It is to go where he identifies himself with us and to receive there our identification with him.”[5]

Jesus 'Temptations:
“Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Lk. 7, 19). Jesus responded: “Go and tell Jon what it is that you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me!”[6] The Temptations of Christ are all reducible to this paraphrase of Benedict: "`If you exist, God,' we say, 'then you'll just have to show yourself. You'll have to part the clouds that conceal you and give us the clarity that we deserve. If you, Christ, are really the Son of God, and not just another one of the enlightened individuals who keep appearing in the course of history, then you'll just have to prove it more clearly than you are doing now. And if the Church is really supposed to be yours, you'll have to make that much more obvious than it is at present'" ("Jesus of Nazareth" 30).

Benedict’s Great Call: Jesus did not bring world peace, universal prosperity and a better world. What did He bring?

“He has brought God. He has brought the God who formerly unveiled his countenance gradually, first to Abrajam, then to Moses and the Prophets, and then in Wisdom Literature – the God who revealed his face only in Israel, evern though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the nations of the earth.

“He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about our origin and destiny: faith, hope, and love. It is only because of our hardness of heart that we think this is too little. [Here now is the problem that needs conversion for there to be a correct apologetic and restore the world to hope]. Yes indeed, God’s power works quietly in this world, but it is the true and lasting power. Again and again, God’s cause seems to be in its death throes. Yet over and over again it proves to be the thing that truly endures and saves. The earthly kingdoms that Satan was able to put before the Lord at that time have al passed away. Their glory, their doxa, has proven to be a mere semblance. But the glory of Christ, the humble self-sacrificing glory of his love, has not passed away, nor will it ever do so.” [7]

The mission of the Spirit is not to do great things in the world, but to effect the great work: the Incarnation of God and the divinization of man. All else derives from this!!

“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Rom 8, 9).

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 92: “Thus the Logos adopts the being of the man Jesus into his own being and speaks of it in terms of his own I: ‘For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will [human] but the will of him who sent me’ (Jn. 6, 38).”
[2] St. Basil the Great, “On the Holy Spirit,” Chapter 9, 22-23.
[3] 2Cor. 5, 21.
[4] Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Doubleday (2007) 18.
[5] Ibid 18
[6] Lk. 7, 19-21.
[7] Ibid 44.

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