Showing posts with label Jesus of Nazareth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus of Nazareth. Show all posts

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quote's From the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

"The sign of God is overflowing generosity.We see it in the multiplication of the loaves; we see it again and again--most of all, though, at the center of salvation history, in the fact that he lavishly spends himself for the lowly creature, man." (page 252).

This quote reminds me of another quote from another book, recently published in English which actually would reflect the thought of Father Joseph Ratzinger in the 1960's. There is a quote that actually gives insight into a theory of the cosmos that is tied into scientific fact at a more basic level. Here is the quote:

"The miracle at Cana and the miracle of feeding the five thousand are signs of that superabundance of generosity which is essential to God's way of acting, that way of doing things which in the process of creation squanders millions of seeds so as to save one living one. That way of doing things that lavishly produces an entire universe in order to prepare a place on earth for that mysterious being, man." What It Means to Be a Christian: Three Sermons, (pages 79-80)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Quotes from the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

"The burning bush is the cross," (page 349).

Now, there is something you can think about long and hard. It'll also help you to understand why this book is so good...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This is a Great Book

Jesus healing the possessed.

I think with the release of this book (which I got yesterday and read straight through) the pope is positioning himself to be the St. Thomas Aquinas of our age. How or why do I say this? Because like St. Thomas who answered the objections to the Faith in his day, this pope is doing the same.
A few months ago someone asked me what book I would recommend that they give to their adult children who no longer practiced the faith, without hesitation I named this book as the one. At the time I had only read some excerpts available online from Germany and Italy. It was an act of faith then, now that I have the book I know that my recommendation was justified.
This is a great book, magisterial (even though the pope doesn't want it thought of in that way). It is not just another book about Jesus, it a revolutionary book about that it recaptures why people have had their lives changed by their belief in Jesus for over 2,000 years.
What makes this book so special? It is like a modern Summa (those who know St. Thomas Aquinas will understand me here) in that it answers modern questions of doubt, skepticism and even inquiry on not only who Jesus is, but why Jesus is the most important person anyone has ever or can ever know.
The pope's methodology is to take a scene from the Bible, like the Lord's baptism and then to draw on that scene from the entire Bible, to show what modern scholarship has done to help us to understand the historical context of the scene, tell us how the early Church fathers interpreted the scene, how would it have been viewed in Judaism (he uses the reflections of a Rabbi when discussing the Sermon on the Mount) and then to give the reader the meaning of this event for them. Along the way he answers questions to the many objections modern people bring to their encounter with Jesus.
As someone who has studied theology for a number of years and been exposed to every screwball theology out there, I found this book to be a corrective lens to refocus and correct my vision of who Jesus is and what following him means. What impresses me (and I'm not easily impressed) is that the Pope takes on the "screwball (my term, not his)" theologies in such a way as to making them seem silly (although he is incredibly charitable in his approach).
This book will have a great effect on renewing the Church and centering it on an image of Christ that is Biblical and credible, erasing years of poor and faulty preaching and teaching.
If you are not Catholic, but a Christian you will love this book too. In fact I predict you will be come a big fan of Joseph Ratzinger and will want to read his many published works to encounter someone rooted in Scripture and conversant with modern attacks on it. If you are a non Christian I think you will find in the book an excellent introduction to what Christians believe about the God-man from Nazareth. To all you parents out there who sent your kids to Catholic schools and now wish they would practice their faith, give them this book and reintroduce them to Jesus of Nazareth.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Excerpt From Jesus of Nazareth

In Newsweek, here's a taste:

The Eastern Church has further developed and deepened this understanding of Jesus’ Baptism in her liturgy and in her theology of icons. She sees a deep connection between the content of the feast of Epiphany (the heavenly voice proclaiming Jesus to be the Son of God: for the East the Epiphany is the day of the Baptism) and Easter. She sees Jesus’ remark to John that “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15) as the anticipation of his prayer to the Father in Gethsemane: “My Father ... not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt 26:39). The liturgical hymns for January 3 correspond to those for Wednesday in Holy Week; the hymns for January 4 to those for Holy Thursday; the hymns for January 5 to those for Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

These correspondences are picked up by the iconographic tradition. The icon of Jesus’ Baptism depicts the water as a liquid tomb having the form of a dark cavern, which is in turn the iconographic sign of Hades, the underworld, or hell. Jesus’ descent into this watery tomb, into this inferno that envelops him from every side, is thus an anticipation of his act of descending into the underworld: “When he went down into the waters, he bound the strong man” (cf. Lk 11:22), says Cyril of Jerusalem. John Chrysostom writes: “Going down into the water and emerging again are the image of the descent into hell and the Resurrection.” The troparia of the Byzantine Liturgy add yet another symbolic connection: “The Jordan was turned back by Elisha’s coat, and the waters were divided leaving a dry path. This is a true image of Baptism by which we pass through life” (Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon, p. 296).

Jesus’ Baptism, then, is understood as a repetition of the whole of history, which both recapitulates the past and anticipates the future. His entering into the sin of others is a descent into the “inferno.” But he does not descend merely in the role of a spectator, as in Dante’s Inferno. Rather, he goes down in the role of one whose suffering—with—others is a transforming suffering that turns the underworld around, knocking down and flinging open the gates of the abyss. His Baptism is a descent into the house of the evil one, combat with the “strong man” (cf. Lk 11:22) who holds men captive (and the truth is that we are all very much captive to powers that anonymously manipulate us!). Throughout all its history, the world is powerless to defeat the “strong man”; he is overcome and bound by one yet stronger, who, because of his equality with God, can take upon himself all the sin of the world and then suffers it through to the end—omitting nothing on the downward path into identity with the fallen. This struggle is the “conversion” of being that brings it into a new condition, that prepares a new heaven and a new earth. Looked at from this angle, the sacrament of Baptism appears as the gift of participation in Jesus’ world—transforming struggle in the conversion of life that took place in his descent and ascent.

The book:

Friday, May 4, 2007

Rediscovering Jesus

From Asia News Italy:

Christianity is not a theory but an encounter with a person. This principle, which Benedict XVI restated so often, is at the origin of Jesus of Nazareth, the book in which he describes “my personal search for the ‘face of the Lord,” in order to “favour the development of an intense relationship between the reader and Him.”

Which Jesus does the Pope present us with?

Since the 1950s “advances in critical research in history led to increasingly subtler distinctions between the various strata of the tradition,” blurring the image on which the faith stands. Various views of Jesus emerged ranging from the “anti-Roman revolutionary” to the “soft-hearted moralist.” But for Ratzinger the theologian, they reflect more the “views and ideals of their authors than any revelation about an icon, however faded it might have been.”

The “historical facts” about Jesus’ life and the unforeseeable growth of Christianity just a few years after his death show how extraordinary He was. And He cannot be understood without starting from “truly historical” facts, i.e. Jesus’ relationship to God and His union with Him.” “My book is based on this, i.e. on the fact that Jesus is in communion with the Father. This is the core of His personality. Without this communion one cannot understand anything and it is from that that He becomes real to us even today.”

The Gospel Jesus is the Jesus of ‘History’

Since we are talking about an actual living human being, we must rely on the historical method to know him. For Benedict XVII, “faith is based on history as it unfolded on the surface of this earth.” Otherwise, “the Christian faith is eliminated and becomes another religion.” For this reason, the Jesus of the book is necessarily the Jesus of the Gospels: “the ‘historical Jesus’ in its truest sense.”

“I am convinced,” writes Benedict XVI, “and I hope readers realise that this is more logical and more understandable from an historical point of view than any of the reconstructions” offered in the last few decades.

This Jesus is also the “last prophet” as announced in the Old Testament, the “New Moses” to be more precise, who leads His people to “true liberation.” More than Moses who “as a friend spoke face to face with God” but without the power to see Him, Jesus “lives in the presence of God, not only as friend but also as son. He lives in profound unity with the Father.” It is from this that come the answer to questions like “Where did Jesus get His doctrine? Where does the key that explains his behaviour lie.” The Beatitudes are confirmation of this. From the “Sermon on the Mount,” Benedict draws many a detail like the “Mount” itself, whose location is not given in the Gospels, but which is simply the “mount,” the “New Sinai” to the crowd that came from the Galilee to hear Him, i.e. “a strip of land still viewed as half pagan,” but which “is in fact proof of His divine mission” to all the peoples; or the address “the New Torah brought by Jesus,” which “starts again from the commandments on the second tablet and goes deeper into the text without abolishing it.” Indeed, the “paradoxes” that Jesus presents in the Beatitudes—‘Blessed are the poor, those who mourn, those who are persecuted, those who are reviled’—express “what discipleship means.” The Beatitudes’ meaning “cannot be explained by theory alone; they must be proclaimed in the life, suffering and mysterious joy that the disciple experiences when he has fully donated his life to the Lord.”