WELCOME TO BARBARAH’S BLOG: Lent Week Five
The readings for today give us more detail on who Jesus is and show through Jeremiah the Prophet that the Mystery of Golgotha was in God’s planning for many years.
A Reading from the Prophet Jeremiah
The reading recommended for this Sunday, March 25, 2012 is from the Prophet Jeremiah, Chapter 31, and was transmitted to him in 587BC. It tells of Yahweh’s New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House Judah. In it Yahweh states, “I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I shall be their God and they will be my people. They will all know me, from the least to the greatest…since I shall forgive their guilt and never more call their sin to mind.”
More than 600 years later, this comes to pass when Jesus of Nazareth begins his public teaching and healing, rapidly attracting followers of his people, Jews from Galilee and the surrounding area and from the many pilgrims in Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover.
The Letter to the Hebrews…
…also a recommended reading for this Sunday, tells us who Jesus was. In its Prologue we are told that Jesus is the reflection of God’s glory, sustaining all things by his powerful command, and now that he (Jesus) has purged sins away, he has taken his seat at the right hand of the Divine Majesty on high. So he is now far above the angels, as the titles he has inherited are higher than their own name. In the letter’s section Jesus, the Compassionate High Priest, it states that “Since in Jesus the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest, who has gone through the highest heaven, we must hold him to our profession of faith. It goes on to describe Jesus as “their priest, who has been tested as they have been tested…Let us then have no fear in approaching the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace when we are in need of help.”
Perhaps Yahweh sees that humanity is too far removed from contact with His perfection and those exceptional humans who have demonstrated how to live with free will and resist temptation (Abraham, Moses, Noah and others). In the person of Jesus Yahweh sacrifices His only son to absolve humankind from sin (“They will know me from the least to the greatest…since I shall forgive their guilt and never more call their sin to mind.”)—and His son will demonstrate how it is to live as one made in the image and likeness of God.
Covenants prior to this included death as a condition of their violation. However, when transgressions occurred, Yahweh, the loving father, found his children worthy of another chance. Adam and Eve did not suffer death after they violated Yahweh’s condition and ate the fruit of the tree of good and evil: Instead they were banished from the Garden of Eden to fend for themselves. Later, when Cain murdered his brother Able and was banished from his home to wander, he pleaded with Yahweh that those who heard what he had done would kill him: Yahweh placed a mark on Cain’s head prohibiting anyone from harming him. And when Yahweh could no longer accept the behavior of humankind, He flooded the earth; however, Noah and his family were saved to repopulate the earth. After the flood, Yahweh promised never again to rid the earth of humankind by a flood. As a reminder to us He put a rainbow in the sky, the symbol of this new covenant.
By placing an imprint of His laws on the hearts of humanity, and by giving the example of Jesus and his teachings on how we are to live, is Yahweh aiming to accelerate the development of humanity’s conscience? These are questions for prayerful reflection during this season of Lent.
Now back to the Letter to the Hebrews that explains how “every high priest is taken from human beings and is appointed to act on their behalf in relationships with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices…And so it was not Christ who gave himself the glory of becoming high priest, but the one who said to him: “You are my Son today. I have fathered you, and in another test: You are a priest forever, of the Order of Melchisedek.”
The Gospel of John, Chapter 12
“Among those who went up to Jerusalem to worship at the Passover were some Greeks, who approached the apostle Philip, requesting to see Jesus. Philip and the apostle Andrew together went to tell Jesus, who replied to them., “Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat of grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest…and Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life…If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.
“Now my soul is troubled, What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name. A voice came from heaven. I have glorified it, and I will again glorify it.
“The crowd standing by who heard this said it was a clap of thunder; others said it was an angel speaking to him. Jesus answered. “It was not for my sake this voice came, but for yours. Now sentence is being passed on this world; now the prince of this world is to be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.’ By these words, he indicated the kind of death he would die.“
Note: Until Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan, he was known by this birth name, and as Jesus of Nazareth. At the Baptism , when Jesus submerged himself in the River Jordan that was tainted by all the errors of those baptized there before him, he took those errors upon himself. At that moment, “The heavens tore open and the Father said in a loud voice, ‘Today you are my son, the one in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus had undertaken a selfless sacrifice in his mission from God the Father to free humankind from its errors. Then the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, in the presence of a dove, signifying that he was anointed (initiated) by the Holy Spirit with the Christ energy. On returning to Galilee and Capernaum, Jesus performed miracles and preached in the villages and towns. At this time, the apostles began calling Jesus, Christ, using it alone or with his given name as Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ. Soon it gained use among others who witnessed Christ’s miracles and preaching or heard of them.