Skip to comments.Christ, The King of the Universe
Posted on 12/26/2006 1:23:43 PM PST by stfassisi
Christ, The King of the Universe Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The spirituality of St. Paul derives all its meaning and finds all its purpose in one dominant mystery of the Christian faithnamely, the person of Christ as the natural Son of God.
After all, what is Christianity except the religion of a human being who was and proved Himself to be the Incarnate God?
It is not so much that Paul knew this, as though his letters somehow serve to confirm what, as Christians, we believe. It is rather that the revelation of Christs divinity is found in St. Paul. His fourteen letters are a mosaic of many things, but of nothing more surely and clearly and fundamentally than that Jesus is the Eternal God.
We could almost close our eyes and choose any one of more than a score of passages in Pauls writings testifying to Christs divine nature. In fact, for Paul, Christ is simply the Lord, Kyrios, the same title as he uses for God.
But the classic passage in which the apostle synthesizes all that Christ is and means to mankind occurs in the first chapter of Colossians. It reads like a symphony, which it is, because it contains in six verses all that the Church believes about her Founder.
Says St. Paul of Christ:
He is the image of the unseen God and the first born of all creation, for in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth; everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powersall things were created through and for Him. Before anything was created, He existed, and He holds all things in unity (Col 1:15-17).
The Divinity of Christ As is customary with St. Paul, he heaps upon the head of Christ all the titles which belong to him by reason of His two natures, human and divine. Paul is not inclined to divide Christ, any more than is St. John.
For the sake of convenience, however, we may separate what Paul says about Christ as God, and what he affirms about Him as man.
As God, Christ is the image of God, the first-born, the Creator, the preserver and the end or goal of all things.
As man, Christ is the first-born of the dead, the head of the Mystical Body, the Redeemer of the human race and the peacemaker of all rational creation. But even as man, Christ is all these things only because He is also, and before everything else, the infinite God.
Christ is the image of the unseen God. He is the image of the Father because He perfectly reflects the Father. His nature is exactly the same as that of the Father; the only difference being that Christ as the Son proceeds from the Father who proceeds from no one. But Christ is as much God as truly divine as is the Father.
Christ is the first-born of all creation. He was born before every creature. He proceeded from all eternity, before anything was made.
Christ is Creator of all things, of everything visible (or the material world) and of everything invisible (the world of angelic spirits and human souls). Each of our souls at the moment of conception was individually and distinctively made by Christas the Second Person of the Trinity, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Christ existed before anything was created. He is therefore eternal, from always, and He would have existed as God, even though God had not freely decided to make the world out of nothing.
Christ holds the universe together. As the wisdom of the Father, He is the Providence of God who governs all things gently and leads them to their appointed destiny.
The Adorability of Christ In the light of this majestic description that Paul gives us of Christ, is it any wonder that Paul would exhort the faithful to worship Christ as they worship the Father and honor Christ as they honor the Father?
There is much room here, I believe, for looking into our prayer life and frankly asking ourselves how frequently we approach Christ in this spirit of adoration.
We are so accustomed to thinking of the Savior as our Mediator with the Father that we are liable to overlook what should be our primary posture in the presence of Christ. It is the posture of adoration that was perfectly expressed by St. Thomas on the Sunday following Easter, when Christ appeared to the doubting apostle who, on seeing the Master, fell down on his knees and professed, My Lord and my God.
We say this invocation at the elevation at Mass. As a priest, this is my prayer every time I raise the Host and the chalice after consecration.
Let us be very clear here. What we see of the Eucharist is only what appear to be bread and wine. What we believe is that behind these appearances is a man, and behind the man is God.
Faith in Christs adorability as God is the key that unlocks the treasures of His Sacred Heart. I cannot overemphasize how pleased Christ is at our faith in His divinity or how lavish He is with His gifts of grace if we honor Him as God. This is the faith that evoked miracles from Jesus during His visible stay on earth. This is the faith that will evoke miracles in our favor, since the same Jesus is present in our midst in the Holy Eucharist. All He wantshonestly all He wantsis that we approach Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and invoke Him as our twice-hidden God.
Christ is Head of the Church Because Jesus Christ is God, when He became man and died on the Cross, the moment He expired the Church was born.
As the ancient Fathers express it, the Church of Christ as the Spouse of Christ, came from His open side as the Second Eve; even as the First Eve came from the side of the First Adam.
Once the Church came into existence, like any living body she acquired her members, who are the believing faithful, and she already had her living Head who is Jesus Christ.
How the truth of the Catholic faith needs to be stressed today, when the Church is undergoing the most severe trial of her corporate history.
The Church is being persecuted by her enemies on the outside and by her traitors from the inside. Between the two there is no question who are worse and inflicting the greater harm on the Mystical Body. They are, in the words of the late Pope Paul VI, the Judases who are betraying their Master for thirty pieces of cheap publicity and the friendship of the Pharisees, those who control the media of mass communication in our day.
No doubt Christ is being crucified today in His Body, which is the Church. But we should be certain that, though suffering, the Church is not being abandoned. Abandoned? Why this is exactly as God in His Providence permits things to happen.
Remember the long conversation related by St. Pauls disciple, the Evangelist Luke? On Easter Sunday, Christ joined the two discouraged followers on their way to Emmaus. Remember what He told them, when they sadly told Him how disappointed they were over what had happened on Good Friday?
You foolish men! (He rebuked them.) So slow to believe the full message of the prophets. Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into His glory? (Lk 24:25-26). This rebuke Christ is addressing also to us. You foolish people, He chides us. So slow to believe the full message of what I had predicted. Is it not ordained that the Mystical Christ, in my members, should suffer and so enter into its glory?
All of this makes sense, however, only on the assumption that when the Churchs members are suffering they are part of His Body; that He is their Head; that just as He underwent His Passion, so we are to undergo ours; that this is all as it should be; that the Mystical Christ like the physical Christ will have a glorious Resurrection. Meantime we are consoled by our faith in Christ, who is God, and whos Spirit we breathe, and who in spite of appearances, will not allow His Church to be finally overcome.
The Fullness of Christ One of the most expressive ideas in St. Paul is the term fullness, that he uses no less than twelve times with reference to Christ. It is rich in meaning and has some very practical implications for the spiritual life.
What is this fullness or plentitude?
It is first of all the fullness of Christs divinity. Jesus Christ had the sum-total of divine Being. Although man, like us, He was and is the totality of God. He is therefore not only divine, as an adjective, but Divinity, as a noun. To see Jesus is to see God; to hear Jesus is to hear God; to believe in Jesus is to believe that this human being is God.
It is secondly the fullness of divine blessings that Christ possesses, because He is God, and that he wants to bestow lavishly on the rest of mankind.
It is thirdly the fullness of divine grace that Christ, as Head of the Mystical Body, pours out in special abundance on the members of the Church. Those who are baptized have a title to this plenitude because they are incorporated into the Body of the Savior.
It is finally the fullness of Christ as the perfection of sanctity that He possesses and that we are to aspire to attain. Christ as God has all the attributes of the Divinity. Christ as man manifests these attributes as the virtues that we can see and, with His grace, aim to imitate. On each of these four levels, Christ is to evoke a corresponding response from us.
Because He is the fullness of God, we are to offer Christ the worship of our sacrifice. At Mass, when He offers Himself, as man, to His heavenly Father, we are to sacrifice ourselves to Jesus, as God. That is why the Mass is a sacrifice of adoration.
Because Christ possesses the fullness of Gods goodness, ready to bless the human race, we are to cooperate with Him in this communication of grace. Cooperate is not too strong a word to describe what Christ wants to do, but He has decreed that we are to work with Him in the distribution of His gifts.
Because Christ is Head of the Mystical Body, which is the Church, we are to do everything in our power to extend the Kingdom of Christ to the whole world. We are to look forward to the day when every knee on earth will bend before the crucifix, and every hand will make the Sign of the Cross, and every mouth will receive the living Bread that came down from heaven for the salvation of souls.
And lastly, because Jesus Christ is the fullness of sanctity and the pattern for us to follow, we are to learn all we can about Him through meditation on the Gospels, and from Him through intimate conversation in prayer. He is what we hope to become. In the degree that we strive to become like Him, we too (in some measure) can tell others, as St. Paul told his contemporaries, Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.
There is no ambition that is higher and none more sublime, than to take on the mind and heart of Christ. The ambition is both possible and achievable; but only because Jesus is God, from whom we come as our Creator and to whom we are going as our predestined Love.
Dear Friend,Thank you for the beautiful picture
"Thank you for the beautiful picture"
Icon, brother, Icon! Its not just a pretty picture. Pantokrator means Ruler of the Universe.
Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam,
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe
Thanks for the article!
I have to thank God for allowing Christianity to develop, thus to found (and hopefully keep) the United States. Though I'll take Jewish orthodoxy, thanks.
Jezebel is responsible for most of Christian doctrine. Thank her.
Interesting. How so?
A joke, perhaps? Ha, ha.
Kefah (Peter) makes a very interesting statement in Luke 2 Chapter 3.
19 Repent (Return) therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Yeshua HaMoshiach, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things
Which is confirmed in
1 YHVH says to my Adoni: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
Restoration - Tikkunum all things...
Anyone over the (intellectual) age of 12 knows that shepherds do not watch over their flocks during winter. Crucifixion on Passover, resurrection on First Fruits (notice a pattern?), birth during Tabernacles (late summer, shepherds in the fields, pilgrimage Festival = no room at the inn) and back up nine months to the conception and you fall into Chanukah.
PS: Luke 15, the prodigal son. The older brother is Judaism, the younger Christianity.
This seems interesting for itself.
Though I can't quite see how Christianity is directly related to Jezebel.
My views on Christology square primarily with Hyam Maccobys Revolution In Judea: Jesus and the Jewish Resistance. Primarily, that Jesus was vying for the kingship of the Jews in the same sense that David, Solomon and other Kings Of Israel had been so annointed and hailed as Messiah during and after their reigns. This is likewise at odds with Jesus divinity, which seems a likely amalgam of Hellenism and further invention of Paul. Though - even at the expense of the Jews - it makes a great story.
Otherwise for me, not two, nor three...four, or literally the millions of godheads of Hinduism will do.
As it says in the Shma, God is One. And thats one enough for me.
Thanks for coming back!
Check out Proverbs 7.
Proverbs 7 1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my Torah as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
1 Kings 16
Ahab Becomes King of Israel
29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Same foreign woman (Jezebel) from Proverbs 7. Thats gonna hurt.
1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' 3 and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.
You might think that the wicked and adulterous would be in the same category, theyre not. Adultery = false teachings. Goggle spiritual mapping and youll find a ton of Christian sites, they seem to be more interested in haSatan then the Torah.
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Last Sunday of the Church Year
The Trinity with Mary and John the Baptist - detail from The Triumph of the Christian Faith
fresco by Raphael - Stanzo della segnatura - Vatican
Christ has received the authority and glory of a king; every people, tribe and nation will serve Him forever - Antiphon, Evening Prayer I
Canticle Revelation 4:11; 5:9-12
Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.
Worthy are you, O Lord,
to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slain,
and by your blood you ransomed men for God
from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
You have made us a kingdom and priests to our God,
and we shall reign on earth.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and might,
and honor and glory and blessing.
Almighty and merciful God, who breaks the power of evil and makes all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe: May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12; 15-17
For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice. As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, rams and he-goats.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be everything to every one.
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
"When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at His right hand, "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me". Then the righteous will answer Him, "Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?" And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me". Then He will say to those at His left hand, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me". Then they also will answer, "Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?" Then He will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me". And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.