07.08.2020 — Motivations for the New Age

Posted under Reflections on August 6th, 2020 by

18th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 7th August 2020 — Gospel:          Mt 16,24-28

Motivations for the New Age

Jesus emphasizes the importance of giving up one’s life in order to have a better life forever. Only here and nowhere else do we find God the Father is called the ‘Father’ of the Son of Man. The Christological question (who Jesus is – the earthly Son of Man), receives an answer in terms of future eschatology and the last judgement. In view of this, Jesus points out to his disciples a New Age that is different from the current self-centered age. The New Age calls for a radical new orientation. The Old Age is characterized by a pull toward self, but the New Age is characterized by selflessness. On the last day, not all the treasures a person has gained on earth will buy the one thing he has lost: his own salvation, his own eternal life (Ps 49,5-9). The idea of final judgement, which stands behind in vv.25-26, is made explicit in v.27. The three motivations for the New Age are: if you give up your life for Christ, you will find it (16,25); you can either gain Christ, or the world (16,26) and you will be rewarded by Jesus if you choose Jesus (16,27). In a sweeping apocalyptic scene, we are presented with a Jewish-Trinity: the Son of Man, his Father, and his angels. The Son of Man being the judge of the whole cosmos, he will reward and punish each person, disciple and believer alike, according to his concrete way of acting (Ps 62,12).  

06.08.2020 — Confirming the way to glory

Posted under Reflections on August 5th, 2020 by

Transfiguration of the Lord, Thursday – 6th August 2020 — Gospel:  Mt 17,1-9

Confirming the way to glory

This section can be divided into three parts: the event of the transfiguration (1-3), Peter’s suggestion and the divine response to it (4-8), and Jesus’ instruction (9). The first part simply reports what happened, without going into much detail. In the second part there are three speeches: Peter’s suggestion, voice from heaven and Jesus’ words of comfort. Third part describes the aftermath of the event with an instruction.  What is interesting in the event is that Jesus does not explain the transfiguration at all. However, the voice from heaven explains who Jesus is. The word from heaven is a revelation that dominates everything that was happening. It is not so much a response to Peter but overshadows completely to whatever Peter thought or said. The voice confirms that Jesus was God’s Son in a unique way. Peter had just made that confession (16,16); but now Peter heard it in a new light. Other two disciples too witnessed that Christ the messiah was not merely son of David; He is the designated “son of God”. The word from heaven made clear three points: Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is loved by the Father and pleasing to the Father; and Jesus must be obeyed. All of these ideas were being challenged by the religious leaders of the day, and questioned by the people. The disciples of Jesus knew that He was doing the will of the Father and that He was to be obeyed. Now this direct revelation confirmed their faith and encouraged Jesus to face death in the days to come. The transfiguration experience prepares the disciples, primarily to know Jesus and to accept his death as obedience to God’s will, which is the way to glory.

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