Today and all this week we will be having lectures updating us on changes proposed to the new Roman Missal which will be translated into English as the guide for how Eucharist is celebrated into the future. I will keep you up-to-date on this as it develops.
Meanwhile, here is the second -last part of the lectures by Fr Fuellenbach on "Discipleship" - it gets a little sketchy near the end but i will send you this till I tidy up my notes on the last section.
Yesterday, one of the priests in our sabbatical course (Fr Mike) had his sister (Connie) and brother-in-law (Tom) come to visit him here in Rome. They were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversay on this day that they visited and arrived at St Peter's just as the pope was blessing everyone at the midday Sunday Angelus. Fr Mike had mass here at the college with me and others attending too and gave a special blessing for them and I was there for the celebration and took some photos which are on my website... www.mysteriousthree.com .
FOLLOWING THE LORD – BY REV JOHN FUELLENBACH SVD. (Part V)
Summary of Jesus' Kingdom – The 'Our Father'
Jesus said "The time is right, the
There was much expectation of what this might mean…
- The end of Roman occupation
- The end of oppressive aristocracy of the Pharisees and Priestly caste – a renewal of the priesthood of that time.
Jesus was a 'country boy' - and as many people from the outer country, there was an 'awe for the
In Jesus' death on the cross, three major signs occurred:
- Centurion declares "This is God's Son"
When Jesus dies the CURTAIN RIPS OPEN – as if to say "YOU WILL NOT FIND GOD THERE … GOD IS FOUND IN THIS ABANDONED BROKEN PERSON ON THE CROSS. You will find Jesus on the cross.
The PAGAN and soldier recognizes this
The Scholar and Jew did not recognize this
God has revealed himself on the cross.
This was a scandal to Jews and Gentiles alike.
This is what the author of the gospels meant to convey with this text.
Recall the disciples to Jesus on the road to Emmaus: "We expected that this, and this and this would happen…." Yet here we are, the same as before and WHERE IS THE KINGDOM HE PREDICTED???
Jesus always gives a parable answer to a question -
In answer to a question, 'what is the Kingdom like" Jesus tells the parable of the Mustard seed.
The mustard seed is tiny, almost just a speck in the palm of the hand, the mustard TREE can grow very tall. This is a sign of the "already" and the "not yet"
MUSTARD SEED = ALREADY
MUSTARD TREE = NOT YET
The Kingdom is already here – in seed form – but not yet fully revealed (in its fullness). You need "KINGDOM EYEGLASSES" TO SEE IT.
One way of glimpsing the Kingdom….. is in Liturgy. This is a festive expression of the Kingdom.
Also, whenever justice, reconciliation, peace, celebration is present…. There you can SMELL the kingdom too.
The Kingdom is a gift which draws us into "filiation" (that is, we become sons and daughters of God). But, we must draw others into the Kingdom – hence they become brothers and sisters (that is our TASK). Our task is to bring others into filial relation with God and each other. .
In 1 John 4:20-21 we read: "If a man says he loves God, and hates his brother, he is a liar. For he who hates his brother whom he has "SEEN" how can he love God who he hasn't seen?"
Help people to SEE that the Kingdom is a present reality in the world. God's Spirit is mightily at work in the world and when you SEE it at work we need to put this into Praise and Thanksgiving (express it in acknowledgement). In thankfulness for it's presence. That brings it out: the 'already' and also the 'not yet'
Another image of the Kingdom (which is 'already here' but 'not yet' in its fullness) is the image of a pregnant mother. The child is present and yet not fully revealed until born.
Fr F. gave an example from his mission work. There was a place where they always served fish with rice every Tuesday and Friday for breakfast. The small fish was very strong smelling. "When we are still sitting in church, we can ALREADY smell the fish that we have not yet eaten" This is a reminder of the Kingdom around us.
EVERY meal that Christians eat is special, even when its not Eucharist. For Christians, any meal is 'not a buffet' but rather it should be an anticipation and foretaste and reminder of the heavenly banquet meal.
With the coming of the Messiah, the end times were expected to have arrived. This was to be the eschatological event, (the end-time event). As it is, The coming of Jesus DID indeed usher in the Kingdom, but there is a gap.
Jesus brought the Kingdom, but postponed the Parousia (the end times fulfilled in completeness). So, we are 'sandwiched' .
Jesus is the 'firstborn from the dead' – he is already in the transformed state and place that we eventually hope to be in. (only Jesus and Mary are living in the completeness of the end-time – the other saints, although enjoying the joys of heaven are partially in it but awaiting the ultimate fulfillment in the end times). We all await that time in the future where we will be fully transformed.
Jesus says though: I do not leave you orphaned. Jesus created the Church (by the outpouring of the Spirit) and pours the Spirit of the Risen Christ that his presence among us is IN the Spirit of God. So, we are participating in the final creating of the universe. We are participating already in the Holy Spirit in the world to come. We carry the future state already within us, in seed form, we are like earthen vessels but the fullness of this is not yet here. It is the SPIRIT that we share in. We are 'participating in the world to come' already/ now.
Because of this "already" but "not yet" tension we live in, this explains why things are not 'perfect' in life and in the world even after Jesus death and resurrection. There will never, in this life, be "perfect community" or "perfect liturgy" etc. We live in a world in which we can already touch, taste, smell the future (here) but not yet here in its fullness.
If you wait for the perfect preparation before celebrating Eucharist you will be waiting till the end of the world ! So, we do it NOW – since celebrating eucharist is not only a taste and experience (in the "here and now") of the Kingdom to come, but it also a reconciling and healing experience because of the fact that we are not perfect, we are not complete and we do experience brokenness and incompleteness in the here and now too. In the tension of the 'already' but 'not fully her yet' is both perfection and imperfection.
There are two books by Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) that are very good
- "Introduction to Christianity." (an excellent catechesis on the Christian faith and its prime beliefs)
- His new book "Jesus of Nazareth" (if you can get past the first chapter which is rather hard going because he explains his method and approach, the rest is excellent – maybe read the first chapter after reading the rest of the book). The only drawback on this book is that although the Pope mentions the social implications and challenges and dimensions of Jesus' Kingdom message he does not go into it in any detail.
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In the Pope's book he mentions the Lord's Prayer and stresses the Festive/ sacramental aspects of the Kingdom. He is very Christological.