First Sunday in Lent – Even Year

Posté par diaconos le 13 mars 2024

We Want to see Jesus Lifted High |

# The Son of Man is an eschatological figure used in Jewish apocalyptic circles from the post-exilic period onwards. This expression appears in particular in the Book of Daniel. In the Gospels, it is the title most often used by Jesus when speaking of himself. The expression itself is a literal translation of the Greek uios tou anthrôpou, a transfer of the Aramaic bar nasha, words used in Jesus’ time as a linguistic substitute for ‘human being’. The interpretations to which it gave rise in Christianity shifted the initial meaning to the humanity of Jesus. It is first attested in the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel, dated to the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, shortly before the Maccabean revolt (c. 160 BC). In the New Testament there are more than eighty passages in which Jesus of Nazareth calls himself the ‘Son of Man’. He presented himself as the future eschatological judge.

# Kenosis is a notion in Christian theology expressed by a Greek word, κένωσις, « action of emptying, of stripping away everything »; the meaning of this notion in Christianity is illuminated by Paul’s epistle to the Philippians (Phil 2:6) This notion has given rise to numerous developments of a theology that places great emphasis on the lowering of God. Out of love, God strips Himself of His other divine attributes, such as omnipotence, glory, impassibility, perfection, self-sufficiency and world-ruling providence.

The theology of kenosis tackles the mystery of evil by asserting that it is first and foremost God who suffers and not man : « But no, God never allows evil, he suffers from it, he dies from it, he is first and foremost its victim ». The theology of kenosis was formalised by the Church Fathers and formed part of the Christological debates of the early councils. Kenosis, therefore, does not concern Christ’s divine nature, but only his humanity. For Paul of Tarsus, the theology of kenosis states that the incarnation of the Word corresponds to a renunciation of the usual divine privileges : God is only Love and God’s attributes are only the attributes of Love. For Moltmann, a God who is only omnipotent is an imperfect being.

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to John

At that time there were some Greeks among those who had gone up to Jerusalem to worship God during the Passover feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him : « We would like to see Jesus. » Philip told Andrew and they both told Jesus. Then Jesus said to them : « The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you : if a grain of wheat falls into the earth and does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. »

He who loves his life loses it; but he who sets aside his life in this world, will keep it for eternal life. If any man will serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.Now my soul is overwhelmed. What shall I say? « Father, save me from this hour » ? But no ! That is why I have come to this hour! Father, glorify thy name ! Then there came a voice from heaven saying : « I have glorified him and I will glorify him again ».

When the crowd heard it, they said it was like thunder. Others said : « An angel spoke to him. » But Jesus answered them : « The voice was not for me, but for you. Now is the judgment of this world; now the prince of this world is about to be cast out ; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself ». By this he meant the kind of death he was about to suffer (John 12: 20-33).

We want to see Jesus

We want to see Jesus. This was the request of some Greeks in the aftermath of Palm Sunday. They were sympathisers with the Jewish religion and had travelled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. They had heard of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. They therefore went in search of the disciples and eventually found Philip. They approached him and told him of their greatest desire: to see the glory of him whose praises they all sang. Yes, I agree, but the glory they were invited to accept was that of a crucified man. They saw the death of the author of life, a man exalted above all, nailed to a cross. This Jesus raised from the earth will know glory because he will draw all men to himself.

« We would like to see Jesus ». This is a wonderful phrase that rises from every heart that longs for God. Jesus is speaking to each one of us today. We also want to see Jesus. Jesus makes us realise something very important: we will meet him where we never thought we would. He is always visible, but in ways we had not imagined. It is in the sick person we visit on his hospital bed; it is in the man who has been dismissed for no reason, in the prisoner with whom we keep in touch, in the person who is the victim of slander and gossip. what we do for the least of these, we do for him.

With Jesus, values are turned upside down. Humiliation becomes greatness. Failure becomes triumph. The most degrading instrument of torture of the age becomes the glorious cross. We see it as a shining symbol of love.  This cross is found in our churches, but also at crossroads and on hilltops. When we look at it, we discover the glorification of a love beyond our imagination. But seeing Jesus is not enough. He expects us to follow and imitate him. It is an invitation that recurs often in the Gospels: take up our cross and follow Jesus. The path of Christ is a rapid descent. It is exactly the opposite of what men advise.

We live in a world that privileges money, power and status. But when Jesus seeks man, he descends into incarnation and becomes a slave. He comes down among men and becomes the last. This is how he invites us to follow him, even unto death, so that we can participate in his resurrection. Following Jesus also means suffering alongside our fellow human beings, alongside those who live in despair. He also invites us to join those who are committed to fighting poverty.

In short, we must rediscover the evangelical meaning of charity: to love, to listen to others, to be of service, to share, to be attentive to the poorest. Every Sunday we celebrate the Eucharist in communion with the whole Church, whose mission is to lead us to Jesus. Sending us to witness his love and the hope he places in us, Jesus reminds us that he is with us every day until the end of the world. Let us pray to him together, that he may give us strength and courage for the mission he has entrusted to us.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian sites

Opus Dei : click here to read the papere →Meditations: Sunday of the Fourth Week of Lent (Year B)

◊ Episcopal Conference Italy : click here to read the article → VTH SUNDAY OF LENT – YEAR B

 ◊ Video Fr Sumit DsouZA S : click here →

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