Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fifth Sunday of Lent: "We want to see Jesus"

To be human, "man's response to God by faith must be free, and... therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act." "God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced. . . This fact received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus." Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them. "For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom... grows by the love with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself." (CCC 160)

"All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD."
-- Jer 31:31-34

"...when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself."
-- Jn 12:20-33

The Church is the "gathering" and the true "family" of God.

Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the "family of God". By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great Paschal mystery - his death on the cross and his Resurrection - he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." Into this union with Christ all men are called. (CCC 542)

At the center of the life of the Church is the Lord, "raised up" in the Eucharist, that all the world, "from least to greatest", may see and know Him.

Is it not we, the members of His Body which is the Church, who lift Him up that He may draw all the world to Himself; lift Him up every day in the Holy Sacrifice of His Cross and Resurrection in the holy Mass?

All are able now to see the Lord, " from least to greatest" and all are now drawn to Him as the Church lifts Him up in the sacred Scriptures proclaimed and proclaims Him, "lifted up from the earth" in the holy Eucharist, the risen Lord truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.


"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." The lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it. Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, "entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands. . . but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf." There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he "always lives to make intercession" for "those who draw near to God through him". As "high priest of the good things to come" he is the center and the principal actor of the liturgy that honors the Father in heaven. (CCC 662)

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