Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 1C
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
"AND IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD"
432 The name "Jesus" signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation,23 so that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."24
27 The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.28
437 To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."32 From the beginning he was "the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world", conceived as "holy" in Mary's virginal womb.33 God called Joseph to "take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", so that Jesus, "who is called Christ", should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David.34
439 Many Jews and even certain Gentiles who shared their hope recognized in Jesus the fundamental attributes of the messianic "Son of David", promised by God to Israel.38 Jesus accepted his rightful title of Messiah, though with some reserve because it was understood by some of his contemporaries in too human a sense, as essentially political.39
443 Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah's divine sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood. To his accusers' question before the Sanhedrin, "Are you the Son of God, then?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am."50 Well before this, Jesus referred to himself as "the Son" who knows the Father, as distinct from the "servants" God had earlier sent to his people; he is superior even to the angels.51 He distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying "our Father", except to command them: "You, then, pray like this: 'Our Father'", and he emphasized this distinction, saying "my Father and your Father".52
57 The apostles can confess: "We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."58
448 Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as "Lord". This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.62 At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, "Lord" expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus.63 In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: "My Lord and my God!" It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: "It is the Lord!"64
67 "The Church. . . believes that the key, the center and the purpose of the whole of man's history is to be found in its Lord and Master."68
457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who "loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins": "the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world", and "he was revealed to take away sins":70
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?71
460 The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":78 "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."79 "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81
II. THE INCARNATION
464 The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man.
During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it.
homoousios) as the Father", and condemned Arius, who had affirmed that the Son of God "came to be from things that were not" and that he was "from another substance" than that of the Father.88
93 Thus everything in Christ's human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: "He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity."94
104 "The human nature of God's Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God."105 Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father.106 The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts.107
474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal.108 What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal.109
Christ's human will
112 Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate.113
477 At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus "we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see."114 The individual characteristics of Christ's body express the divine person of God's Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer "who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted".115
The heart of the Incarnate Word
120 The divine response to her question, "How can this be, since I know not man?", was given by the power of the Spirit: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you."121
123 Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."124
II. . . .BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY
489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living.128 By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age.129 Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women.130 Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established."131
The Immaculate Conception
492 The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son".136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love".137
493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God "the All-Holy" (Panagia), and celebrate her as "free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature".138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.
"Let it be done to me according to your word. . ."
496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived "by the Holy Spirit without human seed".146 The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:
You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.147
497 The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility:148 "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee.149 The Church sees here the fulfillment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son."150
154 In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it."155 And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin".156
500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary".158They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.159
502 The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.
162 From his conception, Christ's humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God "gives him the Spirit without measure."163 From "his fullness" as the head of redeemed humanity "we have all received, grace upon grace."164
168 It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ."169
513 According to circumstances catechesis will make use of all the richness of the mysteries of Jesus. Here it is enough merely to indicate some elements common to all the mysteries of Christ's life (I), in order then to sketch the principal mysteries of Jesus' hidden (II) and public (III) life.
I. CHRIST'S WHOLE LIFE IS MYSTERY
514 Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels. Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted.172 What is written in the Gospels was set down there "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name."173
Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father", and the Father can say: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"177 Because our Lord became man in order to do his Father's will, even the least characteristics of his mysteries manifest "God's love. . . among us".178
When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a "short cut" to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus.185 For this reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving communion with God to all men.186
Our communion in the mysteries of Jesus
520 In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is "the perfect man",191 who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way.192
195 He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.
200By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease."201
The Christmas mystery
The mysteries of Jesus' infancy
213 Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.214 The Epiphany shows that "the full number of the nations" now takes its "place in the family of the patriarchs", and acquires Israelitica dignitas215 (is made "worthy of the heritage of Israel").
219 Jesus' departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God's people.220
The mysteries of Jesus' hidden life
223 The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed.224
534 The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus.226Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?"227 Mary and Joseph did not understand these words, but they accepted them in faith. Mary "kept all these things in her heart" during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life.
III. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' PUBLIC LIFE
The baptism of Jesus
232 Already he is anticipating the "baptism" of his bloody death.233 Already he is coming to "fulfill all righteousness", that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father's will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.234 The Father's voice responds to the Son's acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son.235 The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to "rest on him".236 Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism "the heavens were opened"237 - the heavens that Adam's sin had closed - and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.
539 The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfills Israel's vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God's Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil's conqueror: he "binds the strong man" to take back his plunder.243 Jesus' victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.
248 He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, "on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdoms".249
The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.252
259 The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life "for the forgiveness of sins".260
548 The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him.269 To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask.270 So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God.271 But his miracles can also be occasions for "offence";272 they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.273
exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over "the ruler of this world".278 The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: "God reigned from the wood."279
"The keys of the kingdom"
281 They remain associated for ever with Christ's kingdom, for through them he directs the Church:
As my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.282
554 From the day Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Master "began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. . . and be killed, and on the third day be raised."290 Peter scorns this prediction, nor do the others understand it any better than he.291 In this context the mysterious episode of Jesus' Transfiguration takes place on a high mountain,292 before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, James and John. Jesus' face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking "of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem".293 A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"294
300 From now on we share in the Lord's Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body."301 But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God":302
Peter did not yet understand this when he wanted to remain with Christ on the mountain. It has been reserved for you, Peter, but for after death. For now, Jesus says: "Go down to toil on earth, to serve on earth, to be scorned and crucified on earth. Life goes down to be killed; Bread goes down to suffer hunger; the Way goes down to be exhausted on his journey; the Spring goes down to suffer thirst; and you refuse to suffer?"303
Jesus' ascent to Jerusalem
557 "When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem."304 By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: "It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem."305
558 Jesus recalls the martyrdom of the prophets who had been put to death in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he persists in calling Jerusalem to gather around him: "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!"306 When Jerusalem comes into view he weeps over her and expresses once again his heart's desire: "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes."307
Jesus' messianic entrance into Jerusalem
Gal 4:19). "For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him" (LG 7 § 4).
563 No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child.
564 By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work.
565 From the beginning of his public life, at his baptism, Jesus is the "Servant", wholly consecrated to the redemptive work that he will accomplish by the "baptism" of his Passion.
566 The temptation in the desert shows Jesus, the humble Messiah, who triumphs over Satan by his total adherence to the plan of salvation willed by the Father.
567 The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. "This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter.
568 Christ's Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostles' faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent on to the "high mountain" prepares for the ascent to Calvary. Christ, Head of the Church, manifests what his Body contains and radiates in the sacraments: "the hope of glory" (Col 1:27; cf.: St. Leo the Great, Sermo 51, 3: PL 54, 310C).
569 Jesus went up to Jerusalem voluntarily, knowing well that there he would die a violent death because of the opposition of sinners (cf. Heb 12:3).
570 Jesus' entry into Jerusalem manifests the coming of the kingdom that the Messiah-King, welcomed into his city by children and the humble of heart, is going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection.
171 Acts 1:1-2.
172 Cf. Jn 20:30.
173 Jn 20:31.
174 Cf. Mk 1:1; Jn 21:24.
175 Cf Lk 2:7; Mt 27: 48; Jn 20:7.
176 Col 2:9.
177 Jn 14:9; Lk 9:35; cf. Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7 ("my beloved Son").
178 1 Jn 4:9.
179 Cf. Eph 1:7; Col 1:13-14; 1 Pt 1:18-19.
180 Cf. 2 Cor 8:9.
181 Cf. Lk 2:51.
182 Cf. Jn 15:3.
183 Mt 8:17; cf. Isa 53:4.
184 Cf. Rom 4:25.
185 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 18, 1: PG 7/1, 932.
186 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 18, 7: PG 7/1, 937; cf. 2, 22, 4.
187 John Paul II, RH 11.
188 1 Cor 15:3; Rom 4:25.
189 1 Jn 2:1 Heb 7:25.
190 Heb 9:24.
191 GS 38; cf. Rom 1 5:5; Phil 2:5.
192 Cf. Jn 13:15; Lk 11:1; Mt 5:11-12.
193 GS 22 § 2.
194 St. John Eudes, LH, Week 33, Friday, OR.
195 Heb 9:15.
196 Cf. Acts 13:24; Mt 3:3.
197 Lk 1:76; cf. 7:26; Mt 11:13.
198 Jn 1 29; cf. Acts 1:22; Lk 1:41; 16:16; Jn 3:29.
199 Lk 1:17; cf. Mk 6:17-29.
200 Cf Rev 22:17.
201 Jn 3:30.
202 Cf. Lk 2:61.
203 Cf. Lk 2:8-20.
204 Kontakion of Romanos the Melodist.
205 Cf. Mt 18:3-4.
206 Jn 3 7; 1:13; 1:12; cf. Mt 23:12.
207 Cf. Gal 4:19.
208 LH, Antiphon I of Evening Prayer for Janyary 1st.
209 Cf. Lk 2:21.
210 Cf. Gal 4:4.
211 Cf. Col 2:11-13.
212 Mt 2:1; cf. LH, Epiphany, Evening Prayer II, Antiphon at the Canticle of Mary.
213 Cf Mt 2:2; Num 24:17-19; Rev 22:16.
214 Cf Jn 4 22; Mt 2:4-6.
215 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 3 in epiphania Domini 1-3, 5: PL 54, 242; LH, Epiphany, OR; Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 26, Prayer after the third reading.
216 Cf. Lk 2:22-39; Ex 13:2, 12-13.
217 Cf. Mt 2:13-18.
218 Jn 1:11.
219 Cf. Jn 15:20.
220 Cf. Mt 2:15; Hos 11:1.
221 Cf. Gal 4:4.
222 Lk 2:51-52.
223 Lk 22:42.
224 Cf. Rom 5:19.
225 Paul VI at Nazareth, 5 January 1964: LH, Feast of the Holy Family, OR.
226 Cf. Lk 2:41-52.
227 Lk 2:49 alt.
228 Cf. Lk 3:23; Acts 1:22.
229 Lk 3:3.
230 Cf. Lk 3:10-14; Mt 3:7; 21:32.
231 Mt 3:13-17.
232 Jn 1:29; cf. Isa 53:12.
233 Cf. Mk 10:38; Lk 12:50.
234 Mt 3:15; cf. 26:39.
235 Cf. Lk 3:22; Isa 42:1.
236 Jn 1:32-33; cf. Isa 11:2.
237 Mt 3:16.
238 Rom 6:4.
239 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 9: PG 36, 369.
240 St. Hilary of Poitiers, In Matth. 2, 5: PL 9, 927.
241 Cf. Mk 1:12-13.
242 Lk 4:13.
243 Cf. Ps 95:10; Mk 3:27
244 Cf Mt 16:2 1-23.
245 Heb 4:15.
246 Mk 1:14-15.
247 LG 3.
248 LG 2.
249 LG 5.
250 Jn 12:32; cf. LG 3.
251 Cf. Mt 8:11 10:5-7; 28:19.
252 LG 5; cf. Mk 4:14, 26-29; Lk 12:32.
253 Lk 4:18; cf. 7:22.
254 Mt 5:3.
255 Cf. Mt 11:25.
256 Cf. Mt 21:18; Mk 2:23-26; Jn 4:6-7; 19:28; Lk 9:58.
257 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
258 Mk 2:17; cf. 1 Tim 1:15.
259 Lk 15:7; cf. 7:11-32.
260 Mt 26:28.
261 Cf. Mk 4:33-34.
262 Cf. Mt 13:44-45; 22:1-14.
263 Cf. Mt 21:28-32.
264 Cf. Mt 13:3-9.
265 Cf. Mt 25:14-30.
266 Mt 13:11.
267 Mk 4:11; cf. Mt 13:10-15.
268 Acts 2:22; cf. Lk 7:18-23.
269 Cf. Jn 5:36; 10:25, 38.
270 Cf. Mk 5:25-34; 10:52; etc.
271 Cf. Jn 10:31-38.
272 Mt 11:6.
273 Cf. Jn 11:47-48; Mk 3:22.
274 Cf. Jn 6:5-15; Lk 19:8; Mt 11:5.
275 Cf. Lk 12 13-14; Jn 18:36.
276 Cf. Jn 8:34-36.
277 Mt 12:26, 28.
278 Jn 12:31; cf. Lk 8:26-39.
279 LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla Regis: "Regnavit a ligno Deus."
280 Cf. Mk 3:13-19.
281 Lk 9:2.
282 Lk 22:29-30.
283 Cf. Mk 3:16; 9:2; Lk 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5.
284 Mt 16:18.
285 1 Pet 2:4.
286 Cf. Lk 22:32.
287 Mt 16:19.
288 Jn 21:15-17; cf. 10:11.
289 Cf. Mt 18:18.
290 Mt 16:21.
291 Cf. Mt 16:22-23; Mt 17:23; Lk 9:45.
292 Cf. Mt 17:1-8 and parallels; 2 Pet 1:16-18.
293 Lk 9:31.
294 Lk 9:35.
295 Lk 24:26.
296 Cf. Lk 24:27.
297 Cf. Isa 42:1.
298 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2.
299 Byzantine Liturgy, Feast of the Transfiguration, Kontakion.
300 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2.
301 Phil 3:21.
302 Acts 14:22.
303 St. Augustine, Sermo 78, 6: PL 38, 492-493; cf. Lk 9:33.
304 Lk 9:51; cf. Jn 13:1.
305 Lk 13:33; cf. Mk 8:31-33; 9:31-32; 10:32-34.
306 Mt 23:37.
307 Lk 19:41-42.
308 Lk 1:32; cf. Mt 21:1-11; Jn 6:15.
309 Ps 24:7-10; Zech 9:9.
310 Cf. Jn 18:37.
311 Cf. Mt 21:15-16; cf. Ps 8:3; Lk 19:38; 2:14.
312 Cf. Ps 118:26.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
"JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DIED, AND WAS BURIED"
317 Because of certain acts of his expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners318 -- some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession.319 He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning.320
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets: I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law, until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.329
581 The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a rabbi.340 He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpretation of the Law.341 Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the Law, for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs but taught the people "as one who had authority, and not as their scribes".342 In Jesus, the same Word of God that had resounded on Mount Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the Mount of the Beatitudes.343 Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old. . . But I say to you. . ."344 With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were "making void the word of God".345
350 He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover.351 His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts.352
589 Jesus gave scandal above all when he identified his merciful conduct toward sinners with God's own attitude toward them.367 He went so far as to hint that by sharing the table of sinners he was admitting them to the messianic banquet.368 But it was most especially by forgiving sins that Jesus placed the religious authorities of Israel on the horns of a dilemma. Were they not entitled to demand in consternation, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?"369 By forgiving sins Jesus either is blaspheming as a man who made himself God's equal, or is speaking the truth and his person really does make present and reveal God's name.370
373 But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new "birth from above" under the influence of divine grace.374 Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfillment of the promises375 allows one to understand the Sanhedrin's tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer.376 The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of "ignorance" and the "hardness" of their "unbelief".377
592 Jesus did not abolish the Law of Sinai, but rather fulfilled it (cf. Mt 5:17-19) with such perfection (cf. Jn 8:46) that he revealed its ultimate meaning (cf.: Mt 5:33) and redeemed the transgressions against it (cf. Heb 9:15).
593 Jesus venerated the Temple by going up to it for the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage, and with a jealous love he loved this dwelling of God among men. The Temple prefigures his own mystery. When he announces its destruction, it is as a manifestation of his own execution and of the entry into a new age in the history of salvation, when his Body would be the definitive Temple.
594 Jesus performed acts, such as pardoning sins, that manifested him to be the Savior God himself (cf. Jn 5:16-18). Certain Jews, who did not recognize God made man (cf. Jn 1:14), saw in him only a man who made himself God (Jn 10:33), and judged him as a blasphemer.
313 Heb 9:26.
314 Lk 24:26-27,44-45.
315 Mk 8:31; Mt 20:19.
316 Cf. DV 19.
317 Cf. Mk 3:6; 14:1.
318 Cf. Mt 12:24; Mk 2:7,14-17; 3:1-6; 7:14-23.
319 Cf. Mk 3:22; Jn 8:48; 10:20.
320 Cf. Mk 2:7; Jn 5:18; Jn 7:12, 7:52; 8:59; 10:31, 33.
321 Lk 2:34.
322 Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.
323 Jn 7:48-49.
324 Cf Lk 13:31.
325 Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1.
326 Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39.
327 Cf. Mt 6:18.
328 Cf. Mk 12:28-34.
329 Mt 5:17-19.
330 Mt 5:19.
331 Cf. Jn 8:46.
332 Cf. Jn 7:19; Acts 13:38-41; 15:10.
333 Jas 2:10; cf. Gal 3:10; 5:3.
334 Cf. Rom 10:2.
335 Cf. Mt 15:31; Lk 11:39-54.
336 Cf Isa 53:11; Heb 9:15.
337 Cf. Gal 4:4.
338 Jer 31:33; Isa 42:3, 6.
339 Gal 3:13; 3:10; Heb 9:15.
340 Cf Jn 11:28; 3:2; Mt 22:23-24, 34-36.
341 Cf. Mt 12:5; 9:12; Mk 2:23-27; Lk 6:6-9; Jn 7:22-23.
342 Mt 7:28-29.
343 Cf. Mt 5:1.
344 Mt 5:33-34.
345 Mk 7:13; cf. 3:8.
346 Mk 7:18-21; cf. Gal 3:24.
347 Cf. Jn 5:36; 10:25, 37-38; 12:37.
348 Cf. Num 28 9; Mt 12:5; Mk 2:25-27; Lk 13:15-16; 14:3-4; Jn 7:22-24.
349 Lk 2:22-39.
350 Cf. Lk 2:46-49.
351 Cf. Lk 2:41.
352 Cf. Jn 2:13-14; 5:1, 14; 7:1, 10, 14; 8:2; 10:22-23.
353 Cf. Mt 21:13.
354 Jn 2:16-17; cf. Ps 69:10.
355 Cf. Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:20, 21; etc.
356 Cf. Mt 24:1-2.
357 Cf. Mt 24:3; Lk 13:35.
358 Cf Mk 14:57-58; Mt 27:39-40.
359 Cf. Mt 8:4; 16:18; 17:24-27; Lk 17:14; Jn 4:22; 18:20.
360 Cf. Jn 2:21; Mt 12:6.
361 Cf. Jn 2:18-22.
362 Jn 4:21; cf. Jn 4:23-24; Mt 27:5; Heb 9:11; Rev 21:22.
363 Cf. Lk 2:34; 20:17-18; Ps 118:22.
364 Cf. Lk 5:30; 7:36; 11:37; 14:1.
365 Lk 18:9; 5:32; cf. Jn 7:49; 9:34.
366 Cf. Jn 8:33-36; 9:40-41.
367 Cf. Mt 9:13; Hos 6:6.
368 Cf. Lk 15:1-2, 22-32.
369 Mk 2:7.
370 Cf. Jn 5:18; 10:33; 17:6, 26.
371 Cf. Mt 12:6, 30, 36, 37, 41-42.
372 Jn 8:58; 10:30.
373 Jn 10:36-38.
374 Cf. Jn 3:7; 6:44.
375 Cf. Isa 53:1.
376 Cf. Mk 3:6; Mt 26:64-66.
377 Cf. Lk 23:34; Acts 3:17-18; Mk 3:5; Rom 11:25, 20.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
"JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DIED, AND WAS BURIED"
Paragraph 2. Jesus Died Crucified
I. THE TRIAL OF JESUS
Divisions among the Jewish authorities concerning Jesus
595 Among the religious authorities of Jerusalem, not only were the Pharisee Nicodemus and the prominent Joseph of Arimathea both secret disciples of Jesus, but there was also long-standing dissension about him, so much so that St. John says of these authorities on the very eve of Christ's Passion, "many.. . believed in him", though very imperfectly.378 This is not surprising, if one recalls that on the day after Pentecost "a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith" and "some believers. . . belonged to the party of the Pharisees", to the point that St. James could tell St. Paul, "How many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; and they are all zealous for the Law."379
387 As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council:
. . . [N]either all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion. . . [T]he Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.388
All sinners were the authors of Christ's Passion
600 To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place."395 For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.396
"He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures"
403 By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God "made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."404
605 At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God's love excludes no one: "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."410 He affirms that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many"; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us.411 The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer."412
III. CHRIST OFFERED HIMSELF TO HIS FATHER FOR OUR SINS
Christ's whole life is an offering to the Father
608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the wÀrld".422 By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover.423 Christ's whole life expresses his mission: "to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."424
Jesus freely embraced the Father's redeeming love
609 By embracing in his human heart the Father's love for men, Jesus "loved them to the end", for "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."425 In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men.426 Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to stve, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."427 Hence the sovereign freedom of God's Son as he went out to his death.428
At the Last Supper Jesus anticipated the free offering of his life
612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani,434 making himself "obedient unto death". Jesus prays: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . ."435 Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.436 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the "Author of life", the "Living One".437 By accepting in his human will that the Father's will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for "he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree."438
Christ's death is the unique and definitive sacrifice
615 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous."443By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who "makes himself an offering for sin", when "he bore the sin of many", and who "shall make many to be accounted righteous", for "he shall bear their iniquities".444 Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.445
Jesus consummates his sacrifice on the cross
449 and teaches that "his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us."450 And the Church venerates his cross as she sings: "Hail, O Cross, our only hope."451
Our participation in Christ's sacrifice
462 after the fulfillment463 of man's salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe.464
Christ in the tomb in his body
625 Christ's stay in the tomb constitutes the real link between his passible state before Easter and his glorious and risen state today. The same person of the "Living One" can say, "I died, and behold I am alive for evermore":465
God [the Son] did not impede death from separating his soul from his body according to the necessary order of nature, but has reunited them to one another in the Resurrection, so that he himself might be, in his person, the meeting point for death and life, by arresting in himself the decomposition of nature produced by death and so becoming the source of reunion for the separated parts.466
470and therefore "divine power preserved Christ's body from corruption."471 Both of these statements can be said of Christ: "He was cut off out of the land of the living",472 and "My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption."473 Jesus' Resurrection "on the third day" was the sign of this, also because bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death.474
"Buried with Christ. . ."
634 "The gospel was preached even to the dead."484 The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfilment. This is the last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ's redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.
635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that "the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."485 Jesus, "the Author of life", by dying destroyed "him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage."486 Henceforth the risen Christ holds "the keys of Death and Hades", so that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth."487
Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him - He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . "I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead."488
636 By the expression "He descended into hell", the Apostles' Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil "who has the power of death" (Heb 2:14).
637 In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven's gates for the just who had gone before him.
476 Eph 4:9-10.
477 Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 18, Exsultet.
478 Acts 3:15; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:20; cf. Heb 13:20.
479 Cf. 1 Pet 3:18-19.
480 Cf. Phil 2:10; Acts 2:24; Rev 1:18; Eph 4:9; Pss 6:6; 88:11-13.
481 Cf. Ps 89:49; 1 Sam 28:19; Ezek 32:17-32; Lk 16:22-26.
482 Roman Catechism I, 6, 3.
483 Cf. Council of Rome (745): DS 587; Benedict XII, Cum dudum (1341): DS 1011; Clement VI, Super quibusdam (1351): DS 1077; Council of Toledo IV (625): DS 485; Mt 27:52-53.
484 1 Pet 4:6.
485 Jn 5:25; cf. Mt 12:40; Rom 10:7; Eph 4:9.
486 Heb 2:14-15; cf. Acts 3:15.
487 Rev 1:18; Phil 2:10.
488 Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday: PG 43, 440A, 452C; LH, Holy Saturday, OR.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
"HE DESCENDED INTO HELL. ON THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN"
Paragraph 2. On the Third Day He Rose from the Dead
494 Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter.495 The disciple "whom Jesus loved" affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered "the linen cloths lying there", "he saw and believed".496 This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.497
The appearances of the Risen One
503 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad"504) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an "idle tale".505 When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen."506
644 Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. "In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering."507 Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee "some doubted."508 Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.
The condition of Christ's risen humanity
The Resurrection as transcendent event
515 St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God's power516 through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus' dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship.
649 As for the Son, he effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power. Jesus announces that the Son of man will have to suffer much, die, and then rise.517 Elsewhere he affirms explicitly: "I lay down my life, that I may take it again. . . I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."518 "We believe that Jesus died and rose again."519
524 The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly "I AM", the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: "What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'"525 Christ's Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God's Son, and is its fulfillment in accordance with God's eternal plan.
529 The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment . In Christ, Christians "have tasted. . . the powers of the age to come"530 and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may "live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."530
656 Faith in the Resurrection has as its object an event which as historically attested to by the disciples, who really encountered the Risen One. At the same time, this event is mysteriously transcendent insofar as it is the entry of Christ's humanity into the glory of God.
657 The empty tomb and the linen cloths lying there signify in themselves that by God's power Christ's body had escaped the bonds of death and corruption. They prepared the disciples to encounter the Risen Lord.
658 Christ, "the first-born from the dead" (Col 1:18), is the principle of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our souls (cf. Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart to our bodies (cf.: Rom 8:11).
489 Acts 13:32-33.
490 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Easter.
491 1 Cor 15:3-4.
492 Cf. Acts 9:3-18.
493 Lk 24:5-6.
494 Cf. Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15.
495 Cf. Lk 24:3,12,22-23.
496 Jn 20:2, 6, 8.
497 Cf. Jn 11:44; 20:5-7.
498 Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:31,42.
499 Cf Lk 24:9-10; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:11-18.
500 Cf 1 Cor 15:5; Lk 22:31-32.
501 Lk 24:34,36.
502 1 Cor 15:4-8; cf. Acts 1:22.
503 Cf. Lk 22:31-32.
504 Lk 24:17; cf. Jn 20:19.
505 Lk 24:11; cf. Mk 16:11,13.
506 Mk 16:14.
507 Lk 24:38-41.
508 Cf. Jn 20:24-27; Mt 28:17.
509 Cf. Lk 24:30,39-40,41-43; Jn 20:20,27; 21:9,13-15.
510 Cf. Mt 28:9, 16-17; Lk 24:15,36; Jn 20:14,17,19,26; 21:4.
511 Cf. Mk 16:12; Jn 20:14-16; 21:4,7.
512 Cf. 1 Cor 15:35-50.
513 "O vere beata nox, quae sola meruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab inferis resurrexit!"
514 Acts 13:31; cf. Jn 14:22.
515 Rom 1:3-4; cf. Acts 2:24.
516 Cf. Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 13:4; Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19-22; Heb 7:16.
517 Cf. Mk 8:31; 9:9-31; 10:34.
518 Jn 10:17-18.
519 1 Thess 4:14.
520 St. Gregory of Nyssa, In Christi res. orat. 1:PG 46,617B; cf. also DS 325; 359; 369.
521 1 Cor 15:14.
522 Cf. Mt 28:6; Mk 16:7; Lk 24:6-7,26-27,44-48.
523 Cf. 1 Cor 15:3-4; cf. the Nicene Creed.
524 Jn 8:28.
525 Acts 13:32-33; cf. Ps 2:7.
526 Rom 6:4; cf. 4:25.
527 Cf. Eph 2:4-5; 1 Pet 1:3.
528 Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17.
529 1 Cor 15:20-22.
530 Heb 6:5.
531 2 Cor 5:15; cf. Col 3:1-3.