Do You Know Jesus? Yourself?
Friday: Ninth week of the Year: June 3, 2016
Mark 12:35-37. Year II: 2Timothy 3:10-17; Psalm 119:157-168.
In his answer to the last question he was asked, Jesus summed up the Good News of his moral teaching. Basically, it comes down to “be like God.” Love God the way God loves himself: with total, undivided love of him as All: all Being, all Goodness, all Truth, all Life. Jesus would later claim this for himself: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). And love others the way God loves them. Here again, Jesus made himself the criterion: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34).
To make oneself the criterion — of truth, of goodness, of “life to the full” (John 10:10)— is to claim to be God. To think oneself smarter or better than others in some particular way is just vanity; or a mistake in judgment. But to make oneself the criterion — thinking “I am so smart that whatever I think must be true,” or “so good that whatever I want to do must be good” — is the sin of pride. It is the worst sin of all. Unless, of course, one actually is God.
When Jesus raises the question of his identity—“How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David?... If David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?”—he is making us think: pointing us toward the real mystery of the Good News. Jesus is more than “the son of David.” Although he had not revealed it yet, he is the Son of God.
And so are we: sons and daughter of the Father in the Son. The essence of the Good News is that, by dying and rising with Christ in Baptism, we have “become Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 795). We are “new creation.” Our sins have been, not just forgiven but annihilated in the death of the “Lamb of God” who “became sin” for us, taking us into his own body to die, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Corinthians 5:17-21). Paul sums up the Good News as the mystery of God’s “plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.” Or more simply, “this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
In short, the Good News is that each of us can say with Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). That is news — even to most of us who were brought up Christians, but in the traditional but truncated teaching we received as children. And it is good news; better than we can imagine!
Jesus doesn’t explain this by the question he poses. All he does is point out that if David, in the Scripture, calls the Messiah “Lord,” how can he be just his human son? Fathers, especially if they are kings, do not call their children “Lord.” So there must be more to the Messiah than meets the eye.
There is always more to Jesus than meets the eye. No one appreciated this better than Mark, who tried to make his mystery known.
Initiative: Give God’s life: Take another look at the Good News. At Jesus. At the Church. At yourself.