Thursday, March 18, 2010

In Jesus, heaven and earth are wed forever (Wednesday, 4th Week of Lent, John 5:17-30)

Jesus answered the Jews:
“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life".

* * * * * * * *

Jesus speaks of the very intimate relationship between himself and his Father. He cannot do anything on his own, he says. The Father is always there for and with him, just as he is there for and with us. This new kind of relationship with God is something unheard of before Jesus. This makes the protests of the Jews understandable. God was so removed, so holy, so remote, so different from us that to think of someone who can be called “God’s Son” is simply unacceptable. It really was blasphemy for them, who would not even pronounce God’s name lest they disrespect his holiness.

But Jesus brings God down to us and shows us a face of God that had never been seen before, a face that human beings scarcely imagined could describe their powerful and almighty God. Jesus brought God closer to humankind and humankind closer to God. After Jesus, no one could say ever again that God lives somewhere so far removed from the needs, concerns, worries, fears, joys, and triumphs of creation. In Jesus heaven and earth are wed and we finally gain access to God who has become our Father.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)