Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jesus and the Falling and Rising of Many in Israel

Luke 2:22-40

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”),
24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law,
28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.
34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed
35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Redemption is through Jesus Christ, not Science

Galileo vs. Pope Benedict XVI or university minority suspends free speech

In the pope’s wonderfully written encyclical on hope Spe-salvi

16…In order to find an answer to this we must take a look at the foundations of the modern age. These appear with particular clarity in the thought of Francis Bacon. That a new era emerged—through the discovery of America and the new technical achievements that had made this development possible—is undeniable. But what is the basis of this new era? It is the new correlation of experiment and method that enables man to arrive at an interpretation of nature in conformity with its laws and thus finally to achieve “the triumph of art over nature” (victoria cursus artis super naturam)[14]. The novelty—according to Bacon’s vision—lies in a new correlation between science and praxis. This is also given a theological application: the new correlation between science and praxis would mean that the dominion over creation —given to man by God and lost through original sin—would be reestablished[15].17. Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay “redemption”. Now, this “redemption”, the restoration of the lost “Paradise” is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level—that of purely private and other-worldly affairs—and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the world. This programmatic vision has determined the trajectory of modern times and it also shapes the present-day crisis of faith which is essentially a crisis of Christian hope. Thus hope too, in Bacon, acquires a new form. Now it is called: faith in progress. For Bacon, it is clear that the recent spate of discoveries and inventions is just the beginning; through the interplay of science and praxis, totally new discoveries will follow, a totally new world will emerge, the kingdom of man[16]. He even put forward a vision of foreseeable inventions—including the aeroplane and the submarine. As the ideology of progress developed further, joy at visible advances in human potential remained a continuing confirmation of faith in progress as such.

18. At the same time, two categories become increasingly central to the idea of progress: reason and freedom. Progress is primarily associated with the growing dominion of reason, and this reason is obviously considered to be a force of good and a force for good. Progress is the overcoming of all forms of dependency—it is progress towards perfect freedom. Likewise freedom is seen purely as a promise, in which man becomes more and more fully himself. In both concepts—freedom and reason—there is a political aspect. The kingdom of reason, in fact, is expected as the new condition of the human race once it has attained total freedom. The political conditions of such a kingdom of reason and freedom, however, appear at first sight somewhat ill defined. Reason and freedom seem to guarantee by themselves, by virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new and perfect human community. The two key concepts of “reason” and “freedom”, however, were tacitly interpreted as being in conflict with the shackles of faith and of the Church as well as those of the political structures of the period. Both concepts therefore contain a revolutionary potential of enormous explosive force.

This I believe is the pope point which the university doesn’t seem to grasp. Science will never achieve redemption. Most scientist would be repelled to think that society has placed them on such a path, but the secular world and in particular the political sphere has handed that task to it. The pope simply desires to lift that burden from it’s shoulder which it is incapable of lifting. Christ is the only one who has redeemed mankind and the fruit of that task will not be fully realized until the end of time. ...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jesus: "fairest of the people"

Psalm 45-A (44-A)

My heart overflows with noble words. To the king I must speak the song I have made, my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.
You are the fairest of the people on earth and graciousness is poured upon your lips, because God has blest you for evermore.
O mighty one, gird your sword upon your thigh; in splendor and state, ride on in triumph for the cause of truth and goodness and right.
Take aim with your bow in your dread right hand. Your arrows are sharp, peoples fall beneath you. The foes of the king fall down and lose heart.
Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever. A scepter of justice is the scepter of your kingdom, Your love is for justice, your hatred for evil.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed youwith the oil of gladness above other kings; your robes are fragrant with aloes and myrrh.
From the ivory palace you are greeted with music. The daughters of kings are among your loved ones. On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen