CCC 201 To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”1 Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. .. To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. ‘Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength.’”2
CCC 411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the “New Adam” who, because he “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”, makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.3 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the “new Eve”. Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.4
CCC 434 Jesus’ Resurrection glorifies the name of the Savior God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the “name which is above every name”.5 The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.6
CCC 449 By attributing to Jesus the divine title “Lord”, the first confessions of the Church’s faith affirm from the beginning that the power, honor and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because “he was in the form of God”,7 and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory.8
CCC 461 Taking up St. John’s expression, “The Word became flesh”,9 the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.10
CCC 472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man”,11 and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience.12 This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”.13
CCC 602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. .. with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.”14 Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.15 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.”16
CCC 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,17 making himself “obedient unto death”. Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. ..”18 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.19 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”.20 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.”21
CCC 633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” – Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.22 Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”:23 “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.”24 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.25
CCC 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.”26 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.”27 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.”28
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.”29
CCC 705 Disfigured by sin and death, man remains “in the image of God,” in the image of the Son, but is deprived “of the glory of God,”30 of his “likeness.” The promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that “image”31 and restore it in the Father’s “likeness” by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is “the giver of life.”
CCC 713 The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.”32 These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.”33 Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.
CCC 876 Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry is its character as service. Entirely dependent on Christ who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly “slaves of Christ,”34 in the image of him who freely took “the form of a slave” for us.35 Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the slaves of all.36
CCC 908 By his obedience unto death,37 Christ communicated to his disciples the gift of royal freedom, so that they might “by the self-abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin in themselves”:38
That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself. And because he knows how to rule his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness.39
CCC 1224 Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfill all righteousness.”40 Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.41 The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his “beloved Son.”42
CCC 1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.”43 Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”44 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”45 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.46
CCC 2641 “[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.”47 Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard-of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father.48 Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this “marvelous work” of the whole economy of salvation.49
CCC 2812 Finally, in Jesus the name of the Holy God is revealed and given to us, in the flesh, as Savior, revealed by what he is, by his word, and by his sacrifice.50 This is the heart of his priestly prayer: “Holy Father. .. for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.”51 Because he “sanctifies” his own name, Jesus reveals to us the name of the Father.52 At the end of Christ’s Passover, the Father gives him the name that is above all names: “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”53
1 Dt 6:45.
2 Is 45:22-24; cf. Phil 2:10-11.
3 Cf. 1 Cor 15:21-22,45; Phil 2:8; Rom 5:19-20.
4 Cf. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573.
5 Phil 2:9-10; cf. Jn 12:28.
6 Cf. Acts 16:16-18; 19:13-16; Mk 16:17; Jn 15:16.
7 Cf. Acts 2:34 – 36; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Rev 5:13; Phil 2:6.
8 Cf. Rom 10:9; I Cor 12:3; Phil 2:9-11.
9 Jn 1:14.
10 Phil 2:5-8; cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer.
11 Lk 2:52.
12 Cf. Mk 6 38; 8 27; Jn 11:34; etc.
13 Phil 2:7.
14 I Pt 1:18-20.
15 Cf. Rom 5:12; I Cor 15:56.
16 2 Cor 5:21; cf. Phil 2:7; Rom 8:3.
17 Cf. Mt 26:42; Lk 22:20.
18 Phil 2:8; Mt 26:39; cf. Heb 5:7-8.
19 Cf. Rom 5:12; Heb 4:15.
20 Cf. Acts 3:15; Rev 1:17; Jn 1:4; 5:26.
21 1 Pt 224; cf. Mt 26:42.
22 Cf. Phil 2:10; Acts 2:24; Rev 1:18; Eph 4:9; Pss 6:6; 88:11-13.
23 Cf. Ps 89:49; I Sam 28:19; Ezek 32:17-32; Lk 16:22-26.
24 Roman Catechism 1, 6, 3.
25 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.
26 Jn 5:25; cf. Mt 12:40; Rom 10:7; Eph 4:9.
27 Heb 2:14-15; cf. Acts 3:15.
28 Rev 1:18; Phil 2:10.
29 Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday: PG 43, 440A, 452C; LH, Holy Saturday, OR.
30 Rom 3:23.
31 Cf. Jn 1:14; Phil 2:7.
32 Cf. Isa 42:1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49:1-6; cf. Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52:13-53:12.
33 Phil 2:7.
34 Cf. Rom 1:1.
35 Phil 2:7.
36 Cf. 1 Cor 9:19.
37 Cf. Phil 2:8-9.
38 LG 36.
39 St. Ambrose, Psal 118:14:30: PL 15:1476.
40 Mt 3:15.
41 Cf. Phil 2:7.
42 Mt 3:16-17.
43 Ps 51:4.
44 Gen 3:5.
45 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 14, 28: PL 41, 436.
46 Cf. Phil 2:6-9.
47 Eph 5:19; Col 3:16.
48 Cf. Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; Eph 5:14; 1 Tim 3:16; 6:15-16; 2 Tim 2:11-13.
49 Cf. Eph 1:3-14; Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:20-21; Jude 24-25.
50 Cf. Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31, Jn 8:28; 17:8; 17:17-19.
51 Jn 17:11, 19.
52 Cf. Ezek 20:39; 36:20-21; Jn 17:6.
53 Phil 2:9-11.