CCC 438 Jesus’ messianic consecration reveals his divine mission, “for the name ‘Christ’ implies ‘he who anointed’, ‘he who was anointed’ and ‘the very anointing with which he was anointed’. The one who anointed is the Father, the one who was anointed is the Son, and he was anointed with the Spirit who is the anointing.’”1 His eternal messianic consecration was revealed during the time of his earthly life at the moment of his baptism by John, when “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power”, “that he might be revealed to Israel”2 as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest him as “the Holy One of God”.3
CCC 591 Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father’s works which he accomplished.4 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.5 Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfillment of the promises6 allows one to understand the Sanhedrin’s tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer.7 The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of “ignorance” and the “hardness” of their “unbelief”.8
CCC 597 The historical complexity of Jesus’ trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts. The personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles’ calls to conversion after Pentecost.9 Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept “the ignorance” of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders.10 Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd’s cry: “His blood be on us and on our children!”, a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence.11 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.12
CCC 599 Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: “This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.”13 This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were merely passive players in a scenario written in advance by God.14
CCC 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.”15 For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.16
CCC 601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.17 Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”18 In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant.19 Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.20 After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.21
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,22 making himself “obedient unto death”. Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. ..”23 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.24 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”.25 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.”26
CCC 626 Since the “Author of life” who was killed27 is the same “living one [who has] risen”,28 the divine person of the Son of God necessarily continued to possess his human soul and body, separated from each other by death:
By the fact that at Christ’s death his soul was separated from his flesh, his one person is not itself divided into two persons; for the human body and soul of Christ have existed in the same way from the beginning of his earthly existence, in the divine person of the Word; and in death, although separated from each other, both remained with one and the same person of the Word.29
CCC 632 The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection.30 This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.31
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.”32 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.”33 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.”34
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.”35
CCC 674 The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus.36 St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.”37 St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”38 The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles”,39 will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all”.40
CCC 1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed:
The Church. .. will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.41
CCC 2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.”42 The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.43
1 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3,18,3: PG 7/1, 934.
2 Acts 10:38; Jn 1:31.
3 Mk 1:24; Jn 6:69; Acts 3:14.
4 Jn 10:36-38.
5 Cf. Jn 3:7; 6:44.
6 Cf. Is 53:1.
7 Cf. Mk 3:6; Mt 26:64-66.
8 Cf. Lk 23 34; Acts 3: 17-18; Mk 3:5; Rom 11:25, 20.
9 Cf. Mk 15:11; Acts 2:23, 36; 3:13-14; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:27-28; I Th 2:14-15.
10 Cf. Lk 23:34; Acts 3:17.
11 Mt 27:25; cf. Acts 5:28; 18:6.
12 NA 4.
13 Acts 2:23.
14 Cf. Acts 3:13.
15 Acts 4:27-28; cf. Ps 2:1-2.
16 Cf. Mt 26:54; Jn 18:36; 19:11; Acts 3:17-18.
17 Is 53:11; cf. 53:12; Jn 8 34-36; Acts 3:14.
18 1 Cor 15:3; cf. also Acts 3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23.
19 Cf. Is 53:7-8 and Acts 8:32-35.
20 Cf. Mt 20:28.
21 Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45.
22 Cf. Mt 26:42; Lk 22:20.
23 Phil 2:8; Mt 26:39; cf. Heb 5:7-8.
24 Cf. Rom 5:12; Heb 4:15.
25 Cf. Acts 3:15; Rev 1:17; Jn 1:4; 5:26.
26 1 Pt 224; cf. Mt 26:42.
27 Acts 3:15.
28 Lk 24:5-6.
29 St. John Damascene, De fide orth. 3, 27: PG 94, 1097.
30 Acts 3:15; Rom 8:11; I Cor 15:20; cf. Heb 13:20.
31 Cf. I Pt 3:18-19.
32 Jn 5:25; cf. Mt 12:40; Rom 10:7; Eph 4:9.
33 Heb 2:14-15; cf. Acts 3:15.
34 Rev 1:18; Phil 2:10.
35 Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday: PG 43, 440A, 452C; LH, Holy Saturday, OR.
36 Rom I 1:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39.
37 Acts 3:19-21.
38 Rom 11:15.
39 Rom 11:12, 25; cf. Lk 21:24.
40 Eph 4:13; I Cor 15:28.
41 LG 48; Cf. Acts 3:21; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; 2 Pet 3:10-13.
42 Cf. Ex 3:14; 33: 19-23; Mt 1:21.
43 Rom 10:13; Acts 2:21; 3:15-16; Gal 2:20.