CCC 575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”,1 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”,2 than for the ordinary People of God.3 To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting;4 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.5 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead,6 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer),7 the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.8
CCC 588 Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves.9 Against those among them “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others”, Jesus affirmed: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”10 He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.11
CCC 595 Among the religious authorities of Jerusalem, not only were the Pharisee Nicodemus and the prominent Joseph of Arimathea both secret disciples of Jesus, but there was also long-standing dissension about him, so much so that St. John says of these authorities on the very eve of Christ’s Passion, “many. .. believed in him”, though very imperfectly.12 This is not surprising, if one recalls that on the day after Pentecost “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” and “some believers. .. belonged to the party of the Pharisees”, to the point that St. James could tell St. Paul, “How many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; and they are all zealous for the Law.”13
CCC 596 The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus.14 The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers.15 To those who feared that “everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation”, the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”16 The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition.17 The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death.18
CCC 1151 Signs taken up by Christ. In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.19 He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures.20 He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover,21 for he himself is the meaning of all these signs.
CCC 1504 Often Jesus asks the sick to believe.22 He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands,23 mud and washing.24 The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from him and healed them all.”25 And so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us.
CCC 2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day.26 He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”27 With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.28 The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.29 “The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”30
CCC 2827 “If any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”31 Such is the power of the Church’s prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God32 and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:
It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” to mean: “in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself”; or “in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father.”33
1 Lk 2:34.
2 Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.
3 Jn 7:48-49.
4 Cf Lk 13:31.
5 Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1.
6 Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39.
7 Cf. Mt 6:18.
8 Cf. Mk 12:28-34.
9 Cf. Lk 5:30; 7:36; 11:37; 14:1.
10 Lk 18:9; 5:32; cf. Jn 7:49; 9:34.
11 Cf. Jn 8:33-36; 9:40-41.
12 Jn 12:42; cf. 7:50; 9:16-17; 10:19-21; 19:38-39.
13 Acts 6:7; 15:5; 21:20.
14 cf. Jn 9:16; 10:19.
15 Cf Jn 9:22.
16 Jn 11:48-50.
17 Cf. Mt 26:66; Jn 18:31; Lk 23:2, 19.
18 Cf. Jn 19:12, 15, 21.
19 Cf. Lk 8:10.
20 Cf. Jn 9:6; Mk 7:33ff.; 8:22ff.
21 Cf. Lk 9:31; 22:7-20.
22 Cf. Mk 5:34, 36; 9:23.
23 Cf. Mk 7:32-36; 8:22-25.
24 Cf. Jn 9:6-7.
25 Lk 6:19; cf. Mk 1:41; 3:10; 6:56.
26 Cf. Mk 1:21; Jn 9:16.
27 Mk 2:27.
28 Cf. Mk 3:4.
29 Cf. Mt 12:5; Jn 7:23.
30 Mk 2:28.
31 Jn 9:31; Cf. 1 Jn 5:14.
32 Cf. Lk 1:38, 49.
33 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. 2, 6, 24: PL 34, 1279.