CCC 58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel.1 The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek – a figure of Christ – and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job”.2 Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”.3
CCC 60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church.4 They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe.5
CCC 439 Many Jews and even certain Gentiles who shared their hope recognized in Jesus the fundamental attributes of the messianic “Son of David”, promised by God to Israel.6 Jesus accepted his rightful title of Messiah, though with some reserve because it was understood by some of his contemporaries in too human a sense, as essentially political.7
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”,8 and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience.9 This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”.10
CCC 548 The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him.11 To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask.12 So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father’s works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God.13 But his miracles can also be occasions for “offence”;14 they are not intended to satisfy people’s curiosity or desire for magic Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.15
CCC 581 The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a rabbi.16 He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpretation of the Law.17 Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the Law, for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs but taught the people “as one who had authority, and not as their scribes”.18 In Jesus, the same Word of God that had resounded on Mount Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the Mount of the Beatitudes.19 Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old. .. But I say to you. ..”20 With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were “making void the word of God”.21
CCC 596 The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus.22 The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers.23 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.”24 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.25 The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death.26
CCC 627 Christ’s death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union which the person of the Son retained with his body, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for “it was not possible for death to hold him” 27 28 and therefore “divine power preserved Christ’s body from corruption.” Both of these statements can be said of Christ: “He was cut off out of the land of the living”,29 and “My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption.”30 Jesus’ resurrection “on the third day” was the sign of this, also because bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death.31
CCC 640 “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”32 The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.33 Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter.34 The disciple “whom Jesus loved” affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there”, “he saw and believed”.35 This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb’s condition that the absence of Jesus’ body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.36
CCC 706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.37 In Abraham’s progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,38 in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”39 God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and “the promised Holy Spirit. .. [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.”40
CCC 831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:41
All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one. .. The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.42
CCC 993 The Pharisees and many of the Lord’s contemporaries hoped for the resurrection. Jesus teaches it firmly. To the Sadducees who deny it he answers, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?”43 Faith in the resurrection rests on faith in God who “is not God of the dead, but of the living.”44
CCC 994 But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: “I am the Resurrection and the life.”45 It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood.46 Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life,47 announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the “sign of Jonah,”48 the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day.49
CCC 1001 When? Definitively “at the last day,” “at the end of the world.”50 Indeed, the resurrection of the dead is closely associated with Christ’s Parousia:
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.51
CCC 2604 The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John.52 Thanksgiving precedes the event: “Father, I thank you for having heard me,” which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: “I know that you always hear me,” which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus’ prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the “treasure”; in him abides his Son’s heart; the gift is given “as well.”53
The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation.54 A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two.
CCC 2793 The baptized cannot pray to “our” Father without bringing before him all those for whom he gave his beloved Son. God’s love has no bounds, neither should our prayer.55 Praying “our” Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may “gather into one the children of God.”56 God’s care for all men and for the whole of creation has inspired all the great practitioners of prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth of love whenever we dare to say “our” Father.
1 Cf. Gen 9:16; Lk 21:24; DV 3.
2 Cf. Gen 14:18; Heb 7:3; Ezek 14:14.
3 Jn 11:52.
4 Cf. Rom 11:28; Jn 11:52; 10:16.
5 Cf. Rom 11:17-18,24.
6 Cf Mt 2:2; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9.15.
7 Cf. Jn 4:25-26; 6:15; 11:27; Mt 22:41-46; Lk 24:21.
8 Lk 2:52.
9 Cf. Mk 6 38; 8 27; Jn 11:34; etc.
10 Phil 2:7.
11 cf. Jn 5:36; 10:25, 38.
12 Cf. Mk 5:25-34; 10:52; etc.
13 Cf. Jn 10:31-38.
14 Mt 11:6.
15 Cf. Jn 11:47-48; Mk 3:22.
16 Cf Jn 11:28; 3:2; Mt 22:23-24, 34-36.
17 Cf. Mt 12:5; 9:12; Mk 2:23-27; Lk 6:6-g; Jn 7:22-23.
18 Mt 7:28-29.
19 Cf. Mt 5:1.
20 Mt 5:33-34.
21 Mk 7:13; cf. 3:8.
22 cf. Jn 9:16; 10:19.
23 Cf Jn 9:22.
24 Jn 11:48-50.
25 Cf. Mt 26:66; Jn 18:31; Lk 23:2, 19.
26 Cf. Jn 19:12, 15, 21.
27 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 51, 3.
28 Acts 2:24.
29 Is 53:8.
30 Acts 2:26-27; cf. Ps 16:9-10.
31 Cf. I Cor 15:4; Lk 24:46; Mt 12:40; Jon 2:1; Hos 6:2; cf. Jn 11:39.
32 Lk 24:5-6.
33 Cf. Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15.
34 Cf. Lk 24:3, 12, 22-23.
35 Jn 20:2, 6, 8.
36 Cf. Jn 11:44; 20:5-7.
37 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.
38 Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.
39 Cf. In 11:52.
40 Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.
41 Cf. Mt 28:19.
42 LG 13 §§ 1-2; cf. Jn 11:52.
43 Mk 12:24; cf. Jn 11:24; Acts 23:6.
44 Mk 12:27.
45 Jn 11:25.
46 Cf. Jn 5:24-25; 6:40,54.
47 Cf. Mk 5:21-42; Lk 7:11-17; Jn 11.
48 Mt 12:39.
49 Cf. Mk 10:34; Jn 2:19-22.
50 Jn 6: 39-40,44,54; 11:24; LG 48 § 3.
51 1 Thess 4:16.
52 Cf. Jn 11:41-42.
53 Mt 6:21, 33.
54 Cf. Jn 17.
55 Cf. NA 5.
56 Jn 11:52.