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Friday, May 30, 2014

ETERNAL LIFE





 ASCENSION – A

“Nature, in its infinitely slow process of development, obviously has a drive toward, and thirst for, constantly more highly organized life; but once having reached the level of consciousness, at which there seems to be nothing  more to strive for, the impulse turns back upon itself and becomes a drive toward death.  All that effort was in the end, not worthwhile.”   
                             (Hans Urs von Balthasar)                                                                 
With all the dark realities of life and the inconceivable inhumanity and brokenness around us, some world renowned thinkers see the present time as “world-darkening” (Martin Heidegger), a “time of abandonment” (Jacques Ellul), “eclipse of God” (Martin Buber).
Christianity offers a new way of seeing things which we call “theological hope”.  We Christians do not deny the fact that our present life is indeed far from the ideal and yet we just do not see it through the eyes of a guilty bystander or an indifferent traveller. It is a vision of realities which is deeper than optimism because it is the way God sees his creation: charged with a grand purpose yet mysteriously hidden in the eyes of the beholder.
Today as we celebrate the Ascension we do not only see it as the culmination of the earthly life of Jesus but his glorification by the Father for a “mission accomplished”.    It was the ultimate reward for his unwavering obedience to the will of the Father that cost him everything: from emptying himself when he became man in the mystery of the incarnation that led to his further emptying of self in the mystery of the cross.   We see Ascension as the exaltation of the One who went down to the abyss of death and experienced what was to be absolutely cut off from God which we call hell. From Separation to Communion!  It was the crowning moment of the One who gave up everything to the point of shedding the last drop of his blood which we call sacrifice. From Emptiness to Fullness!
  And yet we do not see it as Jesus’ retirement so he can enjoy heaven together with the angels.   It is actually a beginning of a new chapter in the history of salvation.  There is too much to be done so Jesus entrusted to his disciples the same mission he received from his Father: 
Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.  Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And he promised to remain with them always, until the end of the world…..
  This means that the incarnation of Jesus continues through his presence as the Head of Body, the Church.   Now he lives but not anymore limited by time and space because there is something that he wants us to embrace beyond the physical world and that is eternal life.  That is the ultimate and highest thing that Christian belief is supposed to be able to hope for” (von Balthasar).  And what is eternal life?  It is more than unending existence, it is sharing the divine bliss with God who is the supreme good which is beyond measure.  And this eternity starts right here, right now.

1 comment:

  1. DID THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH HAVE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

    The prevailing thought of many is that since the Bible was not canonized until sometime between 300 and 400 A.D. that the church of Christ did not have New Covenant Scriptures as their guide for faith and practice. That is simply factually incorrect.

    The Lord's church of the first 400 years did not rely on the man-made traditions of men for New Testament guidance.

    Jesus gave the terms for pardon 33 A.D. after His death and resurrecting. (Mark 16:16) All the words of Jesus were Scripture.Jesus did not have to wait for canonization of the New Testament in order for His word to be authorized.

    The terms for pardon were repeated by the apostle Peter 33 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:22-42) The teachings of the apostles were Scripture. The words of the apostles were Scripture before they were canonized.

    The apostle Peter said the apostle Paul's words were Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15-16...just as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand,which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures...

    The apostle Paul's letters and words were Scriptures when he wrote and spoke them. Paul did not have to wait for canonization to authorize his doctrine.

    John 14:25-26 'These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all that I said to you.

    The words and writings of the apostles were Scripture and they did not have to wait for canonization to be deemed authoritative. The apostle did not use man-made creed books of the church or man-made oral traditions to teach the gospel of the New Covenant.

    Did the early church have written New testament Scriptures? Yes, and they were shared among the different congregations. (Colossians 4:16 When the letter is read among you, have it read in the church of the Laodiceans and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodica.) Paul's letters were Scripture and they were read in different churches.

    They were New Testament Scriptures long before they were canonized.

    WRITTEN

    Matthew A.D. 70
    Mark A.D. 55
    Luke between A.D. 59 and 63
    John A.D. 85
    Acts A.D. 63
    Romans A.D. 57
    1 Corinthians A.D. 55
    2 Corinthians A.D. 55
    Galatians A.D. 50
    Ephesians A.D. 60
    Philippians A.D. 61
    Colossians A. D. 60
    1 Thessalonians A.D. 51
    2 Thessalonians A.D. 51 or 52
    1 Timothy A.D. 64
    2 Timothy A.D. 66
    Titus A.D. 64
    Philemon A.D. 64
    Hebrews A.D. 70
    James A.D. 50
    1 Peter A.D. 64
    2 Peter A.D. 66
    1 John A.D. 90
    2 John A.d. 90
    3 John A.D. 90
    Jude A.D. 65
    Revelation A.D. 95

    All 27 books of the New Testament were Scripture when they were written. They did not have wait until they were canonized before they became God's word to mankind.

    Jesus told the eleven disciples make disciples and teach them all that He commanded. (Matthew 28:16-19) That was A.D. 33, They were teaching New Covenant Scripture from A.D. 33 forward. The apostles did not wait to preach the gospel until canonization occurred 300 to 400 years later.

    THE WORDS OF JESUS AND THE APOSTLES WERE SCRIPTURE WHEN THEY WERE SPOKEN AND WRITTEN. THEY DID NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR CANONIZATION TO BE THE AUTHORIZED WORD OF GOD.

    MAN-MADE CREED BOOKS AND MAN-MADE ORAL TRADITION WAS AND IS NOT SCRIPTURE.

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