Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Reason Behind The Matthaean Usage Of 'Kingdom Of Heaven" Over "Kingdom of God"

Joseph Ratzinger gives us the reason behind Matthew's usage of "Kingdom of Heaven" in his Gospel, which makes perfect sense considering that Matthew is a Jew who wrote his Gospel in Hebrew to a Jewish audience:

“Matthew speaks of the ‘Kingdom of heaven’ where Mark and Luke have ‘Kingdom of God’. The meaning is the same in each case. Behind the Matthaean usage lies the Jewish linguistic rule of not using the Name of God, nor even the conceptual denomination ‘God,’ out of reverence for the greatness of this word. One spoke of him only by circumlocution. ‘Heaven,’ then, is simply a periphrasis for ‘God.’ This is an important point, because it shows that Matthew is not concerned, any more than are Mark and Luke, with something which is primarily in the world beyond. What is at stake is not the beyond, but God, in his personal activity. This observation gains in force if we add that in Jewish usage, the term basileia, normally translated ‘kingdom,’ does not signify a sphere of governance, but an active reality like our words ‘reign’ or ‘command.’ Thus the phrase ‘the Kingdom of God ’ points to God’s rule, his living power over the world. Following Joachim Jeremias, the affirmation that ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand’ can be paraphrased “God is close.’ First and foremost Jesus is speaking not of a heavenly reality but of something God is doing and will do in the future here on earth.”

-Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) in Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life

Eucharistic Eschatology

"The Eucharist is at once the joyful proclamation of the Lord's presence and a supplication to the already present Lord that he may come, since, paradoxically, even as the One who is present he remains the One who is to come."

-Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) in Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What God Says, Happens.

“If the Word of God is living and active and if whatever the Lord willed he made; if God said Let there be light, and there was light, and Let there be a firmament, and it was so; if by the Word of the Lord the heavens were established, and all their power by the breath of his mouth; if the heaven and earth, water, fire and air and all the order of them, as well as man who is the most famous of living creatures, were accomplished by the Word of the Lord; and if God the Word himself willed to become man and assumed flesh from the pure and spotless blood of the holy and ever-virgin Mary, without human seed: can he not make the bread his body and the wine and water his blood? He said in the beginning: Let the earth put forth vegetation, and even till now, thanks to the rain, it continues to put forth its produce, impelled and empowered by the divine command. God said: This is my body and This is my blood and do this is memory of me ,and by virtue of his own all-powerful command, it is so until he come (for Paul says: until he come); and rain falls upon this new culture through the epiclesis, the over-shadowing power of the Holy Spirit. For as whatever God made He made by the energy of the Holy Spirit, so now it is the energy of the Spirit which performs the things that are supernatural which cannot be discerned except by faith.”

-St. John Damascene

Thursday, March 19, 2009