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GOD LOVES EVERYONE
By Fred Bert Ithurburn
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2012 Fred Bert Ithurburn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Good News According to God
Six centuries before the life of Jesus, God designated "a prophet to the nations" while still in his mother's womb, and this prophet (Jeremiah) later handed on the prophecy of God's New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34) as follows:
Behold the days shall come saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord for all shall know me from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.
These things God accomplishes in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to show us that the New Covenant is of God's design and awakens us with a figure of that new and eternal or everlasting covenant, to realize Jesus Christ ratified and fulfills God's unilateral deal, in that fuller revelation, which is given through Jesus the Nazorean. God solely institutes and performs this New Covenant of the Old Testament in the New Testament, that is to say, in Jesus's Blood (cf. 1 Cor 11:23-26) calling together all people created, making them one, not in the flesh but in the spirit of God. The People of God are all God's human creatures and are all saved solely by God in Christ, and from God's goodness even though unbeknownst to many, all people are beneficiaries and are saved for everlasting life. (The Gospel before the Gospel.)
Thus, hours before the sacrificial death of Jesus bleeding to death on the cross of his crucifixion, Jesus refers to this New Covenant and incorporates it by reference in his death and voices words of God, which he likely was instructed to say, at the paschal meal shared with his followers. Jesus after consuming the bread at supper, in a similar way, takes a cup of wine, gives thanks to God, his Father, and gives it to us, saying words, such as, the following:
"All of you must drink from it, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." (Mt 26:27-28); or, "This is my blood, the blood of the covenant to be poured out on behalf of many ..." (Mk 14:24); or, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." (Lk 22:20) (emphasis mine to New Covenant references).
Immediately after these words at supper, Jesus "walks the talk" to the death he foretells in context of fulfilling God's performance of the New Covenant's terms and promises "for you," meaning every created individual.
The words of the Last Supper, writes Pope Benedict XVI, are words that are "interdependent" with Jesus's death as without their meaning his death is a mere execution. "Interdependent" with his death are also the words instituting the Eucharist (thanksgiving to God) with memorial meals Jesus institutes to repeat and distribute Eucharist until the end of time and remission of all sin. By this action the "Sacrifice of the Cross" is continuously made present. Each meal is to be subject to the basic form of the passover but focused on the cross to remember Jesus's loving deed and give thanks and praise to God in remembrance of the love shown by God in Jesus. Jesus voluntarily sacrifices his life to baptize, in blood, every human being in God's fullness of forgiveness and salvation for our free passover to God's presence. Jesus fulfills also God's New and Eternal Covenant constantly in his Sacrifice of the Cross at Mass. The paschal mystery on Christ's death and resurrection seem foolish to us, but not to God's way of creation. The mystery of Christ's loving deed performing God's promises for our salvation is made present for us, for our redemption and transformation in faith and life at calvary and daily Masses memorialized worldwide, by God's Spirit of love for all humankind. Expressly the Eucharist is open to all humanity, unconditionally, as God wills it to be for us from the beginning of creation; thus, to have God actually and intimately within ourselves nourishing us and renewing us. Our faith is nourished, hope increased, and charity strengthened thereby. God's imperfect human creations are always being perfected in Spirit as Jesus constantly redeems them to be People of God. Conformance of Jesus's words at supper and Jesus's order for all to take is repeated at every one of these suppers of the Lord to allow God often to be within us. Also, we hear from the risen Christ in heaven these same words of the Last Supper and that the Eucharistic gifts are to be handed to all Jews and Gentiles. Saint Paul was the first to name the Sacrament and report in writing the words of the Eucharist (1 Cor 11:25), referring to God's New Covenant, in part, as follows:
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, whenever you drink it in remembrance of me." (Emphasis mine.)
In consequence of the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, repeated as God from heaven, all people on earth, created by God and baptized in the Blood of the New Covenant, are made "worthy" as beneficiaries of the New Covenant. We all should often take and consume Jesus's body and blood, especially if we sin often, for God's Real Presence to be in our "bowels," to thank God, to nourish our lives and faith, and to be transformed by God to love each other. God does not take dominion of us and make us take or love but leaves us freedom to choose. Jesus, however, ordered "you" all to take and eat, take and drink, of his flesh and blood.
We Jews, Moslems, and Christians are our father Abraham's children of the Book. When Jerusalem was destroyed, Jeremiah remained to utter the great oracle of the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34) also known as "The Gospel before the Gospel," a landmark of our book. Jeremiah, like Jesus, was likely killed for disturbing his countrymen. During the exile, the Old Testament was published so that Jews, Moslems, and Christians had access to understand that Jesus of Nazareth referred to the New Covenant in context of his sacrifice in the New Testament, as Son of God and Son of Man, to save us all for everlasting life with God.
The qualities of the New and Eternal Covenant, unlike other covenants made as a common theme by the prophets, are imprinted in the hearts of all people to never be broken. The knowledge of God's law of loving each other, too, will be generally known in the life of all people that we will no longer need the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran. We have this prophecy, which is fulfilled only through the Blood of the Lamb sacrificed on the Cross (cf. Lk 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25) imprinting in our consciences God's law. We no longer need teaching; but men's traditions intervened and negated evidence of God's Covenant.
Jesus, our Lord God, wants us all to proclaim his work and thank his Father, especially at Eucharist. He wants each of us, on our own, to "take this, all of you," referring to the Eucharist, in hopes, that by considering God's love in Jesus's sacrificial love for us, we will reciprocate to love others. Focusing on Jesus within the following events: his scriptural life, journey to Jerusalem, Last Supper, Gethsemani, scourging, way of the cross, crucifixion, death, and resurrection, each of us may open our heart spontaneously and reciprocate by some loving response to God, Jesus, and others simply for the fact that Jesus and God love us that much. Actually, I am not competent to teach love as I have no greater competence than any of you. I love myself, but I suspect loving neighbors impartially, as God really wants us to do, takes God's assist to do and teach competently.
Saint Ambrose, later bishop of Milan, often received Eucharist. He, too, was an attorney who appreciated God's unilateral Covenant. Ambrose (d. 397) gave us the Latin Mass, which lasted several centuries, until Vatican II. He wrote it in Latin in order to have a common language to share Eucharist. It read in pertinent part:
Accipite, et bibite ex eo omnes. HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANCUINIS MEI, MOVI ET ÆTERBU TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEL: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM H quotiescmque fecéritis, in mei memriam faciétis.
Which words are translated with my emphasis as follows:
Take ye all, and drink of this:
For this is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal covenant: The mystery of faith, Which shall be shed For you and for many Unto the forgivness of sins As often as you shall do these things, in Memory of Me shall you do them.
The Mass in Latin remained intact from about AD 400 until the Second Vatican Council changed it to the vernacular. Ambrose seems to use his expertise in law to correct Scripture's Christology by emphasis of the New and Eternal Covenant, the New Testament, instituted in Christ's blood (Jer 31:31-34, cf. 1 Cor 11:25). Ambrose interchanged "testament" for "covenant," perhaps because both are unilateral agreements to a lawyer. In English my Holy Name Manual Missal (1941) translated it to "covenant" which may have been more meaningful to the authors. Any lawyer appreciates God's New Covenant is a unilateral agreement, similar to a last will or testament, which gives things to beneficiaries freely and unconditionally. Pope Benedict's recent changes use Ambrose's Chalice (Calix) but not, Jesus's Cup, for some reason that escapes me. The mystery of Christ's death and resurrection is expressly celebrated at every Mass, presumably using Christ's loving terms, but Pope Benedict prefers traditional words. By Jesus's action the sacrifice of the cross is made present as is God's real presence at Eucharist, regardless of form in the vernacular. Its spirit, not form, is essentially the same as what Jesus said; but with the compliments of Pope Benedict XVI, I furnish with emphasis our newest version's pertinent part referring to the New Covenant:
"TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT, FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT, WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS."
Ambrose also gave Mariology decisive direction in the west, but her closer relationship with us is mostly due to Luke. Luke, the most trustworthy gospel reporter, in my opinion, interviewed Mary a score of years after Jesus's death, and the Greek found her, even though presumably a biased mother, to be a good witness. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, reported all the things she experienced about the early life of Jesus, and at Luke's interview, she handed on to him the recollections she treasured. And he, accepting her sentimental reporting, wrote what she said to him in narrative form precisely as those events were transmitted. Luke carefully traced the whole sequence of events from the beginning and set it in writing, that we may see how reliable the information was that he received. And I submit, to show the trustworthiness of Luke's writings.
The Virgin Mary received the announcement of the birth of Jesus as follows: in the sixth month of her cousin, Elizabeth's pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth to the virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Upon arriving, the angel said to her: "Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women." She was deeply troubled by his words and wondered what his greeting meant. The angel went on to say to her: "Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity and he will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be since I do not know man?" The angel answered her. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence the holy offspring to be born will be called Son of God. Know that Elizabeth, your kinswoman, has conceived a son in her old age; she who was thought to be sterile is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible with God." Mary said, "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say." With that, the angel left her.
Thereupon, Mary set out proceeding in haste into the hill country to a town of Judah where she entered Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: "Blest are you among women and blest is the fruit of your womb. But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby leapt in my womb for joy. Blest is she who trusted that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled." Then Mary said, "My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior. For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed. God who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty, from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy. Even as he promised our fathers, promised Abraham and his descendants forever." Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.
About six months later, Jesus was born as follows: In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a census of the whole world. This first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone went to register, each to his own town. And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to David's town of Bethlehem—because he was of the house and lineage of David—to register with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child. While they were there, the days of her confinement were completed. She gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the place where traveler's lodged. There were shepherds in that region living in the field and keeping night watch by turns over their flocks. The angel of the Lord appeared to them as the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were very much afraid. The angel said to them: "You have nothing to fear I come to proclaim good news to you—tidings of great joy to be shared by the whole people. This day in David's city a savior has been born to you, the Messiah and Lord. Let this be a sign to you, in a manger you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes." Suddenly, there was with the angels a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests."
Excerpted from GOD LOVES EVERYONE by Fred Bert Ithurburn Copyright © 2012 by Fred Bert Ithurburn. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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