Catechism Section for Passiontide

Allow me to recommend a few paragraphs of the Catechism. Part One, Section Two, Chapter Two. Paragraph 1 on Article 4 of the Creed. (#’s 574-594)

These paragraphs shed light on the final conflict between Lord Jesus and the Jewish authority that condemned Him. The Catechism offers reflections on what the Lord Jesus had to say about the Law, the Temple, and the one, true God.

Catechism-of-the-Catholic-CHurchThe Christ came to fulfill the Law—because the human race, the whole race and every individual, had not done so. The Christ revered the Jerusalem Temple and participated faithfully in the Temple feasts. But He knew it would be destroyed, because the true Temple is His Body. Above all, as the Catechism puts it: “Jesus gave scandal to the Pharisees when he identified his merciful conduct towards sinners with God’s own attitude toward them.”

Jesus identified Himself as God, the God Who can forgive sins. Thus, the Christ confronted the Jewish leaders with a very stark either/or. Again, quoting the Catechism: “By forgiving sins, Jesus either is blaspheming as a man, or is the person who truly does make present and reveal God’s name.”

The Sanhedrin had to confront that choice in all its utter starkness. Either condemn Him to death, or undergo a total conversion, which would require death to self and a new birth from above.

Confronted with such a choice, they convicted Him of blasphemy and condemned Him to death, as the Law required. The starkness of the choice they faced—again quoting the Catechism—“allows one to understand the Sanhedrin’s tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that He deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer.” They acted out of both ignorance and hard-hearted unbelief.

Let’s search our own consciences for the same emptinesses—and let’s let Christ fill them with His grace.

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