Encounter

"The Lord keeps faith forever" (Psalm 146).

Todays's short gospel seems to reflect some the of theological questions being argued in the generation of early Christians with their Jewish protagonists. According to the scriptures, the messiah, God's anointed one, was to be a descendant of King David. Yet this Christ figure, as identified with Jesus, is proclaimed as Lord. How can he be both Lord and a descendant of David? 

The Gospel writers were keen to show that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies regarding the messiah. We see this in Matthew and Luke's infancy narratives, which establish that Jesus is born in Bethlehem, the city of David, and is of the house of David through Joseph. But it is also evident from what then happens to Jesus that he was much more than a human descendant of David. His resurrection reveals him in glory as the Lord of history. Mark's gospel begins with the assertion that Jesus is the Son of God. 

The members of the early church are confronted by an event that shatters their entire sense of reality. Their leader, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph, a carpenter from Galilee, is put to death by the Romans at the instigation of their own high priest and Sanhedrin. He was vilified and rejected as a false messiah, a dangerous heretic whose popular following and provocative attack on the Temple at Passover threatened the establishment. 

But after his death, he is again alive and with them, both as restored to life and transformed by a new kind of life. The end of history is revealed in the middle of history, and his disciples experience Jesus as Lord, as the culmination and redemption of humanity. By his death Jesus has healed the great wound of sin that had separated creation from its Creator, humanity from its destiny, now redeemed by divine love that rescued him and rescues all of us from death. 
Jesus as human reaches back to claim David and all the patriarchs, the entire people of the covenant, the human race itself, and as Lord carries everyone forward through death to new life.  

For them and for us, theology gives way to an encounter in faith that goes beyond our concepts and our desire to control the mystery. Pray for this encounter, to know the risen Christ, Jesus as Lord, This is the goal of faith, why we belong to faith communities that witness the truth of his presence and power among us. Receive Jesus in the Eucharist, seek his face in prayer as a conversation that begins with your first conscious moment each morning and ends with your last breath at night.  This is our path to life, more life here and now, and abundant life forever.