Sunday, September 21, 2014

15th Sunday after Pentecost and St. Matthew

Today was a liturgical two-fer in the 1962 Missal- 15th Sunday after Pentecost and the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle. Starting in 1955, the Sunday take precedence with a commemoration of St. Matthew. The Gospel for today brought to mind my last post, in light of the claims of Cardinal Kasper that Christ's raising people from the dead were "non-historical" stories.

Luke 7:11-16

And it came to pass afterwards, that he went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.

According to those who would doubt the historicity, we should understand this "spiritually." Kasper says "[t]hese non-historical stories are statements of belief in the salvific meaning of the person and message of Jesus." ( Gesù Cristo, Queriniana, 6th edition, p. 118). But how do we come to this belief? Kasper would have us think that these were just allegories passed of by the Evangelists in order to speak to simple people. One wonders how one with such an attitude would treat the sacraments?
Compare to Augustine

That her son was called again to life was the joy of that widowed mother; that souls of men are every day called to life is the joy of our Mother the Church. He was dead in body they have been dead in mind. His death was outward, and was outwardly bewailed; their inward. Death hath been neither mourned for nor seen. But He hath sought for them, Who hath seen that they are dead, and He only hath seen that they are dead, Who hath been able to make them alive. If He had not come to raise the dead, the Apostle had not said: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (44th. Sermon on the Words of the Lord)

He too takes a spiritual meaning. But he finds that spiritual meaning in the historical account, not as in opposition to its historicity. The Church teaches us that the miracles of Christ constitute credibilia, facts that prepare us to hear the Gospel. Kasper would have us cast out such. But in the end that is just to deny any of the basis that confirms the authority of the Gospels and the Divinity of Christ. His raising of the dead is indeed spiritually symbolic. Symbolic of the new life He establishes in us when we die  and rise again with Him in baptism. But it is the very real miracle He did that signifies His spiritual work. It is through those miracles, through sensible reality, that He manifested the hidden spiritual reality. If we deny the historicity and facility of the sensible realities, we end up denying that Christ communicated the spiritual as well. We deny any basis for holding such spiritual realities.

Christ indeed raised the dead from the graves, and in doing so manifested His divinity, confirmed His authority and taught us, through sensible things, of the imperceptible reality of grace. Those who oppose the spiritual to the "literal" lack a thoroughgoing sacramental world view. The traditional rooting of the spiritual upon the literal, on the other hand, recognizes that God communicates through sensible realities, in history, in the scriptures and in the sacraments. If we doubt the reality of the credibilia, how can that not lead to denying the fidem credendum.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.