Category Archives: Christ the King

Jesus and Jacob’s Joseph – Similarities?

Several weeks ago, while I was on yet another Rosary walk and praying the Joyful Mysteries, I had an inspiration.  This occurred as I was getting ready to meditate on the 5th mystery (Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple).  I’m finally writing it now because when I get an inspiration, I must write it.

In my mind I was prompted to think, “What happened to Jesus?  Why was he lost and his parents had no idea where he was?”

Here is St. Luke’s account of what happened:

188012-mary-and-joseph-find-jesus-learning_smWhen the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. [Luke 2:43-47 NRSVCE]

The Navarre Commentaries on the subject states that when the Jews would travel to and from the Temple for the Feast of Passover, the men and women of Nazareth would travel in two different groups and the children were allowed to travel in either group.  So, it is likely that there was a miscommunication between Mary and Joseph on whether Jesus would travel with her or with him.

The inspiration was that Jesus, because he was such a good and virtuous child and because the “legend” was likely known, or at least rumored, that he was born the “king of the Jews” and “Son of God, was not well-liked by his cousins who were jealous, and that one of Jesus’s cousins deceived Mary and Joseph into thinking that Jesus would go with him, instead of Mary or Joseph, on the trip back to Nazareth – either with the men or the women, but then deceived Jesus into thinking that Mary or Joseph wanted him to wait at the Temple for them to pick him up.  After neither of them came, he stayed at the Temple, where he was found 3 days later by his astonished parents.    [Now, what made this so believable was the memory of Jacob’s son Joseph, whose story is told in Genesis 37 – 47, whose 11 brothers tried to kill him because he was so good and favored.  But I will take that up later.]

This theory becomes evident here:

When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”  He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them. [Luke 2:48-50 NRSVCE]

His parents had no idea that he would be at the Temple, and Jesus thought that they knew he would be at the Temple because of his cousin’s mischievous lie.

On the way home, Jesus said nothing about the cousin’s mischief.  Jesus decided, in virtue, to keep the matter between him and his cousin, to see if Jesus could impress upon him why what his cousin did to him was wrong.  Jesus showed him what he had done – what might have happened and what would still happen similar to the story of Joseph son of Israel [Genesis 37-47].  Then Jesus, in his great love and mercy, forgave his cousin who was sorry.

Now, not stated in Sacred Scripture is the realization that this event was a symbol for what would happen in the future – that Jesus would be deceived by one, be killed, but then be resurrected a true King and Savior in 3 days.

As I stated early, if it can happen to Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel), then it could happen to Jesus for many of the same reasons, too.  For, as it is written of Jacob’s Joseph:

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words…So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. [Genesis 37:5-8, 11]

Further, his brothers tried to kill Joseph and mislead his parents, too:

joseph-in-pitSo Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits…[Genesis 37:17-20 NRSVCE]

Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They had the long robe with sleeves[c] taken to their father, and they said, “This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.” He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. [Genesis 37:31-34 NRSVCE]

Joseph then is sold into slavery, rises to power as governor over the lands of Egypt, and is discovered there years later by his brothers who had tried to kill him.  Joseph, knowing who they are, does this:

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. [Genesis 45: 1-5, NRSVCE]

Joseph, realizing what God had done to and for him and why, accepted God’s will and forgave his brothers.  Jesus, knowing his Father’s will and plan, also forgave his cousin for his mischief.

The story of Jacob’s Joseph made it clear to me what had happened to Jesus, how and why he had been lost for 3 days.  He was not well-liked as a child – he had the heavy burden of being not only virtuous and favored in every way, but having already the title of “king of the Jews” and “Son of God” as a child.  This was a hard burden on him – waiting until his mother, Mary was prompted to set in motion his mission and ministry at the Wedding at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”

 

Scriptural Authority of Mary, Mother of Jesus

When praying the Mysteries of Light (aka, Luminous Mysteries) last week on my Rosary walk, I had this “eureka” event where a truth suddenly became as a light in my mind.  I love it when these inspirations happen. It’s no wonder that it would happen while praying the Mysteries of Light!

Luminous-MysteriesThe Mysteries of Light include meditations on five historical and mysterious revelations found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These are:

  1. Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River;
  2. Christ’s self-manifestation at the wedding feast of Cana;
  3. Christ’s call to conversion via his proclamation of the kingdom of God;
  4. Christ’s Transfiguration; and
  5. Christ’s institution of the Eucharist as sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

Now, when I was praying, I realized a strong connection between the words of Mother Mary at the wedding feast of Cana (Mystery 2.) and the words of God the Father at the Transfiguration (Mystery 4.)  At the wedding feast of Cana, where Jesus performs the miracle of turning water into 180 gallons of good wine – at his Mother Mary’s prompting, Mary tells the wait staff, “Do whatever he tells you.”  [John 2:5]  She states this with an authority which is understated here, yet fully effective.

the-transfiguration-of-jesus

Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

Likewise, at the Transfiguration, an epiphany where the divinity of Jesus is made evident to the Apostles Peter, James and John, God the Father tells the apostles,  “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” [Matthew 17:5]  Of course, God the Father is gently speaking with authority here.

So, we see here a type of shared authority and will which Mother Mary has with God the Father in regard to their Son, Jesus Christ.  With authority and will, they both direct all to follow the commands and counsels of Jesus Christ.  Do you see?

Yet many, especially in Protestant Christian circles, and even believing in Sola Scriptura, tend to down play Mary’s role in the kingdom of God.  Some say that the Holy Spirit purposefully kept her quiet.  Okay.  But, God the Father does not speak much either.  Yet both command authority over our Lord, Jesus Christ, and both  – knowing who Christ is and the power and mission he has – knowledgeably direct our attention to Jesus Christ, and this is certainly scriptural.

It is no wonder that, in her great wisdom and understanding and in light of anti-Catholic resistance, that the Church also formally proclaimed the Queenship of Mary in the encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam.  Even Sacred Scripture refers to Mother Mary as a queen:

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. [Revelation, 12:1].

Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

Mother Mary’s Coronation, Queen of Heaven

Mary, Our Chief Cosmologist

St. Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her joyful greeting, called Mary the mother of my Lord [Luke 1:43] and St. Gregory Nazianzus called Mary “the Mother of the King of the universe,” and the “Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world” [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #11]  Ven. Pius XII sums up the corpus of theological writings and traditions when he states, The theologians of the Church, deriving their teaching from these and almost innumerable other testimonies handed down long ago, have called the most Blessed Virgin the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all [Ven. Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginum #22].

coronationofmary_velasquez_cropped

Coronation of Mary, by Velazquez

Now here’s my experience.  I was out on a Rosary walk on Sunday, and while praying the Glorious Mysteries, and upon meditating on the 5th mystery, Coronation of Mary, I realized something immediately, and I chuckled because of all of the heartache surrounding cosmology in the Church during the 16th and 17th centuries:  Mary really is and has been the Queen of the Universe for nearly 2000 years now!  Because Mary is Queen of the Universe, then the Earth from which she and our Lord King of the Universe first appeared, must actually be at the center of the Universe, and all of the controversy surrounding Copernicus and Galileo must be just an unfortunate mishap!

Recall that Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Ptolemy (100-170 AD)  had their theory that the Earth is at the center of the Universe; this position was well-validated by the Book of Joshua which implied that Sun and Moon move in the sky around the Earth according to how God commanded:

‘Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ai′jalon.’ And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. [Joshua 10:12-13, RSVCE]

 

aristotelian-ptolemaic-universe

Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Theory of the Universe (Earth is center, circa 150 AD)

Copernicus then published his helio-centric theory in 1543 which placed the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the Universe.

copernican_heliocentrism_diagram-2

Copernican Heliocentric Theory of the Universe [Sun is center; circa 1543 AD]

Galileo then picked up that theory, and began to teach and write about it in the early 17th Century.  In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition to answer for his conduct and writings, having inadvertently embarrassed Pope Urban VIII, and being severely reprimanded and censured as a result.

galileo_facing_the_roman_inquisition

Galileo at Roman Inquisition, circa 1633

Note, however, that Galileo, who embraced the Copernican helio-centric theory, was never officially branded as a heretic by the Church.  Essentially, there was just a nasty misunderstanding.

So, all of this time, we should have known that Mother Mary is the Chief Cosmologist of the Church.  We needed only look to her, and to her title as Queen of the Universe, since her son is King of the Universe, to know where planet Earth truly stands in all of the Universe – in the center where God, the King of the Universe is ever-present to us, with her, the Queen of the Universe.

our-location-in-the-universe

Where the Center of the Universe is Presently Present to Us

 

 

 

 

Seeing Christ the King:  The Holy Mass in my Mind

  It is a beautiful sight to see, in my mind, The Lord, Jesus Christ walking in parallel with His priest toward the Ambo during the singing of the Alleluia, but being much larger in stature than the priest and adorned in white cloth instead of green, with golden filigree and embroidery, with a crown, walking confidently, and with a slight smile as He contemplates the love He will serve in His Word.  

Likewise, it is beautiful to see the Lord, Jesus Christ coming forward in the clouds when the Sanctus is sung.  At the Epiclesis, He breathes, “Receive My Spirit – receive Me.”  In Holy Communion, there He Is to give Himself for you – smiling affectionately, “I AM truly happy that you are here.”
These images have come to me over the last several weeks during several Sunday Masses.  I am happy now to share them.  

Let us actively  engage our  hearts, minds, souls and strength at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  

Christ the King, (Russian Orthodox icon)