Thursday, April 30, 2009

"The Bread That I Will Give"

When the primitive Church and Paul can, from the fact of Jesus' Resurrection, draw the conclusion that the cross meant salvation for all ( this remained unrecognized during the event itself) - "He was given up for our sins and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:25) - truth, as a "sacred open secret" is already manifest in the gesture with which Jesus offers his flesh and blood at table as "given" and "poured out". Chronologically, the gesture of self-giving precedes the violent passion event and thus shows that his free self- surrender is also the essential reason and pre-requisite for the fact that the subsequent horrible event can acquire its meaning of universal salvation. His free self-giving wants to go "to the end" (John 13:1); and the end is that self-disposition passes over into pure letting oneself be disposed of and being disposed of. The passivity of the passion, with its fetters, scourging, crucifixion, and piercing, is the expression of a supremely active will to surrender which for the very reason transcends the limits of self-determination into the limitlessness of letting oneself be determined. On the other hand, such a will to surrender , which gives itself - in the Eucharistic gesture of self-distribution - beyond all bounds of human finitude would have to be regarded as promethean arrogance, were it not of itself the expression of a prior state of being determined and being disposed of. Paul and John perceive this clearly in portraying the complete self giving of Jesus to his own and to the world as the concretizied self-giving of the Father, who, out of love for the world he created and in fidelity to his covenant with it, gives up what is most precious to him, his Son.
Father Hans Von Balthasar

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