Dear Teachers, Parents, and students at JMCHS:
From the moment God revealed himself visibly and definitively through the person Jesus, people have wondered about this mystery called the “Incarnation”, the mystery of God became flesh in human history. The contemporaries of Jesus were amazed at the gracious words that came from His mouth, the mighty deeds He did, and the contrast of his humble background as the son of a carpenter, the son of Mary. In the early days of the Church people began studying about the person of Jesus Christ, his origin and nature. Even in our own time, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI published three books on “Jesus of Nazareth” to share with us his fruits of contemplation on the “Face of Jesus” that stems from his years of pursuit in studying and meditating on the person Jesus of Nazareth. Like Benedict XVI, those who are committed to search for the face of Jesus in the light of faith come to realize that their living relationship with the Lord Jesus is being enriched, deepened, and overflowed into the lives of others.
Beginning this Advent season, as an aid to your on-going faith formation, I would like to share with you some snapshots of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas (i.e. The Summa Theologiae): Through the Seasons with St. Thomas Aquinas’ Christology. In this theological weekly column, I would like to focus our study and meditation on Christ during the special liturgical seasons throughout the academic year 2019-2020. For instance, beginning with this Advent season we will meditate upon the mystery of the Incarnation the Word of God; during Christmas, the Birth of Jesus; for Lent, his Passion and Death; and in Easter Season, his Resurrection. I hope these special studies on Christology, which is derived from the rich fruits of contemplation of the Angelic Doctor, will deepen the foundation of our faith, increase our fervor in prayer life, and enrich our on-going living relationship with the Lord so that we might become more mature Catholic Christian believers and joyful witnesses for God in the world.
Sincerely in Christ the King,
Fr. Francis-Hung Le, O.P. Chaplain
Meditating through the Seasons with St. Thomas Aquinas
A Christological Study according to St. Thomas
Fr. Francis Q. Hung Le, O.P.
Whether Christ ought to have suffered on the Cross?
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, there are many fitting reasons why Christ suffered on the Cross.
First of all, Christ wanted to remind us that when we live a virtuous life we should not fear of anything, not even of the worst kind of death such as crucifixion.
Second, through the tree of the cross, Christ, the New Adam, compensated mankind for the sin of the Old Adam who had plucked the fruit from the forbidden tree. To accomplish this, Christ, himself the fruit of life, wished to be nailed to the tree of the cross in order to substitute himself for what the Old Adam had stolen.
Third, having sanctified the land where he had walked during his life of ministry for 33 years, Christ wanted also to make holy the surrounding air by being elevated upon the tree of the cross. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Christ has diffused throughout the atmosphere of our planet earth the droplets of his saving breath, droplets that provides us with new life and peace in the Holy Spirit: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit”. (Jn 20:19-23).
Fourth, being raised upon the cross, Christ prepared for us a ladder to heaven, as he once said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (Jn. 12:32). While the COVID social distancing suggests people to keep 6 feet apart from one another for safeguard oneself from being infected with the virulent virus during this pandemic crisis, the cross of Christ draws us closer to him and one another so to recognize his ultimate love for us, to be saved by him, and to behold our Blessed Mother, like St. John did below the cross: “Behold, your mother”. (Jn 19:25-27).
Fifth, being nailed to the center of the cross whose arms extend to all four parts of the world, the death of Christ signifies the universal benefit for all people of the world.
Sixth, the wood of the cross is the culmination of many biblical figures appeared in the Old Testament through which God came to save us. For example, it was throughthe ark of Noah made of wood that God saved mankind from the flood. By the wooden staff of Moses, God divided the Red Sea and liberated his chose people from Pharaoh. Following God’s command, Moses threw the wood into the river to remove the bitterness from water. Through the outstretched arms of Moses with the staff in hand, God brought about a victory for the Israelites over the Amalek, foretelling Christ’s victory over evil with his outstretched arms on the wooden cross. All of these figures converged toward the wooden cross of Christ in which we find life and resurrection.
(Ref. Summa Theologica, Part III, Q.46, Art. 6)