The Descent of Man
At Eden, Man, through his own distrust of God and selfishness, fell into Sin. Tainted by the inborn selfishness of Original Sin, Man has struggled, plagued by Satan and Sin, reaping the harvest of pain and suffering. Since then, Man has hoped and prayed for salvation to lift him from the depths of sin and isolation from God. (more…)
The Descent of the Prodigal Son
“Prodigal” comes from the Latin word, prodigus, meaning “wasteful.” Adam, immature and ungrateful, greedily sought a greater inheritance from the Father, eating of the fruit of the “knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 3). Fallen, afraid and ashamed, Adam wasted his inheritance of the peace and joy in the Garden for a lie by Satan. Disinherited by the Original Sin of Adam, Man became a race of prodigals, wandering alone in the world, alienated from God and at war with each other, tormented by Satan.
The Plague of Post-Modern Prodigals
Despite God the Father’s consistent call across the ages, legions of Prodigal Sons wander in post-modern despair. Post-Modern Man, full of self-conceit and rebellion, rejects the Father and fatherhood. Men, in growing numbers, prefer the effeminate comfort of perpetual adolescence, many ironically living in their father’s basements wasting their lives in trivial pursuits. Today’s Prodigals, many sired out of wedlock and abandoned by their “fathers”, reject or postpone the call to marriage, preferring promiscuity under the cover of contraception, abortion, pornography and self-indulgence. But the wastrel life has consequences: depression, suicide, addictions of all sorts and male loneliness are at epidemic levels. Post-modern Man is a spiritual bastard, intoxicated in Sin and utopian dreams, blindly living in a perpetually wasted state. Post-modern men are pathetic Prodigals.
The Call of the Son of God to the Prodigals
Jesus Christ is irrefutably identified as the only begotten Son of God. Jesus:
- Is embraced as the Father’s Son – “The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God wills to prepare for it over centuries” (CCC 522) to battle the Devil (CCC 394) and save Man. God the Father sends the Son (CCC 422; Gal 4:4-5). In His Own Voice, the Father calls Jesus His Son at the Baptism (Matt 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) and the Transfiguration (Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35) allowing numerous witnesses to hear. The Father is “well-pleased” with the Son (Matt 3:15) and instructs Man to “listen to Him” (Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35).
- Claims to be the Son of God – Even at the age of 12, Jesus goes to His Father’s house and says, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). Jesus clearly proclaims that He is the Son (Matt 11:27; Mark 14:61-62; John 5:25, 10:36) who has been sent from Heaven (John 3:31). Jesus has a personal intimacy with the Father, calling Him “Abba”, meaning daddy or papa (Mark 14:36), speaking directly to the Father (John 12:49). He speaks of God as “My” and not “our”, claiming a special personal relationship (Matt 6:9; John 20:17) and hidden, exclusive knowledge (Matt 11:25-27; Luke 10:21-22). Jesus confesses before His enemies that He is the Son of God (Mark 16:61-62). After the Resurrection, Jesus says He is ascending to the Father at the Ascension (John 20:17).
- Is proclaimed to be the Son of God – At the Annunciation, Gabriel proclaims to Mary that Jesus is the Son of God through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:32-35). Many proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God: the Devil (Matt 4:1-11); Nathaniel (John 1:49); Peter (Matt 16:15-16); John (John 20:31); Paul (Rom 1:3; CCC 242); the Centurion who crucified Him (Matt 27:54) and even demons (Luke 4:41). The Church has always proclaimed that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (CCC 1; 441-445), a Divine Person (CCC 262).
Jesus Christ demonstrates perfection as the Son of the Father. Jesus:
- Demonstrates Divine Sonship in miracles – Jesus radiates Divine Power (Luke 6:19; 8:44), has dominion over nature (Matt 8:26, 17:2, 27:51; Mark 5:1-11, 6:48), heals all kinds of illnesses (Matt 9:27-31; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 9:37-42), raises the dead (Luke 8:40-56; John 11:44). He transfigures Himself (Matt 17:2),is resurrected (Mark 16:6) with supernatural powers (Luke 24:16; John 20:26) including the ability to ascend to Heaven (Mark 16:19).
- Is the Obedient Son – In the Incarnation, Jesus accepts the Father’s mission of Redeemer (Gal 4:4-5). All Christ does is for the Father, embracing the Father’s commands (John 14:31) and doing the Father’s will (John 6:38, 8:29), even unto death (Phil 2:8) out of love for Man (Eph 5:2). Even dying on the Cross, Jesus remains obedient to the Father (Luke 23:34, 46).
- Emphasizes the importance of the father-son relationship – God reveals His plan for the family, by the Incarnation of His own Son to Mother Mary and Father Joseph. Referred to as the Son of God in the NT 147 times, Jesus reinforces the importance of the father-son relationship in parables: Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-11) Two Sons (Matt 21:28-32).
Jesus Christ calls all Men to become adopted sons of God. Jesus:
- Is given to Man out of love by the Father – The only begotten Son is given to Man (John 3:16) in a sign of sacrificial Love (Rom 5:8; 1 John 3:16; CCC 219) in which the Father allows the Son to taste death (Heb 2:9; CCC 624). The Father instructs Man to “listen to Him” (Matt 17:5), fulfilling a promise to send a Messiah to teach Man (Deut 18:15).
- Must be believed to be the Son of God – Only Jesus is the mediator with the Father (CCC 480) who, in Glorified Flesh, sits at the right hand of the Father (CCC 663). Only Jesus has seen the Father (John 1:18) and only Jesus can reveal the Father (CCC 151): Jesus Christ is the “one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In Him, He has said everything; there will be no other word than this one” (CCC 65; Heb 1:1-2); only Jesus is the divinely reliable Truth (John 14:6). Christians must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8:37; 1 John 2:23) and invite Jesus into one’s life by invoking His Sacred Name (John 16:23; Phil 2:10; Rom 10:13; Acts 2:21, 3:16). Rejecting the Son of God leads to spiritual darkness, death and disinheritance (CCC 679). Without Jesus, all men remain Prodigals.
- Gives Man the ability to be adopted Sons of God – Jesus teaches the stunning Truth that Man, rather than remaining perpetual Prodigals, can become adopted Sons of the God of the Most High through Baptism (Gal 4:5; CCC 2798) and call God “Abba” (Rom 8:15, 29). For those who embrace the Cross, Jesus Christ gives Himself personally, living in each (Gal 2:20; CCC 521) and promises the inheritance of Heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4). In Christ, Prodigals can finally return to God’s home.
- Sends Man to Evangelize the whole world in His Name – Like the Father sent the Son, the Son sends Man to evangelize the world (John 20:21-23) by emphasizing the paramount nature of Fatherhood and Sonship (Matt 28:19-20). Man must evangelize in the Name of Jesus for Jesus to stand for Man in Heaven (Matt 10:32).
- Endows the Church with the Sacraments – As the Son of God, Jesus has the unique ability to forgive Sins (CCC 1441; Mark 2:5,10; Luke 7:48) that He gives to the Church (John 20:23). In the age of the Holy Spirit, Christ endows the Church with the Sacraments (CCC 1076).
Scientism, Selfishness and Death
Modern Man worships Scientism. Scientism is an idolatrous belief that only that which can be scientifically measured can be trusted. Scientism rejects the Divine and reduces Man to molecules. Rejecting the Divine, Man becomes obsessively Selfish, pursuing rampant materialism and living to feed the passions. Embracing selfishness, Man lives a walking Death, empty, with broken relationships, isolation, addiction, emotional turmoil, ill health and the loss of hope of Heaven.
Jesus Christ reveals the Mystery, Love and Life of the Trinity
In contrast to false knowledge of Scientism, Jesus reveals the Mystery of the Trinity. (more…)
The Fall of the Sons of Man
God created Man in His image and likeness, giving Man dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:27). The first man Adam (Hebrew for “man”) disobeyed God and fell into Original Sin (Gen 3). Cast out from Eden, Adam became a father of Cain, and then, Abel. Abel, a shepherd, pleased God with an offering from his flock, while Cain’s offering “from the ground” did not please God. Fallen and disfigured by Original Sin, Cain, the very first son of man (Adam), killed his brother Abel (Gen 4). Like the first Man Adam, the first son Cain displeases and rebels against God. Fallen in Original Sin, all generations of sons struggle in persistent sin.
The Loss of Sonship and Manhood
By turning away from God the Father and Jesus the Son, Post-modern Man has lost the meaning of being a son and being a man. Postmodern sons, many raised without fathers, fail to learn “sonship”: respect for elders, obedience, loyalty, humility, discipline and how to be fathers. Many of today’s men avoid fatherhood (contraception, abortion) or reject the responsibilities of being a father (siring children out of wedlock, abandoning or neglecting their children and the mothers of their children). Postmodern sons are failing in manhood: the rejection of chivalry and disrespect of women, indulgence of compulsive desires (food, drink, pornography), equating manhood to the siring of many children out of wedlock, the strutting of hyper-masculinity, the sloth of perennial adolescence, or embracing dependency or the effeminate. The failed post-modern culture cannot be salvaged without a return to virtuous sonship and manhood.
Jesus Christ – The Son of Man
Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, demonstrates perfection of sonship and manhood. Jesus:
- Draws on Old Testament references to the “Son of Man” – The phrase “son of man” appears over 100 times in the Old Testament, most often as a human being or mortal man (Num 23:19; Job 25:6; Psalm 8:4; Sir 17:30) or to describe individual men including Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:1, 3) and Daniel (Daniel 8:17). The “son of man” is used to describe a supernatural man: Daniel has a vision of the “Ancient of Days” (God) who welcomes a glorious figure “like the Son of Man” into God’s heavenly presence. The Son of Man is hailed as worthy and God condemns the rulers of the earth, giving everlasting dominion to the Son of Man to defeat God’s enemies and rule over all nations (Dan 7).
- Calls Himself the “Son of Man” – The “Son of Man” is the most frequent title for Jesus Christ in the New Testament: it is found over 73 times in the Gospels (60 times in the Synopics/13 times in John), in Acts (7:56) and Revelation (1:13; 14:14); St. Paul does not use the title “Son of Man” for Jesus. Jesus is the only one in the Gospels who uses the title “Son of Man” and He exclusively applies it to Himself. Jesus prefers the title “Son of Man”: several occasions when He is identified as the “Christ” (Mark 8:29–30, 14:61–62, 13:21–22), Jesus responds by speaking of what the “Son of Man” will do.
- Occasionally uses the “Son of Man” to describe His humanness – Jesus uses the title “Son of Man” to show He possessed a human body (John 6:53) and has the capacity for human activities like resting (Matthew 8:20), eating and drinking (Luke 7:34), suffering (Mark 8:31), and that His body will be placed in the grave (Matthew 12:40).
- Predominately uses the “Son of Man” to assert His Divine Mission – Jesus had encyclopedic knowledge of the Old Testament (He wrote it after all) and clearly means to reveal that He is the Divine “Son of Man”, predicted in Daniel (Dan 7). Jesus:
- Teaches that He is the Divine Son of Man – Jesus echoes Daniel’s description of the “Son of Man”, referring to Himself (Matthew 19:28, 24:30, 25:31) as the one who will be raised up by the Father to sit on a royal throne at the right hand of the Father (Psalm 110:1) and come on the clouds of Heaven (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62). He emphasizes His preexistence of the Son of Man (John 3:13) and is attended by angels (John 1:51). In Him, people must put their faith (John 9:35). While Christ’s assertion of Divinity is clear in Greek, In the Aramaic language, the expression “Son of Man” (ben-adam) had come to mean simply “man” (bar-ethas), allowing Jesus to veil messianic significance in his prophetic preaching..
- Asserts His authority and power as the Son of Man – As the Son of Man, Jesus claims the authority of God the Father (John 8:28). He asserts the ability and authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:10), teach (Matthew 13:37), heal (John 9:35), suspend the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), judge men for their deeds (John 5:27) and even grant life (John 6: 27). The Angel Gabriel, in the Annunciation to Mary says, “He shall reign forever… And His kingdom shall have no end” (Luke 1:33), referring back to Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man (Daniel 7:18–27) and the eternal nature of the dominion of Christ.
- Proclaims His Divine mission of Salvation – The Son of Man’s mission is to save the lost (Luke 19:10) and He serves to give His life for many (Matthew 20:28, 26:2, 26:24, 26:45; Mark 8:31, 9:12, 10:45, 14:21, 14:41; Luke 9:22, 22:22, 22:48, 24:7).
- Uses His role as Son of Man in prophecy – Jesus reveals that the Son of Man will be betrayed, arrested, be condemned by elders and chief priests, be killed and rise again after 3 days (Mark 8:31, 9:9, 9:12, 9:31, 10:33, 10:45, 14:21) and will return (Luke 17:22, 18:8, 21:36).
- Refers to the Son of Man to warn of the coming Judgment – Jesus offers a somber warning for those who are not prepared for the future coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:27, 24:37, 24:39, 24:44). He warns that He will judge all people (John 5:27) and those who reject the Son of Man will be rejected at the Judgment (Mark 8:38; Matthew 16:27).
- Emphasizes the Son of Man in the Eucharist – Jesus asserts the life-saving nature of eating the flesh of the Son of Man (Bread of Life – John 6:27, 53; Last Supper: Matt 26:17-30).
- Strengthens disciples in the face of persecution – He prepares the disciples that they will suffer for the Son of Man (Luke 6:22).
- The Church affirms that Jesus Christ rules as the Son of Man – Today, Jesus rules over all the world through His Church (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:56; Rev 14:14–16; CCC 440, 661).
Is the Perfect Son and Perfect Man – Jesus is the Perfect Son (CCC 536, 564) and the Perfect Man (CCC 381, 482); all men are called to imitate Him (CCC 1694).
When Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22).
Question: Did Jesus grow in Grace as a result of His Baptism? (more…)
Father Robert Barron offers the astounding Truth about Jesus Christ – Jesus claims to be God. This is the startling claim that each person must ultimately comes to gripes with: Are you with Jesus or against Him?