In God's Image...
To be made in God’s image and likeness means that we have a spiritual soul that has an intellect (we can know things), and a free will (we can choose things).
With our spiritual soul we can reflect on how we are to govern our lives in the light of God, and not be governed by our instincts. To reflect with our intellect on what it truly good for us is to activate the image of God within us in relationship to God.
Our instinct might tell us to have an-other bowl of ice cream, but our reason says, “No, that’s bad for you.” When we choose to overcome our pleasure seeking instinct by walking away we have used our free will to be more like God, who always chooses the good.
Unfortunately, we do not always follow God’s reasonable love and fall into sin. When that happens, our image and likeness of God has been soiled, especially when it is mortal sin. Every sin brings more darkness to the intellect, making it more difficult to know the goodness of God’s Ten Commandments. As well, every sin weakens our “likeness” of God, and it becomes difficult to choose the good.
On the other hand, when a person knows the good and chooses to walk away from temptation, they are strengthened, and they help strengthen those around them. For those with a living faith, even when they sin, they know how to seek forgiveness (assuredly through confession) and make reparation by coming to Mass to be strengthened by Jesus’ words, sacraments and worshipping community.
Some people might be good at avoiding the temptation of overeating, but fail in their call to follow Jesus Christ who
perfectly knows us and loves us, and so wants all of us to follow him to heaven. We read in today’s second reading, “[Jesus] waits until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has made perfect for-ever those who are being consecrated.”
Who are those “being consecrated” by Jesus’ perfect offering at the Last Supper and the Cross? We who celebrate the Mass and hear the words of Jesus who said, “Take and eat, this is my body. Do this in memory of me.” Faithfully participating in Mass consecrates us further in the true love of God until we are perfectly in heaven.
In the Gospel, Jesus talks about the final judgment and how we are to be vigilant by learning our faith and living our Catholic sacramental life honestly.
He says that there will be a great tribulation, but then the last judgment will come suddenly and that “of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Does this mean that Jesus, the Son of God, does not know when, but only the Father? Some people point to this and say that Jesus is not God, since God is all-knowing. But that contradicts our Catholic faith. Jesus is the Son of God, but he is also the Son of man and not all things have been known by him experientially.
In other words, there are different ways of knowing. Even on a human level I know that I will eventually die because I am mortal, just like my grandparents died before me. But I do not know when I will die, because they day has not arrived.
One theologian explained: “One
should note that when Mark uses the term “Son” he is not referring to Jesus as Son of God, with an emphasis on Jesus’ divine nature, but as “Son of Man,” with an emphasis on Jesus’ human nature… Thus, when Jesus refers to His own knowledge or act of knowing… this is most probably a reference to the origin of this knowledge, or Jesus’ human act of knowing through His human consciousness. In other words, Jesus is saying that “the Son” (of Man) does not “know” the day or the hour of his coming “from” His human nature (although He knew these things from his divine nature).” Fr. Regis Scanlon, Catholic Culture.
This is in line with the early Church Fathers and popes who consistently interpreted Mark 13:32 to mean that Jesus knew the day and the hour in a divine way, but chose not to reveal it to mankind through his human nature. He withheld the exact day so that we might always be vigilant knowing of its eventual arrival, as well as staying away from false prophets who say they can predict when it will happen.
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe