卷一信仰的宣認-基督生平的奧跡/THE MYSTERIES OF CHRIST'S LIFE

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第三節 基督生平的奧跡

512. 關於基督的生平,信經只談及降生奧跡(降孕及誕生)和逾越奧越奧跡 (受難、被釘、死亡、埋葬、下降陰府、復活及升天)。對耶穌的隱居生活和公開生活的奧跡,則並未明確地提及,然而有關耶穌降生和逾越的信仰條文,能夠闡明基督的整個塵世生活。「論及耶穌所行所教的一切,直到祂……被接去的那一天」(宗 1:1-2),我們都該在降生和逾越奧跡的光照下去觀看。

513. 教理講授可按情況而發揮耶穌奧跡的所有豐富內涵,這裡只指出基督生平各項奧跡的某些共同因素 (一),以勾畫耶穌的隱居生活 (二)和公開生活 (三 )的主要奧跡。

一、基督的整個生平是奧跡

514. 許多有關耶穌的事,可引起人們好奇的,沒有記載在福音中。對於祂在納匝肋的生活,幾乎隻字不提;就連祂的公開生活,也有一大部分沒有敘述。那些記載在福音中的,是「為叫你們信耶穌是默西亞,天主子;並使你們信的人,賴祂的名獲得生命」(若 20:31)。

515. 福音是由一些最先信奉耶穌的人所寫的,他們願意與別人分享他們的信仰。由於藉信仰認識了耶穌是誰,在祂的整個塵世生命中,他們能察覺並使人察覺祂奧跡的痕 跡。從祂誕生時用的襁褓,直到祂受難時飲的酸醋,以及復活時留下的殮布,在耶穌的生平中都是祂奧跡的標記。透過祂的舉止、祂的奇跡、祂的言語,顯示了「在 祂內,真實地住有整個圓滿的天主性」(哥 2:9)。這樣,祂的人性顯示出是「聖事」,即是祂天主性和祂所帶來之救恩的標記和工具;在祂塵世生活中可見的事,都引人察覺祂那天主子的身分和祂救贖使 命的不可見的奧跡。

耶穌奧跡的共同點

516. 耶穌的一生都在啟示天父:祂的言語和行動、祂的緘默和痛苦以及祂的生活和談話的方式。耶穌可以說:「誰看見了我,就是看見 了父」(若 14:9),而聖父也可以說:「這是我的兒子,我所簡選的,你們要聽從祂!」(路 9:35)。由於我們的主降生成人,為承行父的旨意,祂奧跡的最小痕跡也給我們顯示「天主對我們的愛」(若一 4:9)。

517. 耶穌的一生都是救贖的奧跡。救贖主要是十字架上流血的成果,但這奧跡是在基督整個的生命內運作:祂降生時成了窮人,藉此使 我們因祂的貧困而成為富有的;祂在隱居生活中,以服從賠補我們的悖逆;祂用祂的話淨化祂的聽眾;祂藉著治病和驅魔,「承受了我們的脆弱,擔荷了我們的疾 病」(瑪 8:17);祂以復活使我們成義。

518.耶穌的一生都是「將萬有總歸於祂身上」的奧跡。耶穌所言、所行、所受的一切痛苦,其目的都在於使墮落的人類恢復其原始的召叫:

聖依勒內•里昂,《駁斥異端》:當基督降生成人後,祂把人類的悠久歷史總歸於自己身上,並為我們開闢了達到救恩的捷徑。這樣,我們在耶穌基督身上, 將重新獲得我們在亞當身上所失去的,即是成為天主的肖象與模樣。也正因此,基督才經過了生命的各階段,藉此恢復眾人與天主的共融。

我們與耶穌奧跡的共融

519. 基督的整個豐饒「是為每個人的,並成為每個人的財富」基督並非為自己,而是為我們活了祂的一生:從祂「為了我們人類,並為 了我們得救」的降生,直到「為了我們的罪」(格前 15:3)的死亡,及「為了使我們成義」(羅 4:25)的復活。即使現在,祂也是「我們在父那裡的護慰者」(若一 2:1),「因為祂常活著,為我們轉求」(希 7:25)。祂藉著一次而永遠地為我們所做所受的一切痛苦,常「在天主面前,為我們轉求」(希 9:24)。

520. 耶穌在祂的一生中,顯示出祂是我們的模範:祂是「完美的人」,邀請我們成為祂的門徒而追隨祂;祂藉祂的謙卑,給了我們一個可效法的榜樣;藉祂的祈禱,吸引我們祈禱;藉祂的貧窮,叫我們自願地接受貧乏和迫害。

521. 基督所生活過的一切,祂要我們能在祂內活出來,而祂也要在我們內將之活出來。「天主子藉著降生成人,在某種程度上與每個人結合」。我們奉召與祂形成一體;祂為了我們並為作我們的模範,把祂在肉身上所生活過的一切,傳授給我們,因為我們是祂的肢體:

聖若望•毆德,《論耶穌的王國》:我們應在我們身上延續,並完成基督生活的各個階段和種種奧跡,也該時常祈求祂,使祂的奧跡在我們身上,也在祂整個 教會中得以圓滿完成……因為天主聖子願意我們分享祂的奧跡,使祂的奧跡在我們身上,以及在祂整個教會裡擴展和延續,祂這樣做,是藉祂願意施予的恩寵,和藉 著祂利用這些奧跡在我們身上發揮的效應。這就是祂願意在我們身上完成這些奧跡的途徑。

二、耶穌童年和隱居生活的奧跡

預備期

522. 天主子來到世上是如此重要的事,以致天主願意用很多世紀作準備。祂把「先前盟約」(希 9:15)的儀式、犧牲、形象和象徵,都集中在基督身上;又藉在以色列不斷出現的先知,加以宣布;此外,也在外邦人的心中激發對祂來臨的隱約期待。

523. 洗者聖若翰是主的直接前驅,被派來給祂準備道路。他是「至高者的先知」(路 1:76),是眾先知中最大的,也是最後的一個;他揭開了福音的序幕;他在母親的胎中,便已接納基督的來臨。他成為「新郎的朋友」(若 3:29)而覺得非常高興,並指出基督是「除免世罪的……天主羔羊」(若 1:29)。他以「厄里亞的精神和能力」(路 1:17)走在耶穌前面,他以宣講及使人悔改的洗禮,最後藉殉道為祂作了見証。

524. 教會每年在舉行將臨期禮儀時,就在實現對默西亞的這種期待:藉著參與對救主第一次來臨的長期準備,激發信徒們對祂第二次來臨的熱切願望。教會藉著慶祝前驅的誕生和殉道,認同他的願望:「祂應該興盛,我卻應該衰微」(若 3:30)。

聖誕的奧跡

525. 耶穌生於貧苦的家庭、在一個卑陋的馬槽中誕生;純樸的牧人們就是這事的首批見証人。在這樣的貧窮環境中顯示了上天的光榮。教會不斷地歌頌那一夜的光榮:

拜占廷禮,歌者羅馬諾斯的禮儀詩歌:
今天貞女給世界帶來永恆,大地給至高者獻出馬槽。
天使歡唱,牧童頌揚,星光前導,賢士來朝。
祢為了我們而誕生,永恆的天主,小小的聖嬰!

526. 在天主前「變成像嬰孩那樣」,乃是進入天國的條件;因此我們必須自謙,變成小孩;而且,還須「由上而生」(若 3:7),即由天主而生,好「成為天主的子女」(若 1:12)。當基督在我們內「形成」時,聖誕的奧跡就在我們內完成了。聖誕就是這種「奇妙交換」的奧跡:

《時辰頌禱禮》,聖誕八日慶期晚禱對經:多麼令人嘆賞的交換!人類的創造者取了有靈的肉軀,甘願生於童貞女,不由人道而出生,將自己的天主性賜給了我們。
耶穌童年的奧跡

527. 耶穌於誕生後第八天所受的割損禮,乃表明祂隸屬亞巴郎的後裔、隸屬盟約的子民、服從法律並有參與以色列敬禮的資格,這些敬禮,祂以後一生都會參與。這個割損標記乃是「基督受割損」,即洗禮的預象。

528. 主顯節顯示耶穌是以色列的默西亞、天主子,以及世界的救主。此慶節將耶穌在約旦河受洗和加納婚宴,連同東方「賢士」來朝拜 耶穌的事件一起慶祝。在這些代表四周其他民族的「賢士」身上,福音看到了那些因聖言降生成人而接受了救恩喜訊的國家的初果。賢士們到耶路撒冷來朝拜猶太人 的君王,顯示出他們在達味之星的默西亞之光照下,到以色列來尋找將要成為萬國之君的那一位。他們的來臨是在表明,除非轉向猶太人並接受他們記載在舊約中有 關默西亞的許諾,他們將不能認識耶穌,並朝拜祂為天主之子和世界的救主。主顯節顯示「天下萬民都進入古聖祖們之家」並獲得以色列人的尊榮

529. 獻耶穌於聖殿,顯示祂是屬於上主的首生子。西默盎和亞納代表整個以色列人的期待,前來與他們的救主相遇 (拜占廷的傳統如此稱呼這事件)。耶穌被認為是期待已久的默西亞、「異邦的光明」和「以色列的榮耀」,但也是「反對的記號」。向瑪利亞預告的痛苦利劍,宣 布了另一種祭獻,完美而獨一的,即十字架的祭獻;這祭獻將給予「天主在萬民之前早準備好的」救恩。

530. 逃往埃及和無罪嬰孩遭屠殺,顯示黑暗向光明作出反抗:「祂來到了自己的領域,自己的人卻沒有接受祂」(若 1:11)。基督的一生帶著受迫害的記號。祂自己的人將與祂分擔這個命運祂從埃及回來使人想起出谷事件,並表明耶穌是決定性的解救者。

耶穌隱居生活的奧跡

531. 在耶穌的大半生中,祂都體驗極大多數人所處的生活環境:過著平凡日子,毫不顯赫,從事手工,履行猶太的宗教生活,服從上主的法律,在團體中過活。關於這整 段時期,只給我們啟示耶穌「屬祂父母管轄」,並「在天主和人前的恩寵上,漸漸地增長」(路 2:51-52)。

532. 耶穌在服從祂的母親和養父時,完善地遵守了天主第四誡。這種服從是祂以赤子之情服從天父的在世肖象。耶穌每天對若瑟和瑪利亞的服從,宣示並提前了聖週四的 服從:「不要隨我的意願……」(路 22:42)。基督在日常隱居生活的服從,已展開了那因亞當的抗命而破壞的重建工程。

533.納匝肋的隱居生活,容許每人能在日常生活的最平凡方式上,與耶穌共融:

保祿六世,1964年 1月 5日在納匝肋的演講:納匝肋的聖家是一所學校,在那裡我們開始學習耶穌的生活,這是讓我們學習福音的學校……首先它給我們的一課是靜默,但願我們恢復對靜 默的重視,這是心靈上不可缺少的寧靜氣氛……另一課是家庭生活,納匝肋教導我們甚麼是家庭,甚麼是愛的交流,甚麼是家庭簡樸而平實的美,以及其神聖而不可 侵犯的特點……;另一課是工作工作工作,啊!納匝肋「木匠之子」的家!在祢這裡,我們希望了解並宣告那雖嚴厲卻具救贖效能的勞作……;最後,我們要向全世界的工人致敬,並向他們推薦一位偉大的模範,就是他們那位身為天主子的長兄。

534. 在聖殿中尋回耶穌是打破了福音有關耶穌隱居生活緘默的唯一事件。在這事上,耶穌使人約略看到祂那完全獻身於天主子使命的奧 秘:「你們不知道我必須在我父親那裡嗎?」(路 2:49)瑪利亞和若瑟「不明白」祂的話,但以信德接受了,而瑪利亞則在耶穌的整個隱居生活內,「把這一切默存在心中」(路 2:51)。

三、耶穌公開生活的奧跡

耶穌受洗

535. 耶穌的公開生活,是若翰在約但河為祂授洗時開始的。若翰「宣講悔改的洗禮,為得罪之赦」(路 3:3)。一大群罪人:稅吏、軍人、法利塞人、撒杜塞人及娼妓,都到他那裡去受洗。連耶穌也來受洗,若翰猶豫不決,但耶穌堅持著,終於受了洗。於是聖神藉 鴿子的形象,停在耶穌身上,「並有聲音從天上」說:「這是我的愛子」。這是耶穌作為以色列的默西亞和天主子的顯示 (Epiphany)。

536. 耶穌受洗,是祂接受及開始祂那受苦僕人的使命。祂讓自己與罪人們並列,祂已是「除免世罪的天主羔羊」(若 1:29),並提前了祂那殘酷死亡的「洗禮」,祂來原是為了「完成全義」(瑪 3:15),就是完全服從天父的旨意:為赦免我們的罪而甘願為愛的緣故接受死亡的洗禮。對祂的這種接受,父的聲音宣告說,完全喜愛祂的兒子。耶穌自成孕之 初已完全充滿的聖神,從天降下及停留在祂身上。耶穌為全人類將是聖神的泉源。祂受洗時,因亞當的罪而被關閉的「天為祂打開了」(瑪 3:16);水也因耶穌和聖神的降下而被聖化,是新創造的前奏。

537. 基督徒藉聖洗聖事而與基督同化,祂藉自己的洗禮提前了祂的死亡和復活。基督徒應進入謙卑的自我貶抑和悔改的奧跡,與耶穌一起浸入水中,好能同祂一起上來,由水和聖神而重生,在聖子內,成為聖父鍾愛的兒子,「在新生活中度生」(羅 6:4):

聖額我略•納祥,《演講》:我們藉洗禮與基督一同進入墳墓,好能與祂一起復活;我們與祂一起下降,好能與祂一起上升;我們與祂一起上升,好能與祂一起受顯揚。
聖依拉利•波亞帖,《瑪竇福音詮釋》:在基督身上所發生的一切使我們明白,在浸水後,聖神從高天飛向我們,並且有父的聲音接納我們,成為天主的子女。
耶穌受誘惑

538. 福音敘述耶穌在接受若翰的洗禮後,隨即有一段時期獨自退居曠野:耶穌在「聖神的催促」下,留在曠野裡禁食四十天之久,與野獸在一起,並有天使服侍祂。這段 時期行將結束之際,魔鬼前來三次誘惑祂,企圖動搖祂以天主為父的態度。耶穌擊退了這些攻擊──它實際上綜合了亞當在樂園裡及以色列在曠野中所受的誘惑,於 是魔鬼就離開祂,「再等時機」(路 4:13)。

539. 聖史們揭露了這宗奧妙事件的救贖意義。耶穌是新的亞當,在受誘時屹立不搖,而第一個亞當則順從了誘惑。耶穌完全履行了以色列的使命:一反過去在四十年曠野 旅途中激怒天主的人 基督顯示自己為天主的僕人,在一切事上服從天主的旨意。這樣,耶穌就成了魔鬼的征服者:祂把「壯士捆起來」,然後劫掠他的家。耶穌在曠野裡對誘惑者所取得 的勝利,提前了祂藉苦難所取得的勝利,這苦難是祂以赤子之愛服從天父的至高表現。

540. 耶穌所受的誘惑,顯示出天主子是默西亞的意義是甚麼,它與撒殫給祂提出的以及人們希望給祂的那種意義截然不同。因此,基督為我們戰勝了那誘惑者:「因為我們所有的,不是一位不能同情我們弱點的大司祭,而是一位在各方面與我們相似,受過試探的,只是沒有罪過」 (希 4:15)。教會每年藉四十天的四旬期,與耶穌在曠野的奧跡聯繫一起。

「天國已臨近天國已臨近」

541. 「若翰被監禁後,耶穌來到加里肋亞,宣講天主的福音說:『時期已滿,天主的國臨近了,你們悔改,信從福音吧!』」(谷 1:15)。「基督為承行聖父的旨意,在世上揭示了天國」,如今,聖父的旨意是「提拔人類,分享天主的生命」。祂為進行此事,把人類聚集到祂的聖子、耶穌 基督身邊。這個會眾就是教會,她在世上成了「天國的幼芽和開端」。

542. 基督是在「天主之家」聚會的人群的中心。祂以自己的言語、藉昭示天國的徵兆,並派遣門徒,召集人們來到祂身邊。祂尤其藉自己逾越的偉大奧跡:即是祂在十字 架上的死亡和復活,實現祂神國的來臨:「當我從地上被舉起來時,便要吸引眾人來歸向我」(若 12:32)。「所有的人都奉召與基督合一」。

天國的宣告

543. 所有的人都被召進入天國。此默西亞王國首先宣告給以色列的子民,但這是為接納天下萬邦的人民而建立的。為能進去,必須接受耶穌的訓誨:

主的訓言好比播在田裡的種子:凡以信德聆聽訓言,加入基督小小羊群的,就接受了天主之國。然後種子就以本身的能力發芽茁壯,直到成熟。

544. 天國屬於貧窮人和弱小者,即那些以謙虛的心去接受它的人。耶穌被派遣,「是為向貧窮人傳報喜訊」(路 4:18)。祂稱他們為有福的,因為「天國是他們的」(瑪 5:3);天父喜歡把那些對智慧和明達的人所隱瞞的事,啟示給「小孩子」。耶穌從馬槽到十字架,一直分擔窮人的生涯;祂忍受飢餓、口渴和貧乏。而且,祂更 與各類的窮人認同,並把為他們所作的愛德善工,作為進入天國的條件。

545. 耶穌邀請罪人去赴天國的喜宴:「我不是來召義人,而是召罪人」 (谷 2:17)。祂請他們悔改,否則不能進入天國,但在言行中卻向他們顯示天父對他們的無限仁慈,以及「對一個罪人的悔改,在天上所有的歡樂」(路 15:7)是極大的。這種愛情的最好証明,就是祂為「赦免罪過」 (瑪 26:28)將犧牲自己的生命。

546. 比喻是耶穌訓誨的特色,祂用來召叫人進入天國。祂利用比喻請人赴天國喜宴,但也要求一個基本的選擇:為獲得天國,必須「賣 掉」所有的一切;只憑口說不夠,還需有行動比喻對人來說有如鏡子:他像一塊旱地,或是像一塊好地接受聖言呢?他如何利用所接受的天賦呢?耶穌和天國在此世 的臨現,隱藏在這些比喻的核心。必須進入這天國, 意即成為基督的門徒,才能「知道天國的奧秘」(瑪 13:11)。對於那些「外人」,一切都是謎。

天國的徵兆

547. 耶穌以許多「德能、奇跡和徵兆」(宗 2:22),來証實自己的訓誨,這些奇跡和徵兆顯示出在祂身上天國已臨現了。它們証明耶穌就是所預許的默西亞。

548. 耶穌所行的奇跡,証明是父派遣了祂,它們促使人們信服祂。那些以信心求祂的人,祂答允他們所求的。於是奇跡使人對那位履行天父事業者的信德,更為堅定:它 們証實祂是天主子,但也可能成為一些人絆倒的原因。奇跡不在於滿足人們的好奇心或奇幻的願望。雖然祂的奇跡是這麼明顯,但耶穌仍被某些人拒絕,甚至被人指 控祂藉魔鬼的能力行奇跡。

549. 耶穌把一些人由飢餓、不義、疾病和死亡的人世痛苦中拯救出來,藉此展示了默西亞的徵兆;但祂並非來消除此世的所有痛苦 ,而是把人類從更大的奴役,即罪惡的奴役中,拯救出來,因為罪惡妨礙他們作為天主子女的召叫,並造成世上種種的奴役。

550. 天國的來臨挫敗了撒殫的王國:「如果我仗賴天主的神驅魔,那麼,天主的國已來到你們中間了」(瑪 12:28)。耶穌藉驅魔使一些人擺脫了魔鬼的控制,提前了耶穌對「這世界元首」(若 12:31)的偉大勝利。天主的國將藉著基督的十字架而正式建立:「天主已在十字架上為王」。

「天國的鑰匙天國的鑰匙」

551. 耶穌開始公開生活的時候,就簡選了十二個人同祂一起,參與祂的使命;祂使他們分享自己的權力,派遣他們「去宣講天主的國,並治好病人」(路 9:2)。他們常與基督的國聯合一起,因為基督透過他們領導教會:

我將王權給你們預備下,正如我父給我預備了一樣,為使你們在我的國裡,一同在我的筵席上吃喝,並坐在寶座上,審判以色列十二支派 (路 22:29-30)。

552. 在十二個宗徒中,伯多祿佔首位,耶穌交給了他獨特的使命。藉著聖父的啟示,伯多祿宣認說:「祢是默西亞,永生天主之子」,於是主對他說:「你是伯多祿(磐 石),在這磐石上,我要建立我的教會,陰間的門決不能戰勝她」(瑪 16:18)。基督「活石」(伯前 2:4),確保祂奠基於伯多祿的教會將戰勝死亡的權勢。伯多祿由於他所宣認的信仰,成為教會不可動搖的基石。他領有保持信仰完整和堅固自己弟兄的使命。

553. 耶穌交給了伯多祿一項特殊的權力:「我要將天國的鑰匙交給你,凡你在地上所束縛的,在天上也要被束縛;凡你在地上所釋放的,在天上也要被釋放」(瑪 16:19)。「掌鑰的權能」是指治理天主之家,即教會的權力。「善牧」(若 10:11)耶穌在復活後,確定了此項任務:「你牧放我的羊群」(若 21:15-17)。「束縛和釋放」的能力,是指他有權赦免罪過、宣布有關教義的見解及作出教會內有關紀律的決定。耶穌透過宗徒們的職務交給了教會此項權 力,尤其是透過伯多祿的職務,只有他一個人明確地受託管理天國的鑰匙。

天國的預嘗::耶穌顯聖容

554. 從伯多祿承認耶穌是默西亞、永生天主之子那天起,師傅耶穌「就開始向門徒們說明:祂必須上耶路撒冷去……要受許多痛苦,並將被殺,但第三天要復活」(瑪 16:21)。伯多祿反對此項預告,其他的宗徒根本無法明白。就在這脈絡下,發生了耶穌顯聖容的奇事。在一座高山上,耶穌顯聖容於三位由祂揀選的証人:伯 多祿、雅各伯和若望。耶穌的面容和衣服發出光芒,並有梅瑟和厄里亞顯現出來,談論「耶穌的去世,即祂在耶路撒冷必要完成的事」(路 9:31)。有一片雲彩遮蔽了他們,並有聲音從天上說:「這是我的兒子,我所揀選的,你們要聽從祂!」(路 9:35)。

555. 耶穌只短暫地顯露了祂的聖容,以確定伯多祿所宣認的事。但同時也宣示了「為進入祂的光榮」(路 24:26),必須先經過耶路撒冷的十字架。梅瑟和厄里亞曾在山上見過天主的光榮;法律和先知曾預告默西亞的苦難。耶穌的苦難乃是父的旨意:子以天主僕人 的身分去執行。雲彩是指聖神的臨在:「整個聖三都顯現了:父以聲音、子以人形、聖神以雲彩」:

拜占廷禮,顯聖容節的禮儀詩歌:

高山之巔,祢顯聖容,門徒目睹,既喜且驚,竭盡所能,默思爾榮。耶穌基督,天主聖言。爾後被釘,頓悟緣由,明白苦難,實祢自願。毅然宣誦,明告世人,祢是父光,照射四方。

556. 在開始公開生活前:受洗;在開始逾越節前:顯聖容。耶穌的受洗「顯示了我們第一次重生的奧跡:我們的洗禮」;而顯聖容則「是第二次重生的聖事:我們的復 活」。從現在開始,我們已藉著在基督奧體的聖事內活動的聖神,參與主的復活。耶穌顯聖容使我們預嘗基督光榮的來臨,「祂要改變我們卑賤的身體,相似祂光榮 的身體」(斐 3:21)。但也提醒我們,「必須經過許多苦難,才能進入天主的國」(宗 14:22):

聖奧思定,《講道集》:當伯多祿渴望與基督留在山上時,還不明瞭此事。啊,伯多祿!這分福氣,基督是為你死後保留的。如今祂卻對你說:下去到世上勞 碌,到世上服務,到世上被人侮辱和釘死。生命降下為被殺死,糧食降下為感受飢餓,道路降下為感到旅途辛勞,泉源降下為感受口渴,而你竟拒絕受苦嗎?

耶穌上耶路撒冷

557. 「耶穌被接升天的日期就快要來到,祂遂決意面朝耶路撒冷走去」(路 9:51)。這項決定顯示祂上耶路撒冷準備受死。祂三次宣布了祂的苦難和復活。面朝耶路撒冷走去時,祂說:「先知不宜死在耶路撒冷之外」(路 13:33)。

558. 耶穌提及了在耶路撒冷殉道的先知們,但仍不停地呼籲耶路撒冷回歸到祂那裡去:「耶路撒冷!……我多少次願意聚集你的子女,有如母雞把自己的幼雛聚集在翅膀 底下,但你卻不願意」(瑪 23:37b)。當祂望見耶路撒冷時,祂哀哭那城,再次表達了祂心中的願望說:「恨不得在這一天,你也知道有關你平安的事;但這事如今在你眼前是隱藏的」 (路 19:41-42)。

耶穌以默西亞身分進耶路撒冷

559. 耶路撒冷如何迎接自己的默西亞呢?耶穌幾番拒絕了人民想立祂為王的企圖後,祂選擇了時間,詳細地準備以默西亞身分進入「祂祖先達味」 (路 1:32)的京城。人們歡呼祂為帶來救恩的達味之子(「賀三納」 解作「啊,請救我們吧!」,「請給我們救恩!」)。如今,「光榮的君王」(詠 24:7-10)騎著一匹驢駒進入自己的城:祂沒有用詭計和暴力,而是用那為真理作証的謙遜去征服熙雍的女子──祂教會的象徵。為此,那天祂王國的子民就 是孩童和「天主的窮人」,他們就像天使們向牧人們所宣告的一般向祂歡呼。他們的歡呼聲:「因上主的名而來的,應受讚頌」(詠 118:26),被教會用在感恩祭禮儀的「聖,聖,聖!」中,作為紀念主逾越的序幕。

560. 耶穌榮進耶路撒冷顯示出天國的來臨,這是君王默西亞即將以自己死亡和復活的逾越去實現的王國。教會在聖枝主日藉著慶祝耶穌榮進耶路撒冷,開始偉大的聖週。

撮要

561. 「基督一生是持續不斷的訓誨:祂的靜默、祂的奇跡、祂的舉止、祂的祈禱、祂對人類的慈愛、祂對幼童和窮人的偏愛、祂為救贖世界而在十字架上甘心作出的自我犧牲,以及祂的復活,都實現祂的話並完成祂的啟示」。

562.基督的門徒必須肖似祂,直到基督在他們內形成。「為此我們被納入祂生活的奧跡內,效法祂,歸於祂的死亡和復活,直到與祂共享勝利」。
563.不論牧童或賢士,由於他們跪在白冷馬槽前,並朝拜那隱藏在軟弱嬰兒身上的天主,才能在現世遇見天主。
564.耶穌藉著對瑪利亞和若瑟的服從,及長期在納匝肋的那種卑微工作,給我們樹立在家庭日常生活和工作中的聖德榜樣。
565.耶穌從祂公開生活開始,在受洗時,就是整個獻身於救贖工程的「僕人」,這工程將藉祂苦難的「洗禮」而完成。
566.在曠野中所受的誘惑,顯示耶穌──謙卑的默西亞,藉著完全順從天父的救恩計劃,而戰勝撒殫。

567. 基督在世上已為天國揭開序幕,「天國清楚地由基督的言行及臨現昭示給人們」。教會就是這天國的幼芽和開端,它的鑰匙交由聖伯多祿保管。

568. 耶穌顯聖容的目的,是鞏固宗徒們的信德以面對苦難:登上「高山」是為準備登上加爾瓦略山。基督──教會之。
569.耶穌雖知道為了罪人的重大叛逆要接受殘酷的死亡,但仍心甘情願地上耶路撒冷去。

570.耶穌榮進耶路撒冷,顯示君王默西亞神國的來臨;祂被兒童和心謙的人迎進祂的京城後,準備以自己死而復活的逾越奧跡來實現此神國。

Paragraph 3. THE MYSTERIES OF CHRIST'S LIFE

512 Concerning Christ's life the Creed speaks only about the mysteries of the Incarnation (conception and birth) and Paschal mystery (passion, crucifixion, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension). It says nothing explicitly about the mysteries of Jesus' hidden or public life, but the articles of faith concerning his Incarnation and Passover do shed light on the whole of his earthly life. "All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven",171 is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter.

513 According to circumstances catechesis will make use of all the richness of the mysteries of Jesus. Here it is enough merely to indicate some elements common to all the mysteries of Christ's life (I), in order then to sketch the principal mysteries of Jesus' hidden (II) and public (III) life.

I. CHRIST'S WHOLE LIFE IS MYSTERY

514 Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels. Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted.172 What is written in the Gospels was set down there "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name."173

515 The Gospels were written by men who were among the first to have the faith174 and wanted to share it with others. Having known in faith who Jesus is, they could see and make others see the traces of his mystery in all his earthly life. From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of his Passion and the shroud of his Resurrection, everything in Jesus' life was a sign of his mystery.175 His deeds, miracles and words all revealed that "in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."176 His humanity appeared as "sacrament", that is, the sign and instrument, of his divinity and of the salvation he brings: what was visible in his earthly life leads to the invisible mystery of his divine sonship and redemptive mission

Characteristics common to Jesus' mysteries

516 Christ's whole earthly life - his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed his manner of being and speaking - is Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father", and the Father can say: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"177 Because our Lord became man in order to do his Father's will, even the least characteristics of his mysteries manifest "God's love. . . among us".178

517 Christ's whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross,179 but this mystery is at work throughout Christ's entire life: -already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty;180 - in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience;181 - in his word which purifies its hearers;182- in his healings and exorcisms by which "he took our infirmities and bore our diseases";183 - and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.184

518 Christ's whole life is a mystery of recapitulation. All Jesus did, said and suffered had for its aim restoring fallen man to his original vocation:

When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a "short cut" to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus.185 For this reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving communion with God to all men.186

Our communion in the mysteries of Jesus

519 All Christ's riches "are for every individual and are everybody's property."187 Christ did not live his life for himself but for us, from his Incarnation "for us men and for our salvation" to his death "for our sins" and Resurrection "for our justification".188 He is still "our advocate with the Father", who "always lives to make intercession" for us.189 He remains ever "in the presence of God on our behalf, bringing before him all that he lived and suffered for us."190

520 In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is "the perfect man",191 who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way.192

521 Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us. "By his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man."193 We are called only to become one with him, for he enables us as the members of his Body to share in what he lived for us in his flesh as our model:

We must continue to accomplish in ourselves the stages of Jesus' life and his mysteries and often to beg him to perfect and realize them in us and in his whole Church. . . For it is the plan of the Son of God to make us and the whole Church partake in his mysteries and to extend them to and continue them in us and in his whole Church. This is his plan for fulfilling his mysteries in us.194

II. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' INFANCY AND HIDDEN LIFE

The preparations

522 The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the "First Covenant".195 He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.

523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.196 "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.197 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being "the friend of the bridegroom", whom he points out as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world".198 Going before Jesus "in the spirit and power of Elijah", John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.199

524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.200 By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease."201

The Christmas mystery

525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family.202 Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven's glory was made manifest.203 The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal

and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.

The angels and shepherds praise him

and the magi advance with the star,

For you are born for us,

Little Child, God eternal!204

526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom.205 For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become "children of God" we must be "born from above" or "born of God".206 Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us.207 Christmas is the mystery of this "marvellous exchange":

O marvellous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.208

The mysteries of Jesus' infancy

527 Jesus' circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth,209 is the sign of his incorporation into Abraham's descendants, into the people of the covenant. It is the sign of his submission to the Law210 and his deputation to Israel's worship, in which he will participate throughout his life. This sign prefigures that "circumcision of Christ" which is Baptism.211

528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.212 In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. the magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.213 Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.214 The Epiphany shows that "the full number of the nations" now takes its "place in the family of the patriarchs", and acquires Israelitica dignitas215 (is made "worthy of the heritage of Israel").

529 The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord.216 With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Saviour - the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the "light to the nations" and the "glory of Israel", but also "a sign that is spoken against". the sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ's perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had "prepared in the presence of all peoples".

530 The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents217 make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not."218 Christ's whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him.219 Jesus' departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God's people.220

The mysteries of Jesus' hidden life

531 During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labour. His religious life was that of a Jew obedient to the law of God,221 a life in the community. From this whole period it is revealed to us that Jesus was "obedient" to his parents and that he "increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man."222

532 Jesus' obedience to his mother and legal father fulfils the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven. the everyday obedience of Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the obedience of Holy Thursday: "Not my will. . ."223 The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed.224

533 The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life:

The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus - the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us. . . A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character... A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the "Carpenter's Son", in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work. . . To conclude, I want to greet all the workers of the world, holding up to them their great pattern their brother who is God.225

534 The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus.226 Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?"227 Mary and Joseph did not understand these words, but they accepted them in faith. Mary "kept all these things in her heart" during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life.

III. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' PUBLIC LIFE

The baptism of Jesus

535 Jesus' public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan.228 John preaches "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins".229 A crowd of sinners230 - tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes - come to be baptized by him. "Then Jesus appears." the Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, "This is my beloved Son."231 This is the manifestation ("Epiphany") of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God.

536 The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God's suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world".232 Already he is anticipating the "baptism" of his bloody death.233 Already he is coming to "fulfil all righteousness", that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father's will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.234 The Father's voice responds to the Son's acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son.235 The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to "rest on him".236 Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism "the heavens were opened"237 - the heavens that Adam's sin had closed - and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.

537 Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. the Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father's beloved son in the Son and "walk in newness of life":238

Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.239

 

Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father's voice, we become sons of God.240

Jesus' temptations

538 The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him.241 At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him "until an opportune time".242

539 The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfils Israel's vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God's Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil's conqueror: he "binds the strong man" to take back his plunder.243 Jesus' victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.

540 Jesus' temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him.244 This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: "For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning."245 By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

"The kingdom of God is at hand"

541 "Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying: 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe in the gospel.'"246 "To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth."247 Now the Father's will is "to raise up men to share in his own divine life".248 He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, "on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdoms".249

542 Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the "family of God". By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great Paschal mystery - his death on the cross and his Resurrection - he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. "and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." Into this union with Christ all men are called.250

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations.251 To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.252

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to "preach good news to the poor";253 he declares them blessed, for "theirs is the kingdom of heaven."254 To them - the "little ones" the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned.255 Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation.256 Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.257

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."258 He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father's boundless mercy for them and the vast "joy in heaven over one sinner who repents".259 The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life "for the forgiveness of sins".260

546 Jesus' invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching.261 Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything.262 Words are not enough, deeds are required.263 The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word?264 What use has he made of the talents he has received?265 Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to "know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven".266 For those who stay "outside", everything remains enigmatic.267

The signs of the kingdom of God

547 Jesus accompanies his words with many "mighty works and wonders and signs", which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah.268

548 The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him.269 To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask.270 So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God.271 But his miracles can also be occasions for "offence";272 they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.273

549 By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death,274 Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below,275 but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God's sons and causes all forms of human bondage.276

550 The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."277 Jesus' exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over "the ruler of this world".278 The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: "God reigned from the wood."279

"The keys of the kingdom"

551 From the beginning of his public life Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission.280 He gives the Twelve a share in his authority and 'sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal."281 They remain associated for ever with Christ's kingdom, for through them he directs the Church:

As my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.282

552 Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve;283 Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Our Lord then declared to him: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it."284 Christ, the "living Stone",285 thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakeable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.286

553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."287 The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep."288 The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles289 and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.

A foretaste of the kingdom: the Transfiguration

554 From the day Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Master "began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. . . and be killed, and on the third day be raised."290 Peter scorns this prediction, nor do the others understand it any better than he.291 In this context the mysterious episode of Jesus' Transfiguration takes place on a high mountain,292 before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, James and John. Jesus' face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking "of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem".293 A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"294

555 For a moment Jesus discloses his divine glory, confirming Peter's confession. He also reveals that he will have to go by the way of the cross at Jerusalem in order to "enter into his glory".295
Moses and Elijah had seen God's glory on the Mountain; the Law and the Prophets had announced the Messiah's sufferings.296 Christ's Passion is the will of the Father: the Son acts as God's servant;297 The cloud indicates the presence of the Holy Spirit. "The whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud."298

You were transfigured on the mountain, and your disciples, as much as they were capable of it, beheld your glory, O Christ our God, so that when they should see you crucified they would understand that your Passion was voluntary, and proclaim to the world that you truly are the splendour of the Father.299

556 On the threshold of the public life: the baptism; on the threshold of the Passover: the Transfiguration. Jesus' baptism proclaimed "the mystery of the first regeneration", namely, our Baptism; the Transfiguration "is the sacrament of the second regeneration": our own Resurrection.300 From now on we share in the Lord's Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. the Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body."301 But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God":302

Peter did not yet understand this when he wanted to remain with Christ on the mountain. It has been reserved for you, Peter, but for after death. For now, Jesus says: "Go down to toil on earth, to serve on earth, to be scorned and crucified on earth. Life goes down to be killed; Bread goes down to suffer hunger; the Way goes down to be exhausted on his journey; the Spring goes down to suffer thirst; and you refuse to suffer?"303

Jesus' ascent to Jerusalem

557 "When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem."304 By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: "It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem."305

558 Jesus recalls the martyrdom of the prophets who had been put to death in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he persists in calling Jerusalem to gather around him: "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!"306 When Jerusalem comes into view he weeps over her and expresses once again his heart's desire: "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes."307

Jesus' messianic entrance into Jerusalem

559 How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of "his father David".308 Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means "Save!" or "Give salvation!"), the "King of glory" enters his City "riding on an ass".309 Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth.310 and so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God's poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds.311 Their acclamation, "Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord",312 is taken up by the Church in the Sanctus of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord's Passover.

560 Jesus' entry into Jerusalem manifested the coming of the kingdom that the King-Messiah was going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection. It is with the celebration of that entry on Palm Sunday that the Church's liturgy solemnly opens Holy Week.

IN BRIEF

561 "The whole of Christ's life was a continual teaching: his silences, his miracles, his gestures, his prayer, his love for people, his special affection for the little and the poor, his acceptance of the total sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of the world, and his Resurrection are the actualization of his word and the fulfilment of Revelation" John Paul II, CT 9).

562 Christ's disciples are to conform themselves to him until he is formed in them (cf Gal 4:19). "For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him" (LG 7 # 4).

563 No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child.

564 By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work.

565 From the beginning of his public life, at his baptism, Jesus is the "Servant", wholly consecrated to the redemptive work that he will accomplish by the "baptism" of his Passion.

566 The temptation in the desert shows Jesus, the humble Messiah, who triumphs over Satan by his total adherence to the plan of salvation willed by the Father.

567 The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. "This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). the Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter.

568 Christ's Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostles' faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent on to the "high mountain" prepares for the ascent to Calvary. Christ, Head of the Church, manifests what his Body contains and radiates in the sacraments: "the hope of glory" ( Col 1:27; cf.: St. Leo the Great, Sermo 51, 3: PL 54, 310C).

569 Jesus went up to Jerusalem voluntarily, knowing well that there he would die a violent death because of the opposition of sinners (cf Heb 12:3).

570 Jesus' entry into Jerusalem manifests the coming of the kingdom that the Messiah-King, welcomed into his city by children and the humble of heart, is going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection.

 

 

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