If Jesus died to unify, what’s behind the division?

Our Lord came to gather, so who’s scattering?

The high priest Caiaphas solved the problem of Jesus: “You do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish” (John 11:50). Saint John the Evangelist “designates this statement expressly as a ‘prophetic utterance’ that Caiaphas formulated through the charism of his office as high priest, and not of his own accord.” Benedict XVI, Pope. Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection (p. 171). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition. Frighteningly, even as his proclamation amounted to an unjust death sentence for an innocent man, the high priest spoke truly and prophetically; without any idea of the depth of his words concerning the God-Man. The Apostle “goes on to say that Jesus would die, ‘not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (John 11:52; Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, at 174). These words will echo six chapters later in Our Lord’s high-priestly prayer (see John 17; Id.).

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Image from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, Scourging at the Pillar

Jesus died to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. “The gathering is directed toward the unity of all believers, and thus it points ahead to the community of the Church and even beyond, toward definitive eschatological unity.” Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, at 174.

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Image from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, Scourging at the Pillar

The atomization of Christianity since 1517 continues to gash the Body of Christ. Luther was not enough; then came Calvin, then Zwingli, et al.  Old, mainline denominations were not enough.  Recognizable Protestant congregations were not enough. Each splinter of a splinter of a splinter continues to tear the Flesh.  Five hundred years of evidence later, if you can’t find a flavor that suits you among tens of thousands  of choices, don’t despair; a new non-denominational storefront with hipster name and flashy website awaits.  A brand new splinter, and a little more Blood.

Serious question:  If Jesus died to unify, what’s behind the division?

 

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AS FOR ME, I KNOW THAT MY VINDICATOR LIVES, AND THAT HE WILL AT LAST STAND FORTH UPON THE DUST. THIS WILL HAPPEN WHEN MY SKIN HAS BEEN STRIPPED OFF, AND FROM MY FLESH I WILL SEE GOD: I WILL SEE FOR MYSELF, MY OWN EYES, NOT ANOTHER’S, WILL BEHOLD HIM: MY INMOST BEING IS CONSUMED WITH LONGING. JOB 19:25-27

ONE LORD.  ONE FAITH.  ONE BAPTISM.

Author: Danny Collier

Catholic. Husband. Father. Lawyer.

5 thoughts on “If Jesus died to unify, what’s behind the division?”

  1. Good question Danny,
    There is a certain reductionism that came with the reformation, scripture ALONE, faith ALONE, Perspicuity of scripture, ditching of the church fathers, of Tradition, of the sacraments, etc.
    This was contemporaneous with modern philosophy which emerged around the same time, ditching the Aristotelean/Thomistic teleogical worldview in favour of the modern mechanical vision of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, etc. No coincidence there.
    If you want a great read on what got us to where we are, at least from a philosophical point of view, which of course feeds into the religious outlook, have a look at Edward Feser’s “The Last Superstition” – required reading.
    Modern philosophy introduced a myopic perspective to science, the focus upon the specific to the detriment of the overall view, the ditching of God to focus on the purely material. Similarly with religion we see the reformation focusing on specific doctrines/beliefs and at the same time losing an all encompassing view of what Jesus came to do: to found a church (one) to carry out his work. They lose track of the mission of Jesus in the detail.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Philosopher Thomas Nagel: “I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time.”

    Feser, Edward. The Last Superstition (Kindle Locations 334-335). St. Augustine’s Press. Kindle Edition.

    This first chapter of Feser’s book reminds me of how relaxed competing versions of Protestantism are with each other; yet they exercise a de facto infallibility on one dogma: Rome is wrong. The ecclesial authority problem is not a rare condition, and may be responsible for much of the reductionism that exploded in the sixteenth century.

    Liked by 1 person

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