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Monday, May 21, 2007

James Alison - Knowing Jesus

I'm still (slowly) reading Knowing Jesus by James Alison. What I read today mentions resurrection appearances and the ascension. Here below is a part of it .....


Often we are so concerned with questions as: what sort of body did Jesus have, was the resurrection physical, and so on, that we fail to notice what is perhaps the really important thing of which the physical appearances of Jesus were signs. That is, that the crucified and risen Jesus was not only crucified as a human but rose as a crucified human.

It is I think important to hold on to this, since there is a tendency, helped by the apparent vagueness of the gospel texts when they deal with the resurrection, to imagine that Jesus may well have been human up until his death, but from the resurrection onwards, he reverted to being God, and eventually, like a helium balloon, couldn't be held to the earth any longer, and floated back to heaven where he belonged.

Well, this is not the case. When Jesus died, it was a fully human being who died completely, and when Jesus was raised from the dead, it was a human being who was given back to us. Given back as a crucified and living human being. I stress this for two reasons: first, and incidentally, because if we don;t hold on to this, we make a nonsense of the belief in the ascension. The special form of the Eucharistic prayer for the Mass of the Ascension says:

In union with the whole Church we celebrate that day when your only Son, Our Lord, took his place with you and raised our frail human nature to glory.

That is to say, the ascension was not Jesus beaming back up to Starship Enterprise when the Mission was accomplished, leaving the earthlings to play happily; it was the introduction of a novelty into heaven: human nature. Being human was from then on permanently and indissolubly involved in the presence of God .....

What is important is that the risen and crucified Jesus was no less human after his resurrection than before it. This not only says something about the presence of human nature in heaven, but something about the presence of God on earth. The divine life is indissolubly and permanently present as human. All divine dealings with humanity are on a human level .....



Blogger Cura Animarum said...

Thank you so much for posting this Crystal. Alison makes a wondreful, beautiful, and shocking point. That humanity has a place in the presence of often has that slipped past my notice?


9:44 PM  
Blogger Talmida said...

What an excellent thought, Crystal! I'd never considered that before.

9:53 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, you guys. Fr. Alison really is insightful - he's always surprising me with new ways of looking at things I'd taken for granted.

10:42 PM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

the ascension was not Jesus beaming back up to Starship Enterprise

Yeah, But I notice that Alison doesn't offer any proof that Jesus wasn't beamed up to the Enterprise. Just saying something doesn't make it so. Spock was resurrected in Star Trek III, though not back into an entirely human form, obviously, since he was half Vulcan. But that does prove, I think, that there is a connection between the Enterprise and resurrection. And the ashes of Scotty were just sent up into space from New Mexico - and returned back to Earth (New Mexico) in the same form. It all comes together somehow. :-)

Actually, it's nice to read what Alison has to say. We forget too often about the human aspect of Jesus. The Incarnation is really an amazing thing.

6:24 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

And I was wondering why the connection between Jesus and the hellium balloon was so quickly dismissed without further investigation :-)

10:24 AM  

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