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JESUS: There is No Other Name by Which We Can Be Saved

In the first reading for the Third Sunday of Lent, we heard the Ten Commandments, given by the Lord to Moses for the people of Israel. They should be familiar to every one of us. They set forth a Way of Life which reflects God's plan - not only for Israel, but through Israel, for all Nations. They set forth how we are to worship and obey God, not kill, not steal, honor, and keep holy the Lord's Day, honor one another, honor our parents... Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that these Ten Commandments are no longer as important. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, especially during Lent, they provide a particularly good framework for examining our own Conscience. Especially when we are preparing to go to confession. Are we following these commandments? Jesus came not to abolish them, but to fulfill them - and through His Passion Suffering, Death, and Resurrection, He gives us the grace we need to live them, by living our lives now in Him.  How are we doing?  

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Photo credit: Alicia Quan

Photo credit: Alicia Quan

Highlights

In our second reading, an excerpt from St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul reminds the early believers, that we are to proclaim Jesus Christ, crucified, to all men and women, to "Jews and Gentiles." Any message purporting to proclaim the Christian Gospel which fails to proclaim the necessity of the Cross of Christ, is not a message which will lead to salvation. Mercy certainly meets people where they are, as Jesus did, but then calls them to repent for their sin, turn to Jesus Christ, and follow Him. Today, we are hearing some errant messages which fail to proclaim the need for repentance. Yes, Jesus "meets us where we are", as you often hear. But He does so to bring us to where He is. As the Apostle writes "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Cor. 1:25).

In the Gospel appointed for the Third Sunday of Lent, Jesus cleanses the temple. He overturns the money changers tables. He even uses a whip in doing so! He calls all those within the temple to offer pure worship to God. He demands that they stop using "His Father's House" as a marketplace. The proper response of the religious leaders should have been to repent. But the religious leaders did not do so. In fact, in another account, they asked Jesus for a sign to prove He had authority to issue this well-deserved rebuke to their behavior. The rebuke gets even stronger, as the chapter continues. Think about this. The Incarnate Word of the Father, the promised Messiah, is standing before them! Yet, they are so blinded by their own self-worship and arrogance of power that they fail to recognize Him. 

On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1975, Pope St. Paul VI issued an apostolic exhortation entitled Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii Nuntiandi). In one of the often-quoted paragraphs of this great letter, we read these crucial words: "There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. The history of the Church, from the discourse of Peter on the morning of Pentecost onward, has been intermingled and identified with the history of this proclamation. At every new phase of human history, the Church, constantly gripped by the desire to evangelize, has but one preoccupation: Whom to send to proclaim the mystery of Jesus?"

"In what way is this mystery to be proclaimed? How can one ensure that it will resound and reach all those who should hear it? This proclamationâ€"kerygma, preaching, or catechesisâ€"occupies such an important place in evangelization that it has often become synonymous with it; and yet it is only one aspect of evangelization.

"In fact, the proclamation only reaches full development when it is listened to, accepted, and assimilated, and when it arouses a genuine adherence in the one who has thus received it. An adherence to the truths which the Lord in His mercy has revealed; still more, an adherence to a program of life -- a life henceforth transformedâ€"which He proposes. In a word, adherence to the kingdom, that is to say, to the "new world," to the new state of things, to the new manner of being, of living, of living in community, which the Gospel inaugurates.

"Such an adherence, which cannot remain abstract and un-incarnated, reveals itself concretely by a visible entry into a community of believers. Thus, those whose life has been transformed enter a community which is itself a sign of transformation, a sign of newness of life: it is the Church, the visible sacrament of salvation.

"Our entry into the ecclesial community will in its turn be expressed through many other signs which prolong and unfold the sign of the Church. In the dynamism of evangelization, a person who accepts the Church as the Word which saves [n. 54] normally translates it into the following sacramental acts: adherence to the Church, and acceptance of the sacraments, which manifest and support this adherence through the grace which they confer."Finally, the person who has been evangelized goes on to evangelize others. Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelization: It is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn" (nn. 22-24).

Jesus Christ is the Only Savior of the World.

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is the Savior sent to us by God the Father to rescue the whole human race from sin and its consequences. The mission of the Church is to proclaim and spread this truth to the ends of the earth through missionary activity. And, to continue the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ, as His Mystical Body, until He returns. Regrettably, in our day, the unchangeable truth revealed by Jesus Christ is now being challenged by some errant theologians who perpetrate confusion and sow doubt in the hearts of many faithful, including some bishops, priests, and deacons.

In response to these errant theologians and the growing dangers of the creeping relativism and syncretism they spread, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prior to his pontificate as Pope Benedict XVI, issued a Declaration on August 6, 2000, entitled "Dominus Iesus -- Jesus is Lord -- On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church." Yet, the dark specter of errant teaching about Jesus Christ -- and the nature of Salvation in Him and Him alone -- is again rearing its ugly head. Dominus Iesus explains,

"The Church†s constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto but also de iure (or in principle). As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been superseded; for example, the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, the nature of Christian faith as compared with that of belief in other religions, the inspired nature of the books of Sacred Scripture, the personal unity between the Eternal Word and Jesus of Nazareth, the unity of the economy of the Incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit, the unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the universal salvific mediation of the Church, the inseparability -- while recognizing the distinction -- of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, and the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church" (Dominus Iesus, n. 4).

There can be absolutely no question -- Jesus Christ is the Savior and the Lord of all - and the Savior and Lord given for all. When the first Pope, St. Peter, and the beloved disciple John were dragged before a hostile Council for preaching this Gospel, Peter did not compromise, soft sell, or water down the message (See, Acts, chapter 4). Peter courageously proclaimed who Jesus was, and still is "...  the stone, which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4: 11,12).

Dominus Jesus is the unchangeable teaching of the Catholic Church. The clarity of this powerful document, along with the clarity of the entire Papal Magisterium of Pope St. John Paul II, and the late Pope Benedict XVI, needs to be constantly, clearly and continually kept before us by Pope Francis as he leads the Church as the Successor of Peter. Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the World. This is the very heart and core of the Gospel we are to preach and teach.

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Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

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