Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Lord and His Angels

Before I get started about Jesus and angels, a reminder: I've got the authority of "some guy with a blog." I don't speak for the church.

There's a pretty good discussion of "Christ 'with all his angels' " in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 331-333. That's my starting point today.

Jesus in the Center

Jesus is the center of the angelic world. (Catechism, 331) No surprises there:
"For in him 8 were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. "
(Collossians 1:16)
Angels have been around from the start of creation: taking an active role. (Catechism, 332)

That's 'active,' not 'central.' Angels are messengers, agents. (Catechism,329) It wasn't an angel who died at Golgotha. That was my Lord, Jesus. Mark 15:22 and all that. And that's almost another topic.

"Blow, Gabriel, Blow?"

I'm a convert to Catholicism. Along the way, I learned a lot about the Church: and learned that some of what I thought I knew was four or five centuries out of date, or simply wrong.

I was a little surprised to learn that the Church takes the Last Judgment quite seriously. Up to that point, what I'd heard about it came mostly from radio preachers. And Hollywood musicals.

The preachers' theology was generally more imaginative than the lyrics of Cole Porter's "Blow, Gabriel, Blow." ("Nobody's Darling" (1943)) The tap dance version in Anything Goes (1956) is a pretty good bit of choreography - and look for the wiggling wingtips. Which is another topic.

But 'imaginative' isn't necessarily 'plausible.' Or true.

What the Church says about angels tends to be more prosaic:
"...it is the angels who 'evangelize' by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.199 They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgment.200"
(Catechism, 333)
That takes us from those shepherds on night watch, to indications that this creation's endgame will be impossible to miss, when it comes. (Matthew 24:31, Luke 2:8, Acts 1:10-11) Which is yet another topic.

"Why are You ... Looking at the Sky?"

After my Lord stopped being dead - still more topics - He had several meetings with his apostles. Then, as now, folks seem to have wanted to know exactly what God has in mind. Which doesn't seem all that sensible, under the circumstances. (Job 38:1-41:26)

Here's what Jesus said, when asked: "...'Lord, are you at this time going 4 to restore the kingdom to Israel?' " (Acts 1:6)
"5 He answered them, 'It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.

"6 But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

"When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight."
(Acts 1:7-9)
I don't blame the apostles for happened next. This was before folks were used to seeing videos of jetpacks on the Web - with flight trials for a commercial version in last year's news.

After Jesus left - vertically - the apostles stood there. Just stood there. Until angels told them to shake it off, and get back to work:
"While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.

"They said, 'Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.' "
(Acts 1:10-11)
Two millennia later, we're still waiting: and there's still work to do. And that is, you guessed it, yet again another topic.

Related posts:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Missing a word: "I don't blame the apostles for happened next."

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

Thanks: but that sentence is 'complete.' The syntax is quite informal - but that's what I intended to say. I'll review it again, later.

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