Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


Stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved

Philippians 4:1

Friday, April 14, 2006

Four Jesuses or One?

The Resurrection in the Four Gospels
by Fr. Larry Kowatski

Our parish audio-visual library has a recording of a lecture by Fr. Kowatski on the four Gospels. As I listened to him speak, I wondered whether he believes that Jesus really was God incarnate who lived a real life 2000 years ago, died for our sake, and rose from the dead. He seemed to treat the Gospels as pious stories that may be inspiring but are not really true. Here is how his lecture began:

Every year, during Holy Week, many different television stations present films based on the life of Christ, and when they do this, what they basically do is they take the details from each of the four gospels and try to work as many of them together as they can and then they give us their understanding of the Life of Christ.

When we see films like that and then go back to the Gospels, that is how we read the Gospels. And I have been trying to share with you since I have been here how important it is (I feel) not to read the Gospels that way.

How each Gospel, rather than being a collection of facts about Jesus that can be collated one with another, is the sharing of a very unique experience of Jesus, and when we take the facts from one Gospel and we put them in another, what we are likely to do is end up with one overall picture of what Jesus was like that isn't guaranteed by God and almost certainly we lose the uniqueness of the four sharings that God has guaranteed, sharings that you and I very much need.

When you read any section of the Gospel, when you read a Gospel as whole, please try as much as you can to block out any details of any other Gospels.

I am going to share with you this morning, as maybe a way of illustrating this, the resurrection stories, what happens on Easter Sunday, and I want to right at the start, show you some of the differences.

Who announces the resurrection?
Mark - Young Man
Matthew - Angel
Luke - 2 young men
John - No one

"He has been raised up. He is not here." What that means in the Gospel of Mark is: Don't look for Jesus here on Earth anymore; he is never going to make a resurrection appearance. ...
I do see value in reading a Gospel straight through, and focusing, for a time, solely on that Gospel, but why shouldn't we read each Gospel in light of the others and the rest of Divine revelation? The previous post in this blog showed how easy it is to get details wrong if you look at just one Gospel in isolation. We follow Christ Jesus, and all four accounts are meant to instruct us about the same one person, so why shouldn't we attempt to collate the facts we have, to arrive at a deeper understanding of Him whom we worship?

Our library has more tapes of this type, by speakers such as Michael Himes and Richard McBrien, but little that is substantial and good, to lead parishioners to our Savior.

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The inclination to separate each Gospel from the rest of the Bible reminds me of the desire of some to ignore the New Testament when translating the Old. I saw these comments earlier this week:
The RSV Old Testament was not well received outside of liberal circles, chiefly because the translators often deliberately rendered Old Testament passages in such a way that they were contrary to the interpretations given in the New Testament. This was done on the principle that the Old Testament ought to be interpreted only in reference to its own historical (Jewish) context. Christian interpretations, including those of the New Testament writers, are therefore deliberately excluded as "anachronistic." But this, as conservative critics perceived, practically amounted to a denial of the truth of the New Testament.
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Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

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