Apr. 25, 2012
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I Believe in Jesus Christ

"Consubstantial with the Father": That tongue-twister in the new Mass translation is one way we describe Jesus. And it's what our Christian faith is all about! By the time of Jesus, Israel's belief in one God was well-established, an unshakable truth. But the People of God struggled for centuries with the temptation to adopt the gods of their neighbors—and often did. And so it was a tremendous challenge for many to accept Jesus as divine. In Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin, the high priest tears his garments and accuses Jesus of blasphemy for claiming divine sonship.

When Christians moved into the world of Greek philosophers, the understanding of Jesus as divine remained a challenge. In the fourth century, a priest named Arius held that the Son of God did not exist from all eternity. Rather, Arius contended that Jesus was a created being, not divine.

The Arian heresy divided the Church of the fourth century. To address this heresy, the Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicea, in 325. The council issued a statement of faith, a creed. It proclaimed that, as the Catechism tells us, "the Son of God is 'begotten, not made, of the same substance...as the Father.'" The Latin version of the Greek expression, "of the same substance," is now translated literally as "consubstantial."

This word in the Creed is crucial to our understanding of what we believe. Were Jesus not divine, there would be no Incarnation. But we believe that the Second Person of the Trinity became human. The Love which created our world and all that is in it has entered our world and become part of it. We profess that "in him all things were made." Creation itself testifies to how much God loves with us, a love is fully revealed in Jesus.

That love is further expressed in our Creed, as we are instructed at Mass to bow at the words which profess our faith in the "incarnation." For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. That gesture shows how this belief is central to Christianity. It is Christianity, in a sense!

In the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi responded to God's call and "came down" from the safety of the medieval walls of his town. He went to live in the swampy lowlands with lepers, to serve them in poverty. Francis understood these words of the Creed well. The Word "came down" and entered our humanity. Overwhelmed by this great truth, St. Francis promoted the Christmas crib. He wanted to bring home the story of Jesus' birth to the Virgin Mary. Francis embraced all of creation because God was joined to it in Jesus.

If we ever are tempted to discount our humanity, this action of God makes us stop and re-evaluate. The Incarnation tells us how much God loves us. Becoming one of us, God has given us the chance to share in divinity. We discover in Jesus what we can become, with God's grace.

This month, American Catholic Radio joins Catholic Updateand St. Anthony Messenger in highlighting the Creed we profess each Sunday. You can find those resources at www.FranciscanMedia.org.

Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.
American Catholic Radio: Upcoming Episodes (#12-19 , #12-20)
Use the links below to preview the shows or download them in MP3 format for broadcast.
Highlights from this episode include:

Living Faith
Judy Zarick interviews Rita Larrivee from Charleston, South Carolina. Rita has worked for two years, helping 100 widows in India whose husbands lost their lives simply because they believed in Christ.

Ask a Franciscan
Franciscan Father Hilarion Kistner answers these scriptural questions:Did Jesus have to die to accomplish our salvation? Why did God wait millions of years from the creation of humanity to send Jesus to us? What does Jesus mean when he says that people will no longer be married after our bodies are resurrected? Why wasn't Moses permitted to enter the Promised Land?

On Faith & Media
Direct from Hollywood, ACR presents Sister Rose Pacatte from the Daughters of St. Paul. Her mission is to help people of faith understand what we're seeing and hearing all around us. She's an educator, author, movie reviewer for the Catholic press, and she's won numerous awards for her passion to illuminate what's good in today's popular culture. This week Sister Rose explores themes of nature and grace on television: how television normalizes addictions and depicts our struggles to overcome these behaviors.

Exploring Our Faith
John Feister's guest throughout this Easter season is award-winning author and speaker, Mark P. Shea. Mark's one-minute presentations, "Words of Encouragement," on various Catholic faith issues, are heard on Catholic radio stations nationally. He has served as senior content editor for Catholic Exchange and has written numerous books on Catholic apologetics, most recently The Work of Mercy: Being the Hands and Heart of Christ, published in 2011 by Franciscan Media. In our Easter series, Mr. Shea speaks with John about the various elements of the Nicene Creed. Today, they discuss the "mystery of faith," Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

Minute Meditations
Barbara Beckwith reads from Padre Pio's Spiritual Direction for Every Day, by Capuchin Franciscan Father Gianluigi Pasquale, a Servant Book published by Franciscan Media.
Highlights from this episode include:

Living Faith
Judy Zarick speaks with artist Teri O'Toole. A few years ago, Teri began producing soft, collectible "saintly" dolls for children and adults. By providing positive role models in these dolls, she and her partner want to ensure that the holiness of the People of God will grow in abundance, as it has been shown to do in the Church's history through the lives of the saints.

Ask a Franciscan
Franciscan Father Greg Friedman answers these pastoral questions: What is the significance of the altar stone? Why don't Catholics provide small, individual cups for those receiving communion?

On Faith & Media
Direct from Hollywood, ACR presents Sister Rose Pacatte from the Daughters of St. Paul. Her mission is to help people of faith understand what we're seeing and hearing all around us. She's an educator, author, movie reviewer for the Catholic press, and she's won numerous awards for her passion to illuminate what's good in today's popular culture. Sister Rose asks: How is grace visible in contemporary media? Or is it?

Exploring Our Faith
John Feister's guest throughout the Easter season is Mark P. Shea. Mark's one-minute presentations, "Words of Encouragement," on various Catholic faith issues, are heard on Catholic radio stations nationally. He has served as senior content editor for Catholic Exchange and has written numerous books on Catholic apologetics, most recently The Work of Mercy: Being the Hands and Heart of Christ, published in 2011 by Franciscan Media. In our Easter series, Mr. Shea speaks with John about the various elements of the Nicene Creed. Today, they discuss the Holy Spirit.

Minute Meditations
Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg reads from The Reed of God, by Caryll Houselander. This spiritual classic is published in audiobook format by Franciscan Media.
 
 
Franciscan Radio
Link to audio features Saint of the Day, Sunday Soundbites, Sharing the Word and American Catholic Radio.
American Catholic Radio
A weekly half-hour catechetical program, in the popular style of the Franciscans.
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