Good Friday

From the Letter to the Hebrews:

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1&2)

Father Frank Matera, professor of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America, has a fine book, New Testament Theology: Exploring Unity and Diversity. He concludes his discussion of the Letter to the Hebrews by comparing the theological vision of the author of Hebrews and St. Paul:

Both speak of God's redemptive work in Christ. Both view this death as the eschatological event by which God deals with sin in a final and definitive way. Both agree that Jesus is the Son of God, the one through whom God offers salvation to the world. The difference is the way in which each presents this event, which, when all is said and done, cannot be explained by merely recounting the historical circumstances of the crucifixion. Both affirm that what appears to be the execution of a criminal was indeed the locus of God's redemptive work. Paul chose to express this reality in the language of justification and reconciliation, the author of Hebrews in the cultic language of priesthood and sacrifice. Both, however, came to a similar conclusion regarding the significance of this death: it is God's final and definitive word.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is the author of Rekindling the Christic Imagination.

Also by this author
He Descended into Hell

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