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423 We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem at the time of King Herod the Great and the emperor Caesar Augustus, a carpenter by trade, who died crucified in Jerusalem under the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, is the eternal Son of God made man. He 'came from God', 4 'descended from heaven', 5 and 'came in the flesh'. 6 For 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. . . And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.' 7
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447 Jesus ascribes this title to himself in a veiled way when he disputes with the Pharisees about the meaning of Psalm 110, but also in an explicit way when he addresses his apostles. 61 Throughout his public life, he demonstrated his divine sovereignty by works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.
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520 In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is "the perfect man", 191 who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way. 192
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557 "When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem." 304 By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: "It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem." 305
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609 By embracing in his human heart the Father's love for men, Jesus "loved them to the end", for "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 425 In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men. 426 Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord." 427 Hence the sovereign freedom of God's Son as he went out to his death. 428
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616 It is love "to the end" 446 that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. 447 Now "the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died." 448 No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.
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622 The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28), that is, he "loved [his own] to the end" (Jn 13:1), so that they might be "ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers" (I Pt 1:18).
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730 At last Jesus' hour arrives: 117 he commends his spirit into the Father's hands 118 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father," 119 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his disciples. 120 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 121
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782 The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history:
- It is the People of God: God is not the property of any one people. But he acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people: "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation." 202
- One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being "born anew," a birth "of water and the Spirit," 203 that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.
- This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body, this is "the messianic people."
- "The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple."
- "Itslaw is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us." 204 This is the "new" law of the Holy Spirit. 205
- Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world. 206 This people is "a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole human race."
-Its destiny, finally, "is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time." 207
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858 Jesus is the Father's Emissary. From the beginning of his ministry, he "called to him those whom he desired; .... And he appointed twelve, whom also he named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach." 368 From then on, they would also be his "emissaries" (Greek apostoloi). In them, Christ continues his own mission: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 369 The apostles' ministry is the continuation of his mission; Jesus said to the Twelve: "he who receives you receives me." 370
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1085 In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father "once for all." 8 His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is - all that he did and suffered for all men - participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.
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1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. 76 From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, 77 holding them in respect and affection. 78 Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church. 79
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1380 It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us "to the end," 209 even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us, 210 and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love:
The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease. 211
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1524 In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of "passing over" to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of the Lord: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." 141 The sacrament of Christ once dead and now risen, the Eucharist is here the sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father. 142
1694 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord. 8 Following Christ and united with him, 9 Christians can strive to be "imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love" 10 by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the "mind . . . which is yours in Christ Jesus," 11 and by following his example. 12
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1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment. 96 By loving his own "to the end," 97 he makes manifest the Father's love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love." And again: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." 98
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1970 The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between "the two ways" and to put into practice the words of the Lord. 26 It is summed up in the Golden Rule, "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets." 27
The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the "new commandment" of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us. 28
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2195 Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord's Day.
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2822 Our Father "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 95 He "is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish." 96 His commandment is "that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." 97 This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.
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2842 This "as" is not unique in Jesus' teaching: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"; "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful"; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." 139 It is impossible to keep the Lord's commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make "ours" the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. 140 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave" us. 141
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2843 Thus the Lord's words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end, 142 become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord's teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: "So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." 143 It is there, in fact, "in the depths of the heart," that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.