Before Christ, except among
the Jewish People, religion was a "blind search for God." In the
peoples of the nations, the Gentiles (or non-Jews), the natural spirit of
religion that exists in man took many erroneous paths. Man made gods in
his own image, usually celebrations of his vices or his needs. At other
times, gods were invented by demons, fallen angels, in order to receive
the worship which man should give to God alone (1 Cor. 10:20). In both
there was a perversion of the religious spirit, yet often enough some
truth, what theologians call semini verbi (seeds of the Word),
which prepared the way for the One Truth who was coming.
Among the children of Israel the search for God had ceased to be blind.
The promise of a Redeemer given to Adam and Eve after the Fall (Gen 3:15)
became more concrete in Abraham, through whom God promised that
"all nations would be blessed" (Gen 12:1-3).
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, Go from your
country and your kindred and your fatherís house to the land that I
will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I
will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a
blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who
curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall
This promise was renewed with Isaac and Jacob, who renamed Israel by
God became the Father of the twelve tribes of Israel (Gen. 35:10).
God said to him: "You whose name is Jacob shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name." Thus he was named Israel.
Among the Israelites God elected Moses to receive the Torah (Law or
Teaching). By means of the Law God revealed the nature of the Justice owed
to God (Commandments 1 to 3) and to man (Commandments 4-10). Fulfillment
of the Law satisfies the requirements for man to be authentically human,
both in relation to God and to other human beings. The man who kept the
Law would be living the demands of truth as Adam had done in the garden of
Eden before the fall. This Law, St. Paul tells us in Romans, was incapable
of perfect fulfillment without the grace which would come through Jesus
Christ (John 1:17). Its served to teach the inadequacy of the human heart,
to reveal its sinfulness, rather to redeem (Gal. 3:24-25).
24Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.
Through the prophets, as the liturgy says, we were taught to hope for
salvation. Thus the entire Old Testament was a divinely revealed
preparation for the Incarnation of the Word.
The Word when He does come gives what neither Gentile or Jew had been
able to give. Out of the perfection of his humanity He returned to the
Father "love for love." Christís perfect living for the Will
of the Father is both the perfection of man and the glory of God. In
Christ and by His grace man becomes both fully alive and the glory of God
This is the reason for our Jubilation! This is the reason the Church is
celebrating the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000!