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Recalling God's Past Deeds- the Pledge of Hope for a Safe Future

Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb; [email protected]
Publication Date
  • Spomen
  • šabat
  • Pasha
  • Kraljevstvo Božje
  • Eshatolosko Usmjerenje.
  • Memorial
  • Shabbath
  • Passover
  • God'S Kingdom And Reign
  • Eschatological.


John Paul II in his opening and concluding chapters of Tertio millenio adveniente quotes several times Heb 13,8: »Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever«. This article is an exegetical analysis of New Testament texts on which the Pontiff relies in calling the Christians of our time to prepare for ending second millenium and for entering the third millenium. Biblical concepts of zikkaron and anamnesis involve not only remembering God's deeds but re-enacting them in each new generation of God's people. 1. Shabbath as weekly memorial of creation in God's image, deliberation from slavery and inclusion into God's people. In Genesis 2,1-4; Exodus 20,8-11; Deutoronomy 5,12-15 these three aspects of shabbath are present and especially the third one was decive for the Jews of diaspora in preserving their religious and national identity. In 1 Co 16,1-4; Acts 20,7-12; Rev 1,10 Christians celebrate their eucharist on first day of the week but they keep all aspects of Old Testament shabbath in their weekly day of rest and prayer. 2. Passover is yearly memorial of redemption which has taken place but its final enactment is faithfully being expected. In Exodus 13,8 every Jewish family celebrating the Passover festival repeats: »This is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.« God's people enact God's past deeds in their Passover feast and expect the full appearence of God's salvation. In 1 Cor 5,7 Christians are reminded that »our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed«. This and other texts on eucharist in 1 Cor are a trace of last supper as Jesus' Passover. In committing his disciples »to do this in memory of me« (Lk 22,19d = 1 Cor 11,24c) Jesus gave paschal character to his farewell meal. Maranatha (1 Cor 16,22; Rv 22,20) reflects eschatological aspect of the eucharist and of the Church, who is being constituted and manifested at her eucharist. 3. Your kingdom come. This prayer of Jesus involves his preaching and enacting of God's reign. It includes his experience of God as Abba and his willingness to seek first the kingdom of God (Mt 6,32 - Lk 12,31). In his words and deeds Jesus has taken away the apocalyptic veil from the concept of kingdom (entapokalyptisiert - H. Schürmann) but he kept the eschatological aspect of it. When we Christians pray this prayer of our Lord we should recognize the signs of God's presence in our world and be obedient instruments of his saving activity. 4. Eschatological, not cataclysmic orientation of pilgrim Church on earth. In immediate context of Heb 13,7-9 first generation of Christian hegoumenoi (leaders of a group living in diaspora) have died but Jesus remains our high priest forever. Celebration of the second millenium of incarnation is a kairos or favorable opportunity and challenge to reaffirm the Christian view of future. It is »paradigm for transcendence« (J. Moltmann).

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