Chapter 3: The Promise Is Fulfilled in Christ THE MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate a reading of the Annunciation (cf. Lk 1:26–38) into the class’s opening prayer. You may wish to make this the basis of a meditation during which you pray the first decade of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation BASIC QUESTIONS • Why is Mary said to be “full of grace”? • How did Mary respond to grace? • Who is St. Joseph? KEY IDEAS • Mary is “full of grace” because of her Immaculate Conception, a gift appropriate in virtue of her role as Mother of God. • Wholly borne by grace, Mary assented to and cooperated in God’s plan and never committed an actual sin. • Mary’s spouse, Joseph, a “just man,” also freely cooperated with God’s plan and became Jesus’ foster father, helping provide a human family for Christ.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the Paschal Mystery? The redemption accomplished by the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What is the geographical difference between the events of the Annunciation and the Nativity? The Annunciation took place in Nazareth, a small town in the region of the north of Israel called Galilee, whereas the Nativity occurred in Bethlehem near Jerusalem in Judea. What does “full of grace” mean, according to CCC 490? It means that Mary was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to someone who would be the mother of the Savior. Mary was wholly borne by God’s grace, which made it possible for her to make her free assent of faith.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation GUIDED EXERCISE Have the students write for a few minutes on the questions listed under “This Chapter Will Address Several Questions” that they currently know the most about. Briefly share responses.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation FOCUS QUESTIONS What does “full of grace” mean in relation to the term “kecharitomene”? Luke relates the angel Gabriel giving this Greek word, which we translate as “full of grace,” as a proper name for Mary, a term never before used as a title in Sacred Scripture. What is the relationship of “full of grace” to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception? “Full of grace” expresses the fully developed doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is “The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.”
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the significance of the name that God gives his Son? The name, Jesus, means, “God saves.” It expresses Jesus’ identity and mission as the Son of God who would save the people from their sins. Why is Mary traditionally called the spouse of the Holy Spirit? Because, as Gabriel explained, the child would be born of the Holy Spirit. For the first and only time in human history a woman would conceive a child by divine intervention. What does the Virgin Birth mean? It means that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed.”
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation GUIDED EXERCISE Have the students work with a partner to make a bullet point summary of implications of the Immaculate Conception for Mary based on the paragraph beginning, “This perennial teaching of the Church” (p. 73) and CCC 493.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the theological meaning of Jesus’ divine sonship? Jesus is a divine Person with two natures, one human and one divine. What is the relationship between Mary’s “yes” and Eve’s “no”? Mary’s “yes” to God overturned Eve’s “no” to him, which created the need for a Savior.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the Incarnation? It is the conception of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In what sense does salvation depend on Mary? The Incarnation required Mary’s consent. What is Mary’s “fiat”? “Fiat” is Latin for “be it done to me” and refers to Mary’s consent to the Angel’s announcement.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a think/pair/share on the following question: How does Mary fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy that “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us)”?
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation FOCUS QUESTIONS How do Mary’s and Joseph’s cooperation indicate man’s role in God’s salvation? God counts on faith-filled human cooperation to implement his plan of salvation. Man’s role is to cooperate freely with God. What does Scripture mean when it refers to Joseph as a “just man”? It means he was someone faithful to God’s will. What was Joseph’s role in Jesus’ life? He was Jesus’ legal, not biological, father. God wanted Jesus to be born into a family so he could be formed by both a father and a mother, thus sharing fully in the human experience.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation FOCUS QUESTIONS What was Joseph’s annunciation? Joseph had discovered that Mary was going to have a baby. In a dream he learned from an angel that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit. What was Joseph’s “fiat”? Without saying a word, Joseph “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” Which persons best exemplify cooperation with God in the work of salvation? The saints, beginning with Mary and Joseph.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation CLOSURE Have the students write a paragraph explaining the meaning of the Angel’s greeting that Mary is “full of grace.”
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Reading • Genealogy of Christ through the sidebar The Ark of the Covenant (pp. 76–79) Study Questions • Questions 1-6. • Practical Exercise 1. Workbook • Questions 1–10.
1. The Announcement of Jesus’ Incarnation ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Have the students create a graphic organizer comparing the two “annunciations” to each Mary and Joseph. Possible categories to compare them are: To whom the announcement is made. Who makes the announcement. The role of fear. The message of the announcement. How the persons respond.
2. The Genealogies and the Visitation ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate a reading of the events surrounding the Visitation (cf. Lk 1: 5–25, 39–80) into the class’s opening prayer. You may wish to make this the basis of a meditation during which you pray the second decade of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
2. Man’s Early Immortality BASIC QUESTIONS What do the genealogies of Christ teach? How is Mary the Ark of the Covenant? KEY IDEAS Luke’s and Matthew’s genealogies teach us that Jesus Christ is the son of Abraham in the line of the Davidic kings and a son of Adam whose salvation is for all men: both the Chosen People and Gentiles of every age and condition. Mary’s visit to Elizabeth reveals that the pregnant Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant.
2. Man’s Early Immortality GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a think/pair/share on the following question: How does Matthew’s genealogy imply that Jesus is the perfect descendant or “doubly perfect” son of David and Abraham?
2. Man’s Early Immortality FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the most basic difference between Luke’s and Matthew’s genealogies of Christ’s ancestry? Luke begins with Jesus and traces him back to Adam. Matthew begins with Abraham and traces his descendants forward through David to Jesus. What is the basic point of Luke’s genealogy? Jesus is the “new Adam.” Not only is he a descendant of Adam but he will redeem every descendant of Adam. Is Matthew’s genealogy a listing of Jewish saints? No. It includes great figures in Jewish history as well as horrible failures.
2. Man’s Early Immortality FOCUS QUESTIONS How does Matthew’s genealogy support Jesus’ kingship? It shows that Jesus is descended from the long line of Davidic kings. What is significant in Matthew’s inclusion of women in his genealogy? It was customary to limit genealogies to a person’s male ancestors, reflecting the attitude of the “insignificance” of women. Matthew’s inclusion reflected that Christ would restore women to their original dignity and equality with men.
2. Man’s Early Immortality FOCUS QUESTIONS How did Pilate acknowledge Jesus’ universal kingship? He directed that a parchment with the words, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” be placed on the Cross in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, languages, which represent the universality of Christ’s kingship, which includes both the Chosen People and the Gentiles. What is one way that David’s transfer of the Ark to Jerusalem and Mary’s visit to Elizabeth were similar? When the Ark was brought into Jerusalem, David danced for joy. When Mary came into Elizabeth’s presence, the baby in her womb “leapt for joy.”
2. Man’s Early Immortality FOCUS QUESTIONS Why is Mary properly called the Ark of the New Covenant? In her womb, she carried Jesus Christ, the presence of God on earth, who would establish the New Covenant in his Blood. How does Elizabeth acknowledge that Mary is the Mother of God? Elizabeth calls Mary “the Mother of my Lord.” How is the Hail Mary prayer one way in which Mary’s declaration that “All generations will call me blessed” came true? In the Hail Mary, we repeat the words of the angel Gabriel and Elizabeth, a prayer said by millions every day.
2. Man’s Early Immortality FOCUS QUESTIONS Do we know why Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth? We don’t know why. We only know she did immediately after the angel told her that Elizabeth was going to have a child in three months, the length of time Mary stayed with her. Extension: It was probably to help Elizabeth in the final months of her pregnancy. What is the Ark of the Covenant? It was an ornate box, designed by God, which contained some manna, Aaron’s rod, and the tables of the covenant. What did the Ark of the Covenant represent for the Chosen People? The presence of God.
2. Man’s Early Immortality GUIDED EXERCISE Have the students complete the following table to show how Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant.
2. Man’s Early Immortality GUIDED EXERCISE
2. Man’s Early Immortality Closure Have the students write a paragraph summarizing either what the genealogies reveal about Christ or how Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant.
2. Man’s Early Immortality HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Reading • The Birth of the Redeemer through The Finding in the Temple and Christ’s Obedience (pp. 80–86) Study Questions • Questions 7-12. • Practical Exercise 2. Workbook • Questions 11-12.
2. Man’s Early Immortality ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Have the students work with a partner to complete Practical Exercise 2on what ideas are present in Mary’s Magnificat (cf. Lk 1:46–55).
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate a reading of the Nativity (cf. Lk 2:1–21) into the class’s opening prayer. You may wish to make this the basis of a meditation during which you pray the third decade of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life BASIC QUESTIONS What is the Nativity? What is Christian poverty? What is the Presentation? What is the Finding in the Temple? Why did Jesus live obedience during his hidden years? KEY IDEAS Jesus was born in poverty in a stable in Bethlehem, witnessed by lowly shepherds and wise Gentiles. We are called to live the virtue of Christian poverty, which is detachment from material things. At the Presentation, Jesus was recognized as the Messiah by Anna and Simeon. At the Finding of Jesus in the Temple the child was revealed as wise Son of the Father. Jesus lived obedience in his ordinary, hidden life to undo the disobedience of Adam.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS What are examples of the poverty that Christ lived at the beginning and end of his life? He was born in a stable and on the Cross he died stripped of everything. What is Christian poverty? It is detachment from the material possessions of the world. How is Christian poverty both negative and positive? It is negative in that it means voluntarily not having or using things. It is positive in that this poverty gives us the freedom to put material things in their place and God in his.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS Who are the first persons to receive the good news of Jesus’ Birth? The shepherds who were watching their flocks in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. Why were the shepherds unlikely candidates to receive the news that a new King of the Jews had been born? They were poor and ignorant members of the lowest class in Jewish society. What does the privilege the shepherds received probably signify? It is for the poor and the humble that Christ had come.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS What does the angels’ announcement “for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” mean? (1) Christ was born for them, the poor and lowly. (2) He is the one indicated in Micah’s prophecy that a ruler will come from the city of David, and so from David’s line. (3) He is the long-awaited Messiah. (4) Jesus as Lord means he is Son of God. What is the significance of Christ being placed in a manger? It shows his poverty and that he came for the poor.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the significance of the visit from the wise men from the east? The visit from these Gentiles show that Christ came not only for Jews but for all people. What is the significance of the three gifts the wise men brought? Gold, frankincense, and myrrh represented, respectively, Christ’s kingship, his priesthood, and his crucifixion.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life GUIDED EXERCISE Have the students free write on ways they can practice a voluntary poverty in their current lives and what they might get out of it. Share responses.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS Can we live without material possessions? No. It is impossible. Why are material things a problem for religious life? Because they can become our “gods,” suffocating friendship with Christ. How is the episode with the rich young man a warning about attachment to material things? Even though he was obviously a good man, obeying all the commandments, he turned down the offer to be “perfect” and to be a follower of Christ because of his many possessions. What is the message of CCC 544? God has a preference for the poor and lowly.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS What was the dual purpose of the Presentation ritual? The cleansing of the mother from ritual impurity and the redeeming of the firstborn son. Why should Mary and Jesus have been exempt from these sacrifices? Mary had no need of purification, and Jesus didn’t need to be redeemed because he is the Redeemer. What conclusion can be drawn from the fact that the Holy Family nevertheless carried out the precepts of the Mosaic Law? They wanted to be obedient in everything. What did Simeon and Anna recognize in the baby Jesus? They recognized him as the Messiah.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life GUIDED EXERCISE Have the students read the Canticle of Simeon (cf. Lk 2:29–32) and work with a partner to explain what it means.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS Why was Jesus able to be lost for a whole day without his parents knowing it? The men and women were traveling separately in large groups. Jesus was twelve and he would have been able to travel with either the men or women. Both Joseph and Mary probably though Jesus was with the other. How long was Jesus lost to Mary and Joseph? Three days. How was the finding in the Temple a revelation of Christ’s divinity? Even though Jesus was only twelve, the teachers of Judaism were amazed at Jesus’ understanding. Jesus told his parents he was in his Father’s house, meaning that God was his Father.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life FOCUS QUESTIONS What virtue seems to be overriding in Jesus’ hidden life? Obedience. What does obedience involve inside a person? Obedience essentially involves submitting one’s actions to the will of another and, in many instances, consists in renouncing one’s own particular desires and preferences in deference to someone else’s.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life CLOSURE Have the students write a paragraph summarizing Jesus’ early life using the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Reading • Why the Word Became Flesh through The Word Became Flesh to Manifest God’s Love (pp. 86–91) Study Questions • Questions: 13-22. • Practical Exercise 3. Workbook • Questions 13-20.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Conduct a mini-lecture on the evangelical counsels. Christ requires all Christians to live the Ten Commandments interpreted in the sense of the new Law of Love. If we reject these we cannot be saved, so they are obligatory. There are also additional “counsels,” which Jesus advised but did not require, as when he told the rich young man, “If you would be perfect. . . .” He also spoke of voluntary celibacy for the kingdom of God. Christian tradition has identified three particular freely adoptable counsels, called the evangelical counsels because they come from the Gospel and can help perfect people on earth: they are chastity, poverty, and obedience.
3. Jesus’ Hidden Life ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT (continued) Chastity means celibacy for the kingdom of God in which one voluntarily gives up the good of marriage. Poverty means giving up the ownership and the security of possessions for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Obedience means rather than seeking honors and ruling over others, one becomes subject to a superior. The evangelical counsels are the basis of monasticism and the religious orders that have done so much good for the Church and her individual members. It is possible for a person to be married, rich, and powerful and live an exemplary Christian life if he or she also practices chastity, a voluntary detachment from material possessions, and humility.
4. Why the Word Became Flesh:To Reconcile Us and Show God’s Love ANTICIPATORY SET Teach the students the Angelus (p. T194). Explain that the Angelus honors Mary and calls to mind the Incarnation in which the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Have them pray it for the class’s opening prayer.
4. Why the Word Became Flesh:To Reconcile Us and Show God’s Love BASIC QUESTIONS Why did God become man? KEY IDEAS God became man to reconcile us with God by making expiation for our sins by his life and sufferings. God became man to show us the depths of his love.
4. Why the Word Became Flesh:To Reconcile Us and Show God’s Love FOCUS QUESTIONS Of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, why is it appropriate that God the Son be entrusted with the redemption of the world? Since in the original creation all things were made through him it is appropriate that all things would be redeemed by him. What are the four reasons presented in this chapter for why God became man? (1) To make expiation for our sins. (2) To manifest the depths of God’s love. (3) To give us a model of holiness. (4) To allow us to share in God’s divine life. What do reconcile and expiation mean? Reconcile means to be put in a right relationship. Expiation means to pay what is owed as a penalty for wrong doing.
4. Why the Word Became Flesh:To Reconcile Us and Show God’s Love FOCUS QUESTIONS Why did our first parents’ sin create an “ever-widening” rift between God and the human race? Original Sin opened the rift and every subsequent actual sin widens it. Why is Original Sin—and by extension every mortal sin—infinitely serious? Because these are offenses against a Person of infinite dignity. Why is it impossible for a human being or all human beings together to offer just atonement for sin? Because we are limited beings, we can only offer limited reparation. But, because infinite reparation is called for, only an infinite being—God—can offer adequate reparation.
4. Why the Word Became Flesh:To Reconcile Us and Show God’s Love FOCUS QUESTIONS Why is it necessary, though, that man offer reparation to God for sin? Because man is the one who brought sin into the world. What exactly was the redemptive sacrifice that Christ offered? Every action of Christ on earth from his conception until his Ascensions was redemptive, but especially, of course, his Passion. What are some less dramatic examples of Christ’s redemptive actions? Some examples are Christ’s poverty, which enriches us; his hidden life of submission, which atones for our disobedience; his preaching, which purifies us; and his taking on our infirmities, which heals and exorcises us.