Image and Likeness

God is Father-Son-Spirit. We’re God’s image and likeness. Gen 1:26-27. God created the marriage covenant Gen 2:24God-Adam-Eve. God is the author of the New and Eternal Covenant, the father of all covenants. The Holy Family is Jesus-Mary-Joseph. True marriage in the New and Eternal Covenant is the Sacrament of Matrimony. St. John Paul II gives a deep and beautiful explanation in his Theology of the Body, God-Man-Woman.

From the dawn of creation, in making us his image and likeness, God gave us a very special gift. § 1700 “The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God.” § 27 “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.” St. Augustine put it, § 30 “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” God created us to know, love and serve him in this life, and to be happy with him in the life to come.

For His Purpose

Isaiah shows us that God created everything in the universe to teach us something. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I intend, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” Is 55:10-11.

The vast material universe sustains our corporeal lives so that Rabbi Yeshua’s presence on earth, the Holy Eucharist which we receive in the Catholic Church, can sustain our spiritual lives. These horizontal and vertical dimensions fit together perfectly as a Cross, God’s signature: I AM.

Free Will

Rabbi Yeshua loves us so much that he put our well-being above his own Lk 22:42! To redeem us from the original sin and open heaven for us he took on our sins 2 Cor 5:21 and endured the Cross Jn 19:30. This is his infinite agape love for us. We who are Rabbi Yeshua‘s image and likeness therefore give him agape love, putting his will above ours in the New and Eternal Covenant.

Rabbi Yeshua redeemed us by his obedient death on the Cross. He obediently allowed the Sanhedrin to demand his Crucifixion and Pilate to order it. If he had not freely willed it, but had been crucified anyway in the same way, at the same time, in the same place, there would have been no redemption. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” Rom 5:19. “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name Phil 2:8-9. St. Bernard confirmed it. “Non mors placuit sed voluntas sponte morientis.” (It is not the death itself that saved us, but his obedience unto death.)

With all his awesome authority, God is humble! The Father is humbleRabbi Yeshua told us, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” Mt 28:18The Son is humble. “I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak” Jn 12:49The Holy Spirit is humble. “The Spirit of truth … will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but … he will take what is mine and declare it to you” Jn 16:13-14. The Son of God, visiting us in this life, could have lived as the magnificent king he is. But he chose to live a humble life. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” Mt 8:20.

Agape love is the free decision to put another’s will above our own. We love Rabbi Yeshua  because he is magnificently good and beautiful, not because he is able to give us what we want, such as more pleasure in our earthly life or even joy in eternal life.

God alone knows what is best for us from an eternal perspective. Since we should want what is best for us from an eternal perspective, perfect freedom exists only when we obey God.

Total human obedience to God brings us closest to Rabbi Yeshua, and therefore to who we really are. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” Lk 1:38. The soul that moves away from obedience and towards disobedience replaces tranquility with stress. Like a medieval peasant on a torturer’s rack, his soul is torn between the saint he was created to be and the sinner he has chosen to become.