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lapazfarm
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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 8:29am | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

OK, I have a theological question I am hoping some of you more knowledgeable ladies can help me with.
From yesterday's gospel (Mark 13:30-31, speaking of the end times):

"But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."


How can it be that the Son does not know? I am not so interested in the end times, but the fact that there is something the Father knows but the Son does not. This does not sit well with my understanding of the relationship between the Father and the Son...can some one help me out here?

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 8:49am | IP Logged Quote Dawn

Theresa, I can't help you, but wanted to say that also caught my attention. I am so glad you asked this question, as I too am eager to understand.

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 9:38am | IP Logged Quote kingvozzo

I was wondering the same thing....

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 10:58am | IP Logged Quote Michaela

lapazfarm wrote:

How can it be that the Son does not know? I am not so interested in the end times, but the fact that there is something the Father knows but the Son does not. This does not sit well with my understanding of the relationship between the Father and the Son...can some one help me out here?


Our study group touched on this last Thursday. It started with my questions trying to understand the relationships in the Trinity better.

The instructor, our parish DRE, basically said.........It's a Mystery.     
Noone knows what Jesus knew, but Jesus doesn't lie so he didn't know this. Which confused me more.....Jesus is God...so, how does He not know? Answer: "It's a Mystery"    Ugh!     That doesn't help when there is a JW in the family stirring the pot.

I've pulled out a few books to read while waiting at my OB appt this morning. I searched at Catholic Answers, but didn't find anything. The homily didn't explain the verse either.

I hope there is more discussion here about this.

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 11:19am | IP Logged Quote stefoodie

Thanks for starting the discussion. I don't know anything about this either, but did find these:

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1993/9301frs.asp

http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=3344

http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=918

The last two are from Catholic Culture, so maybe Jenn can jump in here?

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 11:43am | IP Logged Quote kjohnson

I promised myself that I wouldn’t reply to any more threads on theological issues, but I just can’t seem to exercise self-control and I am slapping my own hands as I continue to type.

First, keep in mind that MUCH is lost in translations. In the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom (who understood and spoke the Koine Greek of the Gospels) addressed this verse in his Homily LXXVII. I think this is the best explanation and I like it better than St. Augustine’s (Sermon XLVII), who says the same thing.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” By saying, not the angels, He stopped their mouths, that they should not seek to learn what these angels know not; and by saying, “neither the Son,” forbids them not only to learn, but even to inquire.”

I won’t quote the rest of the long sermon, but the point this Church Father is making is that we shouldn’t preoccupy ourselves with trying to figure out when the Son will return. The aim of the spiritual life is to be ever-vigilant, which is the point of our Advent preparations and most definitely something we need to be reminded of before the Solemnity of Christ the King, the only feast of the Church in which we celebrate something that has yet to take place.

St. John Chyrsostom explained that in order to honor his disciples and to conceal nothing from them, he refers the matter to his Father in order to exclude the matter from their inquiry. If Jesus revealed the day and hour to us, we would procrastinate and more than likely put off our preparations until the last moment. But not knowing the day and hour, we are constantly a people waiting and preparing.

The saint continues by writing that Jesus clearly knows the Father and is clearly known by Him and that Jesus has “full perception” of these secrets. It is not a matter of Jesus being ignorant of these matters, but that He will not open these doors to His followers. His sermon goes on to say, “I lead thee to the very vestibule; and if I do not open unto thee the doors, this also I do for your good.” He also writes, “the silence is not a mark of ignorance on His part.” Jesus speaks of the signs and therefore is not ignorant of the day. But having in mind our weak human wills which are in need of purification, and wanting to encourage His children to live lives of spiritual vigilance, what He means by this statement is not that He is ignorant, but that this matter is not a part of Divine Revelation.

And this is why we celebrate Sunday’s feast. We weak children must be reminded to prepare and the Church, the wise Mother that she is, offers us seasons to do just that.

Better cut this short, my 3 year old just had a mac and cheese disaster!


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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 12:22pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Thanks for a very readable explanation, so it's good you jumped into the theological thread, Katherine (no need to slap those hands).

I was glad Stef posted the links - particulalry the one to Catholic Answers (This Rock). That is where I almost always go first for questions like this because their explanations in the faith tracts and magazine articles are always very understandable to me (- the language is not so deep it goes over my simple mind). There are quotes there from various Church Fathers on the topic (including St. John Chrystostom like Katherine quoted) which give a variety of wordings and thoughts to explain how this passage is not contradictory to our belief that the Son is indeed one in being/knowing with the Father.   

In addition, here is a quote from a longer article on the topic from the Catholic Encyclopedia online. See the entire article here.

"(3) Two important texts are urged against this perfection of Christ's knowledge: Luke, ii, 52 demands an advancement in knowledge in the case of Christ; this text has already been considered in the last paragraph. The other text is Mark, xiii, 32: "Of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father." After all that has been written on this question in recent years, we see no need to add anything to the traditional explanations: the Son has no knowledge of the judgment day which He may communicate; or, the Son has no knowledge of this event, which spring from His human nature as such, or again, the Son has no knowledge of the day and the hour, that has not been communicated to Him by the Father. (See Mangenot in Vigouroux, "Dict. de la Bible", II, Paris, 1899, 2268 sqq.)"

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 1:05pm | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

OK, I have been reading all of these and I think I understand what they are saying, but I have to admit I still do not really "get it". I guess I will have to mull this over a bit more.

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 1:32pm | IP Logged Quote Taffy

Well, I'm going to stick my large foot into my enormous mouth here and posit an explanation.

To my mind, the Trinity is a single entity with three parts, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three parts, (or persona) relate to us in different ways.

The Holy Spirit is sometimes thought of as our conscience - the little voice in our heads that tells us when we are in sin. It is also the "muse" that guides us to the Father.

The Son is our Teacher. He came and explained, in great detail, what exactly the Father is and what He wants from us. He also tells us what we must do to gain eternal life. And He is also the One who makes the Father accessible via His perfect sacrifice - death on the cross.

The Father is the persona that has authority over the entire Trinity. He's the brains - the decision maker.

If one thinks of the Trinity in this way, then the verse makes sense. Of course, the Son knows when the Father's decided for the end time to come. But His function is to communicate what the Father wishes us to know. Jesus knows that we are not to know when the end time is to come for all the reasons stated so eloquently above. By saying that He doesn't know, He is saying that we are not meant to know.

At least, that's my interpretation of things. I could be entirely wrong on this. Apologetics is not my strong point (an enormous understatement) and I am pretty uneducated when it comes to this sort of thing. If I am in error, please let me know so that I may learn.


(I've edited this post for clarity - I hope I've succeeded. )

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 1:54pm | IP Logged Quote kjohnson

Taffy wrote:
Of course, the Son knows when the Father's decided for the end time to come. But His function is to communicate what the Father wishes us to know.


I think this is beautifully put!

We all have our favorite ways of describing the mystery of the Trinity and I think we all realize the impossibility of the ability of our human minds to grasp it this side of Paradise. We always fall short.

Remember the story of St. Augustine as he was writing on the Trinity? He was walking along the shore and saw a little boy dipping a shell into the ocean and filling a hole he had dug with the ocean water. St. Augustine asked him what he was doing and the young boy replied that he was going to empty the ocean into his hole in the sand. St. Augustine told the young boy that what he was attempting to do was impossible. The boy responded that he would be able to empty the entire ocean in that small hole in the sand much sooner than St. Augustine would be able to understand the Holy Trinity.

Keep that in mind, Theresa, as you mull this over. NONE OF US really understands this mystery (not even the greatest western church father!)

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 2:34pm | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

kjohnson wrote:

Keep that in mind, Theresa, as you mull this over. NONE OF US really understands this mystery (not even the greatest western church father!)


Well,hopefully that doesn't stop us from trying, right!? At least I am ingood company!

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 3:18pm | IP Logged Quote MicheleQ

Taffy wrote:
To my mind, the Trinity is a single entity with three parts, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three parts, (or persona maybe?) have different functions and relate to us in different ways.


Taffy,

No foot in your mouth but you might want to read what the Catechism has to say about the Trinity

254 "The divine persons are really distinct from one another. 'God is one but not solitary.' 'Father', 'Son', 'Holy Spirit' are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: 'He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.' They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds." The divine Unity is Triune.

255 The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: 'In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance.' Indeed 'everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship.' 'Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.'"


Now, while it is true that the Trinity is a mystery that doesn't mean we can't understand it - but rather it means we cannot understand it completely. But there are aspects of it that we can and do understand.

God bless!



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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 4:28pm | IP Logged Quote kjohnson

MicheleQ wrote:
Now, while it is true that the Trinity is a mystery that doesn't mean we can't understand it - but rather it means we cannot understand it completely. But there are aspects of it that we can and do nderstand.


This is a good point, Michele. While we can't completely understand the nature of the Trinity we do know beyond doubt some things about it. We have to be careful to always define the Trinity within the framework of 3 distinct Persons sharing 1 Divine Nature. If you flesh out the idea that the Persons of the Trinity are 3 different persona or functions you actually get the heresy called Modalism.

But I think that Taffy's point regarding Theresa's question about Sunday's gospel reading and how it was not Jesus' purpose to reveal this mystery of the end is on the money.

Thanks for a great discussion today, ladies.

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 4:43pm | IP Logged Quote Taffy

Yikes! This "modalism" thinking is not what I was meaning at all!

I'm going to edit my previous post to try and illustrate my point better. Thanks for the feedback.

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 5:03pm | IP Logged Quote kjohnson

Taffy wrote:
Yikes! This "modalism" thinking is not what I was meaning at all!

I'm going to edit my previous post to try and illustrate my point better. Thanks for the feedback.


I definitely knew that was not what you meant. I did the same thing last week in another thread...too bad I didn't think of going back and editing it. You're one clever cookie!

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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 5:10pm | IP Logged Quote MicheleQ

Taffy,

Could I persuade you to edit your original post in a way that leaves your original one but adds your clarifications at the bottom? I say this because I DO think it could be helpful for someone to read it and then see the clarification. It's easy (for any of us) to get off track in our thinking or to simply not be able to express ourselves adaquately and it's not at all a bad witness to be able to recognize that. Does that make sense?



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Posted: Nov 20 2006 at 5:12pm | IP Logged Quote MicheleQ

kjohnson wrote:
But I think that Taffy's point regarding Theresa's question about Sunday's gospel reading and how it was not Jesus' purpose to reveal this mystery of the end is on the money.


I agree! That is in fact how I have heard it explained and it makes sense to me (in so far as my tiny mind can comprehend it).

God bless!

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Posted: Nov 21 2006 at 8:29pm | IP Logged Quote TracyQ

LOL! I'm SO glad to read that I wasn't the only one who got caught off guard when hearing this. I don't have time to read this thread now, but will come back tomorrow to read it in depth. Thanks!

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