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Jesus is Lord

  • KENNETH BAKER, S.J

I would like to call your attention to the fact that all the prayers of the Church are directed to God the Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


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Not only in the liturgy, but also in our religious conversation, we are accustomed to call Jesus "Lord".

After proclaiming our belief in one God in the first part of the Creed, we move on to profess our belief in Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Since most of revelation comes through Jesus Christ, since he is one of us by reason of his being born into this world of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a certain place and at a certain time, and since we know more about him than we do about the other two divine Persons, we confess our belief in him in much more detail than we do in the case of the Father and the Holy Spirit.

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ." The first affirmation we make about Jesus is that he is the Lord. The full meaning of the title includes the notions of authority, dominion, kingship and divinity.

In the Old Testament the title "Lord" or "Kyrios" was applied to Yahweh to signify his dominion over all things, including the gods of the pagans. In this sense he was also called the "Lord of lords". Toward the end of the Old Testament period the title "Lord" tended to replace the older "Yahweh", which was not even pronounced by pious Jews because of the sacredness of the name. Thus "Lord" came gradually to be used as the name of God himself.

In the Gospels, Jesus is rarely called "Lord", with the exception of a few times in Luke and John. The Apostles and first disciples did not come to the full realization that Jesus was God until after his Resurrection and after they had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Once they had reached that realization they did not hesitate to attribute to him the divine title of "Lord" as used in the Old Testament.

When Jesus appeared to Thomas and showed him the wounds in his hands, feet and side, Thomas exclaimed "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28). This profession "Jesus is Lord" was very common among the early Christians. St. Paul is constantly referring to Jesus as the "Lord", or he addresses his converts "in the Lord". In 1 Corinthians (12:3) he says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit." Paul claims that he is not preaching himself but "Christ Jesus as the Lord" (2 Cor 4:5). The Acts of the Apostles speaks a number of times about the first Christians being "baptized in the Lord".

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Acknowledgement

Kenneth Baker, S.J. "Jesus is Lord." In Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1 Part 1, Chapter 4 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 36-38.

This article reprinted with permission from Father Kenneth Baker, S.J.

The Author

bakerbaker1Father Kenneth Baker, S.J., assumed editorship of Homiletic & Pastoral Review in April 1971 and remained in this position for almost forty years. In 1983 he published a three-volume explanation of the faith called Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1, Creed and Commandments; Vol. 2, God, Trinity, Creation, Christ, Mary; and Vol. 3, Grace, the Church, the Sacraments, Eschatology

Copyright © 1995 Kenneth Baker, S.J
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