“Our Report”: Who Has Believed Our Report?

The core of the Gospel is the birth of a “new being” a “new man” in Christ Jesus. The Church Fathers and Mothers proclaim, that He became like us in every way — human — without ceasing to be fully Divine; so we might become like Him in every way — partakers of His divine nature (energies not essence), that we might be fully human.

We become, by our baptism, completely His offspring. There is no inconsistency between Christ Jesus and us.

It would be like having an apple tree whose branches bear oranges. The tree and the branch do not share the same nature. The Mustard Seed Iconbranch must be an apple branch to bear the apples that are the fruit of the apple tree. Complete at-one-ment. Complete union. Complete harmony.

To continue the little analogy. For you and me, who, in our fallenness have ceased to be apple branches and become orange branches, we must die to our orange-ness and be reborn to our apple-ness.

Our witness (martyrdom) is dying to what is false and being raised (reborn) and growing up into what is true. The result is our “good and perfect report” that goes out into the world. It is the report of the truth of the Gospel. This is our one and only “sermon.” What is true of the tree is true of the branches. What is true of Christ is true of us. And, as a result, the fruit of the tree is born out.

The report of our life (apple tree life) goes out (apples). It is the report of Christ Jesus (the fruit of the apple tree). And, it is received by those who have hearts that are ready to receive it (People who want oranges will not eat our apples and people who do will.).

37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
“Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”
41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. (John 12.37-41)

Here is the way St. Gregory the Great articulates this mystery.

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“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12.24)

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'” (Mt 13.31). This small seed is for us the symbol of Jesus Christ, who, sowed into the garden where he was buried, rose from it shortly after, through his resurrection, as a big tree.

One could say that when he died he was like a small seed: a small seed because of the humiliation of his flesh, but a big tree because of the glorification of his majesty. He was like a small seed when he appeared completely disfigured before our eyes; but like a large tree when he rose again like “the most handsome of men” (Ps 44[45].3).

The branches of this mysterious tree are the holy preachers of the Gospel, of whom one of the Psalms indicates the reach: “Their report goes forth through all the earth, their message, to the ends of the world“ (Ps 19.5; cf Rom 10.18). The birds rest on these branches while the souls of the just, who have been raised up above earth’s attractions on the wings of holiness, find in the words of these preachers of the Gospel the consolation they need in the sorrows and difficulties of this life. Saint Gregory the Great (c.540-604), Homilies on Matthew, ch.13

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