Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our reading of the Old Testament speaks of a vision of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham. In a dream Jacob saw a stairway to heaven.
"And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was resting on the ground, and its head touched heaven: and behold angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, Jehovah was on high above it, who said: I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land in which you lie is I will give it to you and to your seed. "
There are many religions in this world, but apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, they all have the same message. You have to climb the stairway to heaven by your own strength. As in the school there are successive grades, a person must pass the tests to advance spiritually. Some religions emphasize external good works. Others say to advance spiritually is to gain secret wisdom, through visions or personal experiences.
This model of spirituality is not the truth. No human being can climb the stairway to heaven. The truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has done everything for us, suffered and died in our places and won for us the promise of eternal life.
The stairway in Jacob's dream was not given for Jacob to ascend to God. On the contrary, God the Father Almighty sent His message to Jacob through His holy angels, His messengers. God said to Jacob, "I am with you."
What happened to Jacob? He cheated his brother, Esau, of his inheritance and his father's blessing. Esau swore to kill his brother, so, Jacob fled from the house and the land of his parents. In a place away from his father, he felt far away from the God of his parents, too. However, God is everywhere.
Jacob was not spiritually advanced. He was guilty of cheating his brother and abandoning his family. But, in the solitude of that place, God promised him many offspring.
"And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south." Furthermore, this dream was a messianic prophecy: "All the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your seed. " Note, not many descendants, but only one. This seed is the Promised One of Abraham, King David and all the Old Testament believers. This promise is written in the first book of the Old Testament.
Therefore, in our gospel (Matthew 9: 1-8) the scribes knew the meaning of the words of Jesus. "Believe, son; your sins are forgiven you. "They said," This one blasphemes," because only God can forgive sins. Jesus replied, "That you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, (says then to the paralytic): Get up, take your bed, and go home. Then he got up and went home. "
The angels were messengers of God in the Old Testament. Now Jesus is the messenger and He is God, too. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament. He is our stairway to heaven
By nature, we are trapped in the bottom of a well. Other religions agree that this is the state of man, but they say there is a ladder on which we can climb by our own works. The truth is Jesus Christ has come down from heaven and has rescued us from the well, and has brought each one of us to the heavens on his shoulders. In this hope we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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