The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Learning through Art: Junius Bassus Sarcophagus

Authored by Dr. Caroline Farey in Issue #34.2 of The Sower
There are several reasons why this is an extraordinary image to use catechetically and why it is so perfectly suited to illustrate Part Three of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. One reason is that it links those who are going through the RCIA process today to someone who had been through the RCIA in the fourth century! The young man for whom this tomb was made is named Junius Bassus and the inscription across the top of the sarcophagus states clearly that Junius was a ‘neophyte gone to God’, ‘neofitus iit ad deum’. It may be that he was dying and was baptized on his deathbed; or it may be that he had been a catechumen in the normal way and had been baptized at some point within the previous year. Whatever his particular circumstances, we can see from these earliest times in the Church, that those newly baptised were called those with new (neo) nature (physis), now united with the life of Jesus Christ. ‘New birth, ‘newly planted’ into Christ or ‘newly alive’ are the usual translations for the great event, the great ontological change that takes place at baptism.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact [email protected]

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Mary’s Motherhood: A Healing Balm in Our Modern Times
By Megan Madden
Free There ’s something particularly mysterious about the motherhood of Mary. Her fiat that shook the whole world as the uncontainable God chose to be contained within her womb. Her prompting at the wedding at Cana, “do whatever he tells you,” echoing through generations as if she is saying it directly to us. Her overwhelming trust in God as she... Read more
The Eucharist and Our Call to Mission
By Dr. James Pauley
Free What does it mean to receive the Eucharist, to enter into communion with Jesus? We catechists can be so (rightfully!) focused on explaining how the Eucharist is Jesus himself that we might not spend time with our students considering the ramifications of receiving this divine gift. What does receiving the Eucharist mean for us? Is it for our... Read more
The Passover and the Eucharist as Redemptive Sacrifices
By Ben Safranski
I suspect that most Catholics who have some familiarity with the Bible and the Eucharist could tell you that the Eucharistic celebration, rooted in the Last Supper, has connections with the Passover of Exodus and Jewish practice. We know that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper in the context of the Passover Feast and that he and his apostles used... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now