Thursday, February 15, 2007

blood and water - Eros and Agape

"Him whom they have pierced"

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced in the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God Himself who begs the love of His creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as "Lord and God" when he put his hand into the wound of His side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love. One could rightly say that the revelation of God’s eros toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of His agape. In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy, which eases the heaviest of burdens. Jesus said: "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12:32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome His love and allow ourselves to be drawn to Him. Accepting His love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ "draws me to Himself" in order to unite Himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with His own love.

Blood and water

"They shall look on Him whom they have pierced." Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow "blood and water" (Jn 19:34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves, in trustful abandonment, to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. Saint John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3,14ff). Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: "The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation … we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving" (Encyclical
Deus caritas est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a "Eucharistic" time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating "Him whom they have pierced" moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people.

From the 2007 Lenten message of B-16

Monday, February 05, 2007

Eucharist

Isaiah 6
1: In the year that King Uzzi'ah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.
2: Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3: And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory."
4: And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
5: And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
6: Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7: And he touched my mouth, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven."
8: And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

Geshem

Continuing on the subject of water...

John 7
35: The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we shall not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?

36: What does he mean by saying, `You will seek me and you will not find me,' and, `Where I am you cannot come'?"
37: On the last day of the feast, the great day,

(pause)
The feast is the Festival of Tabernacles, or Festival of Booths (Sukkot in Hebrew). The "great day" is the eighth day, Shemini Atzeret, which transcends the 7 day festival. On this day there is public prayer of the Geshem (גשם), an evocation for rain after the dry months.
(resume)

37: On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.
38: He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, `Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"
39: Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.