“It is impossible to understand what Jesus’ rising from the dead is about if we think of it as the resuscitation of a dead man. He is not described as starting life over again. He did not mythically represent new vegetation after the rains of winter are over, or human life perpetually coming forth from the dark womb of earth. He was, for the Jews who first believed in him, the ‘first-fruits’ of a harvest of all the dead. If you had the faith of the Pharisees, his appearance would have startled you, but it would not have surprised you. You would have been stunned chiefly that he was alone. That he was risen in the body was something that ultimately you could cope with.

It seems strange, at this distance of years, to try to re-create a world we have such sparse information about. We cannot reconstruct ancient Jewish religious thought and make it ours. We can save ourselves a lot of headaches, though, if we realize how much preparedness there was in those times for the notion of being raised from the dead. … After an initial shock no less than ours, pharisaic Jews like Peter and James would think, ‘God’s reign has begun! But where are the others?’

Gerard Sloyan

Quote of the Week: First Fruits

“Even though we are baptized, what we constantly lose and betray is precisely that which we received at baptism. Therefore Easter is our return every year to our own baptism, whereas Lent is our preparation for that return — the slow and sustained effort to perform, at the end, our own ‘passage’ or ‘pascha’ into the new life in Christ…. Each year Lent and Easter are, once again, the rediscovery and the recovery by us of what we were made through our own baptismal death and resurrection.”

Alexander Schmemann

Quote of the Week: Baptism

“It is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away fro our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure.”

Thomas Merton

Quote of the Week: Freedom in Darkness

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 3-26-17

Image from Pixabay“When Jesus heard that they had thrown him [the man born blind] out, he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him.”
Jn. 9:35-38

Faith is a gift.

The story of the man born blind, at its roots, is a story of coming to faith. At the beginning of the story, the man cannot see. Jesus heals his physical blindness which begins the process of healing a deeper blindness. As the blind man encounters persecution, he comes to see who Jesus really is. First, he sees Jesus as a healer, then a prophet, and finally, when Jesus reveals Himself, as the promised Son of Man. The Lord has healed his “inner eye.”

The man who was blind can now see with the eyes of faith.

The Pharisees follow the opposite path. They begin physically able to see. But as the story progresses they reveal the blindness of their own “inner eye.” A miracle has happened, yet they cannot recognize it for what it is. Nor can they recognize Jesus for who He is. No proof is enough for them because they lack faith. Any explanation will do except the recognition that Jesus is the Son of Man who has been promised. They will continue to persecute those who see what they cannot. Their faith is dead even though Jesus is standing right in front of them.

During lent, we are called to deepen our faith. Jesus reveals Himself to us in the Scriptures and in the Sacraments. Indeed, our entire lives can open us to believe in Jesus. We pray that our “inner eye” will be opened and Jesus will reveal Himself to us in new ways.

Beg the Lord for the gift of faith. He will empower you to believe. Like the man born blind, it may take adversity to open our “inner eye” to see the truth of who Jesus is. If we persevere, we will see.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood

 

“Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor.”

St. John Chrysostom

Quote of the Week: Fasting from Gossip

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 3-19-17

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“… the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Rm. 5:5

“There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there too. But more often stones and grit block the well, and God is buried beneath. Then God must be dug out again.”
Etty Hillesum

We thirst.

In the first reading (Ex. 17:3-7) we hear of the people’s thirst. God freed them from Egypt and as they wander in the desert they become thirsty. This thirst leads to quarreling and resentment. They become so angry that Moses is afraid for his life.

God responds to their thirst. He commands Moses to provide them with water. God cares about His people’s thirst and responds.

The theme of thirst goes deeper in the Gospel story of the woman at the well. Jesus sits at a well. He is thirsty. God is thirsty. Jesus thirst comes first.

Then along comes the woman. Like each of us, she comes to the well because she is thirsty. Perhaps her life has become routine and empty. She has sought fulfillment (five husbands). But still, she thirsts. She comes to the well, seeking something to quench her thirst.

And she finds Jesus at the well

Something happens.

This mysterious encounter with Jesus quenches the woman’s thirst. She leaves her water jar beside the well. With renewed energy, she returns to her village trying to share this powerful encounter with others. It has changed her. Jesus has changed her. He has satisfied her deepest longing.

Each day, Jesus comes to us. He thirsts for us. He pours his Spirit into our hearts so that our deepest thirst can be quenched. Like God coming to His people and like Jesus at the well, the deepest longings of our heart can be fulfilled in a mysterious encounter with Jesus.

This encounter is prayer.

In prayer, something happens. This encounter digs out the well within our hearts where Jesus thirsts for us. Each day, when we come to prayer, we come to the well. At the well of prayer, we encounter Jesus who can fulfill our deepest desires. He transforms us.

This encounter is what lent is all about.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood