The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for May, 2008

Prayers for my Uncle

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 31, 2008

My Uncle Allen has been battling cancer for some time, and I just learned today that it has spread to his liver. The Doctors give him between 6 and 18 months to live. Please remember him and his family in your prayers

St Peregrine, Patron of cancer sufferers, pray for him.

Prayer to Saint Peregrine

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called “The Mighty,” “The Wonder-Worker,” because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you.

For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you.
(Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying)
Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy.

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May With Mary Day 31 Blessed Isaac of Stella on Mary and the Church

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 31, 2008

H/T Argent by the Tiber

The Son of God is the first-born of many brothers. Although by nature he is the only-begotten, by grace he has joined many to himself and made them one with him. For to those who receive him he has given the power to become the sons of God.

He became the Son of man and made many men sons of God, uniting them to himself by his love and power, so that they became as one. In themselves they are many by reason of their human descent, but in him they are one by divine rebirth.

The whole Christ and the unique Christ – the body and the head – are one: one because born of the same God in heaven, and of the same mother on earth. They are many sons, yet one son. Head and members are one son, yet many sons; in the same way, Mary and the Church are one mother, yet more than one mother; one virgin, yet more than one virgin.

Both are mothers, both are virgins. Each conceives of the same Spirit, without concupiscence. Each gives birth to a child of God the Father, without sin. Without any sin, Mary gave birth to Christ the head for the sake of his body. By the forgiveness of every sin, the Church gave birth to the body, for the sake of its head. Each is Christ’s mother, but neither gives birth to the whole Christ without the cooperation of the other.

In the inspired Scriptures, what is said in a universal sense of the virgin mother, the Church, is understood in an individual sense of the Virgin Mary, and what is said in a particular sense of the virgin mother Mary is rightly understood in a general sense of the virgin mother, the Church. When either is spoken of, the meaning can be understood of both, almost without qualification.

In a way, every Christian is also believed to be a bride of God’s Word, a mother of Christ, his daughter and sister, at once virginal and fruitful. These words are used in a universal sense of the Church, in a special sense of Mary, in a particular sense of the individual Christian. They are used by God’s Wisdom in person, the Word of the Father.

This is why Scripture says: I will dwell in the inheritance of the Lord. The Lord’s inheritance is, in a general sense, the Church; in a special sense, Mary; in an individual sense, the Christian.
Christ dwelt for nine months in the tabernacle of Mary’s womb. He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the Church’s faith. He will dwell for ever in the knowledge and love of each faithful soul.

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May With Mary Day 30 Ambrose on the Visitation

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2008

H/T Argent by the Tiber

The angel Gabriel had announced the news of something that was as yet hidden and so, to buttress the Virgin Mary’s faith by means of a real example, he told her also that an old and sterile woman had conceived, showing that everything that God willed was possible to God.

When Mary heard this she did not disbelieve the prophecy, she was not uncertain of the message, she did not doubt the example: but happy because of the promise that had been given, eager to fulfil her duty as a cousin, hurried by her joy, she went up into the hill country.

Where could she hurry to except to the hills, filled with God as she was? The grace of the Holy Spirit does not admit of delays. And Mary’s arrival and the presence of her Son quickly show their effects: As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting her child leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

See the careful distinction in the choice of words. Elizabeth was the first to hear the voice but her son John was the first to feel the effects of grace. She heard as one hears in the natural course of things; he leapt because of the mystery that was there. She sensed the coming of Mary, he the coming of the Lord — the woman knew the woman, the child knew the child. The women speak of grace while inside them grace works on their babies. And by a double miracle the women prophesy under the inspiration of their unborn children.

The infant leapt and the mother was filled with the Spirit. The mother was not filled before her son: her son was filled with the Holy Spirit and in turn filled his mother. John leapt and so did Mary’s spirit. John leapt and filled Elizabeth with the Spirit; but we know that Mary was not filled but her spirit rejoiced. For the Incomprehensible was working incomprehensibly within his mother. Elizabeth had been filled with the Spirit after she conceived, but Mary before, at the moment the angel had come. “Blessed are you,” said Elizabeth, “who believed”.

You too, my people, are blessed, you who have heard and who believe. Every soul that believes — that soul both conceives and gives birth to the Word of God and recognises his works.

Let the soul of Mary be in each one of you, to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let the spirit of Mary be in each one of you, to rejoice in God. According to the flesh only one woman can be the mother of Christ but in the world of faith Christ is the fruit of all of us. For every soul can receive the Word of God if only it is pure and preserves itself in chastity and modesty.

The soul that has been able to reach this state proclaims the greatness of the Lord just as Mary did and rejoices in God its saviour just like her.

The Lord’s greatness is proclaimed, as you have read elsewhere, where it says Join me in magnifying the Lord. This does not mean that anything can be added to the Lord’s greatness by human words, but that he is magnified in us. Christ is the image of God and so any good or religious act that a soul performs magnifies that image of God in that soul, the God in whose likeness the soul itself was made. And thus the soul itself has some share in his greatness and is ennobled.

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May With Mary Day 29 Henri Cardinal De Lubac

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2008

In the Church’s tradition the same biblical symbols are applied, either in turn or simultaneously, with one and the same ever-increasing profusion , the the Church and Our Lady.  Both are the New Eve; Paradise; the tree of Paradise, whose fruit is Christ, the great tree seen in the dream by Nebuchodonosor, planted in the center of the earth.  Both are the Ark of the Covenant, Jacob’s Ladder, the Gate of Heaven, the House built on the mountaintop, the fleece of Gideon, the Tabernacle of the Highest, the throne of Solomon, the impregnable fortress.  Both are the City of God, the mysterious City of which the Psalmist sang; the valiant woman of the Book of Proverbs, the Bride arrayed for her husband, the woman who is the foe of the serpent, and the great sign in heaven described in the Apocalypse-the woman clothed with the sun and victorious over the dragon.  Both are-after Christ- the dwelling place place of wisdom, even wisdom herself; both are “a new world” and “a prodigious creation”; both rest in the shadow of Christ.  There is in all of this something much more than a case of parallelism or the alternating use of ambivalent symbols.  As far as the Christian mind is concerned, Mary is the “ideal figure of the Church”, the “sacrament” of it, and “the mirror in which the whole Church is reflected”.  Everywhere the Church finds in her its type and model, its point of origin and perfection: “The form of our mother the Church is according to the form of His mother”.-excerpted from THE SPLENDOUR OF THE CHURCH 241-242

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May With Mary Day 28 Authentic Mariology

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2008

We must avoid relegating Mary’s maternity to the sphere of mere biology…If, therefore, Christ, and ecclesia are the hermeneutical center of the scriptural narration of the history of God’s saving dealings with man, then and only then is the placed fixed where Mary’s motherhood becomes theologically significant as the ultimate personal concretization of the Church.  At the moment when she pronounces her Yes, Mary is Israel in person; she is the Church in person and as a person.  She is the personal concretization of the Church because her Fiat makes her the bodily Mother of the Lord.   But  this biological fact is a theological reality, because it realizes the deepest spiritual  content of the covenant that God intended to make with Israel.  Luke suggests this in harmonizing 1:45 (“blessed is she who believed”) and 11:28 (“blessed…are those who hear the word of God and keep it”).  We can therefore say that the affirmation of Mary’s motherhood and the affirmation of her representation of the Church are related as factum and mysterium facti, as the fact and the sense that gives the fact its meaning.  The two things are inseparable: the fact without its sense would be empty.  Mariology cannot be developed from the naked fact, but only from the fact as it is understood in the hermeneutics of faith.  In consequence, Mariology can never be purely mariological.  Rather, it stands within the totality of the basic Christ-Church structure and is the most concrete expression of its inner coherence.

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A Life of Paul (Part 2 From Persecutor to Convert)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 27, 2008

This post continues an earlier post, A LIFE OF PAUL. It is a very, very rough draft of a talk I am to give to a discussion group in June, in preperation for the year of St Paul.

At some point and time, were not sure when, Paul was sent-or perhaps his family moved-to Jerusalem. According to Paul, in Acts 22:3, he was “brought up,” and “educated” in Jerusalem, suggesting that a large part of his life had been spent there. While in Jerusalem he began his training as a Rabbi under Gamaliel. Gamaliel was, and remains, one of the most important and influential teachers Rabbinic Judaism ever produced, and it’s possible that one of his greatest students, Shammai, was a fellow student with Paul. During this training Paul would have learned rabbinic methods of interpreting Scripture, arguing and debating, and theological traditions. Paul employs all of these things in varying degrees in his letters.

We first meet Paul in connection with the martyrdom of Stephen. This event is introduced at the end of chapter 6 of Acts:

  • 8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly instigated men, who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” (Actes (RSV) 6)

Notice that among those who could not best Stephen in debate were men from Cilicia! And recall that Paul was from Tarsus in Cilicia. Was Paul, then, among those whom Stephen bested? Was he one of the ones who instigated false witnesses against Stephen? I think he was. Look at what is said at the end of the Stephen account:

  • Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul…And Saul was consenting to his death.

According to Jewish Law, the witnesses against someone found guilty of a capital offense were required to throw the first stones. The reason for this is obvious. If they were guilty of giving false witness, and this was discovered, they would be liable to the same punishment as the falsely condemned suffered. Now, in Acts, the image of laying one’s possessions at the feet of another symbolizes that persons authority and influence. Essentially, what Luke is telling us is that Paul had a major role to play in what is transpiring. Furthermore, our translation says that he was “consenting” to the stoning; but the Greek word implies much more: he was in collusion with the stoning.

This event, Stephen’s martyrdom, begins a persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem, and most are forced to flee throughout Judea and into Samaria. At the same time, Paul begins an active persecution of the Church:

  • And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

The wording of the Greek text here is quite strong. The verb used for ravaging refers to great harm, both physical and emotional. And the the verb for “dragged off” is also quite strong. One gets the impression that Paul is a very violent man. Paul himself tells us in Galatians 1:13 that he persecuted the Church beyond measure, and tried to annihilate it.

At this point, Luke breaks off his focus on Paul, and begins to focus on the movement of Christianity to Half-Jews, namely the Samaritans and to pagan prozylites to Judaism such as the Ethiopian eunuch. When we next meet Paul he has received authority to hunt out Christians in the synagogues of Syria and is heading to the capital of Damascus.

  • 1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. 4 And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; 6 but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do. 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”

Here begins the defining moment of Paul’s life. He himself speaks of it often in his letters, and it is so important for Luke’s teaching that the conversion is told three different times in Acts. Each account is slightly different, bringing out further details. According to this account Paul is still breathing threats and murder against Christians and is acting as an official representative of the Jewish leaders. At this time Paul was absolutely convinced that he was doing the right thing. In chapter 26, when he recounts his experience he says:

  • 9 “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem; I not only shut up many of the saints in prison, by authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and in raging fury against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” And in his letter to the Galatians he says: 13 For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it, 14 and progressed in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my race, since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions. (Galates (NAB) 1)

But his conversion experience led Paul to see himself as he truly was. The one who-as we have just seen- tried to get Christians to blaspheme, came to recognize that he was the blasphemer; the one who tried to annihilate Christianity became its greatest propagator; the one who thought Christians were faithless sinners worthy of death came to see that he himself was an unbelieving sinner of the worst magnitude. All of this was for the sake not only of Paul alone, but for the sake of all who would here him preach; hear and read his letters; or hear of his conversion. In 1 Timothy he writes:

  • 12 I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. 13 I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.14 Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.15 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. 16 But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. (1Timothée (NAB) 1)

Paul, now blind because of his encounter with Jesus is led into Damascus where, neither eating or drinking, he waits for three days for a further revelation from Christ.

  • 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized,
    19 and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
    20 And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed, and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests.” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. (Actes (RSV) 9)

Here we see what Christ’s plans are for Paul. He is to be an instrument of Christ, and therefore an instrument of the Gospel. An instrument gets its power from an outside source, and throughout his letters Paul attributes the power and success of his ministry to the Triune God. The idea of instrument calls to mind Christ’s words in Luke 10:16: “He who hears you, hears me.” Likewise it calls to mind the beginning of Acts of Apostles where Luke writes: “In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all Jesus began to do and preach,” thus implying that Jesus is still at work in the Church. We also see that Paul will be shown how much he must suffer for the name of Jesus. The one who, as Ananias said, had authority from the chief priests to imprison those who called upon the name of Jesus will now himself suffer for the sake of that name. The Greek word for suffer is dei, and it is a key word for Luke, implying divine necessity. In Luke 9:22, the first passion prediction, Jesus had said “the Son of Man must suffer…,” and in speaking to the Disciples on the road to Emmaus the risen Jesus said, “Was it not necessary (dei) that the Messiah suffer…?” Paul’s life will now be lived in imitation of his new-found Lord.

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May With Mary Day 27 The Blessings of Mary’s Womb

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 27, 2008

H/T Argent by the Tiber

Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night, everything that is subject to the power or use of man, rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendor by men who believe in God.

The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God Himself, its Creator, it sees Him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.

Through the fullness of grace that was given to you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son Who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before His life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.

Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator Himself has been blessed by creation.

To Mary God gave His only-begotten Son, Whom He loved as Himself. Through Mary God made Himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God Who made all things gave Himself form through Mary, and thus He made His own creation. He Who could create all things from nothing would not remake His ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary is the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by Whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through Whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to Him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.

Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to Himself. St Anselm

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I Dream of Giving Birth to a Child Who Will Ask, “Mother, What Was War?”

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 26, 2008

wounded.jpg Click on photo to enlarge
Christ our True God, who loves mankind, look down with mercy and compassion upon every soldier who is facing a daily struggle with war, aggression and terrorism. Each one desires to live before You, and be ever protected by Your Right Hand. Preserve them, we humbly pray, and watch over them every given hour. Guide their steps, give wisdom and discernment to all who are in leadership, that Your will may prevail, and that they may return safely to their homes and loved ones.

We beg You to hear the cry coming from our hearts, dear Lord Jesus Christ. We know that we are surrounded by many dangers. We are frightened as destruction; pain and death seem so near. We hurt with those who are hurting, and grieve with those who grieve, whether on the battlefield or in their homes.

Draw us closer to You, we pray. Grant to us and to each soldier the desire to say as the Psalmist did, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.” (Psalm 91)

In Your righteousness forgive us as we continue in the defense of our beloved country. Watch over those whom we love, our wives, our children, relatives, and friends, as well as all civil authorities. May Your guiding Spirit be with those who govern us. Bless our country America, our allies, and all those who love freedom, peace, and good will among all men.

May Your mercy be ever granted to us, for without fear but with love, humility, and obedience we to turn to You, that we may be strengthened, stand firm, and live.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

Humbly In Christ Our Lord. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes

The Title of the post is from Eve Merriam.

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May With Mary Day 26 Mary Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord Working in Her

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 26, 2008

Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race. When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart.

His spirit rejoices in God his savior and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation. These words are often for all Gods creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

For the Almighty, has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

From a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable, priest (Lib. 1, 4: CCL 122, 25-26. 30)



Eternal Father,
you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son,
to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need.
Keep us open to the working of your Spirit,
and with Mary may we praise you for ever.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Source

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St John’s Ecuharistic Catechesis (Part 1)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 25, 2008

John’s Eucharistic catechesis begins in 4:4 and extends to 12:11.  In the overall structure of John’s Gospel this consists of parts 2, 3, and 4 of his Gospel.  Parts 2 and 4 are structured according to the law of reverse parallelism.  This sort of structure is usually outlined in a A1, B1, C, B2, A2 format.  In such a structure A1 parallels A2, and B1 parallels B2; the parallels being built around the central section C.  For this reason the structure is often called “concentric circle presentation.”  Below I give an outline which give a very basic indication of the parallelism of parts 2 and 4.  Below the outline I will give more details concerning the parallels and focus on the Eucharistic elements.

Part 2:  4:4-6:15

A1. (4:4-38)    A half-JEWISH woman in SAMARIA BELIEVES.
B1. (4:39-45)  The half- JEWISH SAMARITANS from the TOWN  BELIEVE.
C.   (4:46-52)  The royal official believes (he is probably Pagan)
B2. (5:1-47)    Full JEWS from the CITY OF JERUSALEM  refuse to BELIEVE.
A2. (6:1-15)    JEWS from GALILEE refuse to BELIEVE

Part 3:  6:16-21  Walking on the water.

Part 4: 6:22-12:11

A1. ( 6:22-71)  EATING leads to being RAISED UP to eternal LIFE. JUDAS’ BETRAYAL.  Peter’s CONFESSIONOF FAITH.
B1. (7:1-8:59)  The FEAST of tabernacles (This feast celebrated God’s dwelling with the people in the temple)
C.   (9:1-10:21) Jesus heals a blind man, calls the jewish leaders blind and calls himself the good shepherd.
B2. (10:22-39)  The FEAST of Dedication (sometimes called “second Tabernacles”.  Like that feast it celebrate God’s dwelling in the temple)
A2. (10:40-12:11) Jesus says, “I am the RESURRECTION  and the LIFE.  He eats with Lazarus whom he RAISED.  JUDAS’ BETRAYAL.  Martha’s CONFESSION OF FAITH.

Notes on Part 2 (4:4-6:15).

In the A1 section (4:4-38) Jesus comes from Judea and enters the land of the half-pagan Samaritans and sits down  in a field (chorion) because he is worked out (kopiao=wearied).  The disciples go into the town to buy (agorazo= purchase in the marketplace) food (trophe=food, nourishment).  Jesus engages a Samaritan woman in conversation by asking her for a drink, and tells her he has water to give her to drink. He also talks about true worship when asked on which mountain (oros) God is worshipped.  The reference to buying and worship and mountain are not unimportant here, for earlier in the Gospel Jesus had chased the money-changers and sellers out of the temple (located on a mountain), telling them that they had made the temple market-place (emporion, synonymous with agora).   The disciples return and bid Jesus to eat the food they had with them.  Jesus responds by saying “I have food to eat of which you do not know” causing the disciples to wonder if someone had brought him food.  Jesus responds: My food is to do the work of the one who sent me, and accomplish His work…lift up your eyes and see the fields are already white ripe for the harvest.  The reaper is already receiving his payment (misthos=wages) and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.  For here the saying holds true that ‘one sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap what you have not worked (kopiao) for; others have done the work (kopiao), and you are sharing in the fruit of their labor (kopos).”

Most of the highlighted words in the above passage re-appear in the A2 section (6:1-15) of part 2 of the Gospel (4:4-6:15).  There are also some conceptual and thematic parallels as well.

In 6:1-15 Jesus travels from Judea to Galilee, a territory with a heavy pagan population.  He goes up a mountain and sits down with his disciples.  Jesus lifts up his eyes and sees a large crowd coming to him (here I should note that in 4:35 when Jesus tells his disciples to lift up their eyes to see the ripe fields the samariatan townspeople are coming to him, verse 30).  He asks Philip: “Where can we buy enough food for these people to eat?”  John adds that Jesus “said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.”  All of this recalls to mind the events in Samaria.  The disciples did not know that he had food until he told them that his food  was to do God’s will and work.  Jesus clearly expects Philip to remember this, but Philip says “two hundred days workers pay (wages) would not be enough for each to get a little.”  Clearly he had not understood Jesus words in Samaria.  Andrew introduces a boy with some bread and fish and Jesus tells the disciples to have the people recline (sit back), for, John notes, there was a great deal of grass (chortos, related to chorian=field) in the place.  Jesus then takes the bread and gives thanks (eucharisteo=Eucharist), then gives it to the people.  He then commands his disciples to gather up the fragments lest anything perish (an allusion to the harvest for eternal life theme in Samaria).  The people misunderstand the sign and Jesus goes into the mountains alone.

These parallels are certainly impressive.  When seen in connection with the A1 (6:22-71) and A2 (10:40-12:11) sections of part 4 (6:22-12:11), the overall meaning of them becomes clear.  In my next post on this subject I will look at the bread of life discourse (6:22-71) where Jesus tells us we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, rather than work for food which perishes, so that we may be raised up on the last day. I will also look at the raising of Lazarus by Jesus (10:40-12:11), who is the resurrection and the life, and who reclined at table with Lazarus after he raised him from the dead.

Posted in Bible, Notes on the Gospel of John | Leave a Comment »

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