Monday, March 31, 2008

Tuesday word, 01 Apr 2008

Easter Tuesday2 (01 Apr 2008) Ac 4. 32-37; Ps 93; Jn 3. 7b-15
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Taking Jesus Seriously

The Fourth Gospel uses irony, that use of words which expresses something other than the literal meaning. More, its words are not trapped in the page without life. They convey desires and actions of people, God and the enemy of our human nature. In all the gospels we know and understand what many people do not. That intensifies irony, allowing us to receive Jesus’ invitations, commands and healing love.

When Jesus spoke the first time to Nicodemus, the Fourth Gospel used a Greek word/1/ that can mean from above or again or both! Nicodemus, we recall, was a superficial disciple of Jesus because he was a Pharisee, and the Pharisees as a block opposed Jesus. Nicodemus took the cruder meaning of that Greek word: Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he? God has power over all things, but God does not play games with nature. God, as Easter reminds us, surpasses nature, redeeming it and glorifying us.

Two great challenges to living the risen life, of entrusting ourselves to it, are not being confined to the literal, to appearances, and to taking Jesus at his word. The first challenges us not to behave as if the divine power has abandoned us in our humanity. Catholicism, and Ignatian spirituality, which we are blessed to know, feels God at work in all things, that the world is “charged with the grandeur of God.”/2/

The taking Jesus at his word means surrendering ourselves to him.The first Christian communities demonstrated that behavior and actions supersede words: possessions were shared. The favored expression in the Acts of the Apostles is placing something at the feet of the Apostles. In modern English we might call such behavior “taking our religion seriously.” Religion comes from the Latin “to tie fast”: we are to bind ourselves to one another and to all. Only our relationship to risen Jesus allows us to to do that by being agents from above and not acting as if we are going through the motions again.

/1/ John 3. 3-4. We would have heard this on Monday had the Annunciation not superseded the Second Monday of Easter.
/2/ Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. “God’s Grandeur.”
Wiki-image of Nicodemus is used according to the GFDL.

No comments: