When we Franciscans arrived at Sacred Heart in 2005, we were quite surprised to find that one of the clerestory windows (the ones up high in the nave vault) was Saint Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi. In fact, we Franciscans still have a brief letter, in Francis’ own hand, written to Anthony. Most people know St. Anthony of Padua as the patron saint of lost and stolen articles, but have you ever wondered why he is that particular patron saint? Continue reading
The Monologue. At v. 11, the text shifts from a dialogue to a monologue. The dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus alternated between Jesus’ offer of new birth (vv. 3, 5-8) and Nicodemus’s resistance (vv. 4, 9). The shift to the monologue allows Jesus’ voice to silence the voice of resistance. Jesus’ discourse runs through v. 21 and divides into two parts. Verses 11-15 interpret Jesus’ offer of new birth through his death, resurrection, and ascension, and vv. 16-21 focus on the theme of judgment.
We know. Jesus begins the discourse by speaking in the first-person plural. English translations of v. 11 mask the Greek word order. The translation “we speak of what we know ” flows in English, but the sentence literally reads, “what we know we say” (oidamen laloumen). This word order is important because it means that the beginning of Jesus’ discourse and Nicodemus’s opening words to Jesus (v. 3) are the same: “we know…. “ It is possible to read Jesus’ words as a continuation of the irony of v. 10; Jesus parodies Nicodemus’s assertion of his knowledge. Continue reading