Vision and Restoration

In today’s first reading we hear from the Prophet Ezekiel. It is from the end of his prophetic writings and there is a lot of “water under bridge” that has led to this amazing vision of a new temple being the source of restorative and living water that is so inevitable, so powerful, that even the Dead Sea valley will be restored. The language used echoes that of the story of creation from the Book of Genesis. Continue reading

Setting and Life

The gospel reading for 5th Sunday in Lent is the account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-45). In yesterday’s post we placed this reading in the context of the flow of John’s gospel and consistent with John’s use of miracles/signs: they point to Jesus and are given that we might believe (Jn 20:26). In today’s post we discuss the setting of the gospel story and consider a previous statement:“I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (10:10) Continue reading

Lazarus: context

The gospel reading for 5th Sunday in Lent, Lectionary Cycle A, is the account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-45). The account follows the story of the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41). In the commentary on that gospel it was explained that the miracles (called “signs” / semeia) in the gospel according to John point beyond themselves to the divine – not just the divine as a vague power, but to a person. They identify Jesus as the light and life of the world, the bread of life from heaven, and the Logos who, through the semeia/signs, reveals his own glory, which is also the glory of God his Father, since he and the Father are one and since he does the Father’s will and works.  These signs are given that we might believe (Jn 20:26).  For John, sin is the failure to believe and accept the consequential changes in one’s life.  All the characters of John 9 (on-lookers, neighbors, parents, the Pharisees and other religious leaders) are judged in their failure to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior and to subsequently become witnesses to Jesus as the glory of God. Continue reading

Missing the mark

The gospel reading begins with questions about the nature, causality, and consequences of sin before it goes on to describe the miraculous healing of the man born blind. The gospel then follows various encounters emanating from the healing as the story becomes known in the community. There is the dialogue among the neighbors, round-1 between the man and the Pharisee, the inquisition of the parents, round-2 with the Pharisee, and finally man blind from birth, meets and sees Jesus. Continue reading

Decision: Faith or Disbelief

This weekend we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Lent, the encounter of Jesus and the man born blind. In yesterday’s post we completed our inspection of the various interrogations. Today, we arrive at the “fish or cut bait” moment. The authorities drive the man away (v.34), then Jesus finds the man and asks: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Continue reading

The Hidden Life of Interesting Numbers and Sequences

Number patterns (1200x675 px)Here in the shadow of national Pi Day, it is a week in which to explore the world of numbers! What is your favorite number? What numbers are fascinating? What numbers are boring? You can’t tell me that the graphic above isn’t just as interesting as can be. Not only is it fascinating, I am equally intrigued by the person who spotted the sequence. Continue reading

Interrogations – Part 1

This weekend we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Lent, the encounter of Jesus and the man born blind. In yesterday’s post we began to consider the details of the text, discussing the settings of the encounter and the healing itself. Today, we move into the repercussions of the healings: a series of interrogations. It is the longest section of the read and will be covered over the course of today and tomorrow. Continue reading

The Setting and Healing

This weekend we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Lent . In yesterday’s post we considered St. John’s treatment of “sin.” Today we move into the text itself.

If you wanted a one sentence summary of this account – here it is: “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind”(v.39). Or: as a sign that he is the light, Jesus gives sight to a man born blind. But there is a richness to be gained in a detailed look at the text and narrative.  The Johannine scholar, Fr. Raymond Brown suggests the following outline: Continue reading