Reflection for Holy Week – Wednesday
Light and Love III
Last night, we not so much stepped back from the Cross with its Contradictions – rather we stepped through it into the Life of the Cross. The Life which is the laying down our Lives as we participate in Holy Week. Embracing Jesus’ poverty As Abundant Life and thus living with an open hand to the poor whom we See and thus serve. That which is Greater serves the ‘Lesser’
This Is the Blessed Life. John, we remember in the Only words of Jesus which John records which also are recorded elsewhere reminds us of the Deep tradition and Life of our Faith which Jesus, in giving All he has Makes Flesh. We read in Deuteronomy ‘Give liberally [to your needy neighbour] and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbour in your land.’ Not to do so is to incur guilt when the poor and the hungry cry out to God against the rich and well fed who ignore them.
But what is it that causes one to so live? To be truly Free? Surely it is to See who Christ Is. To behold the Crucified One – and to embrace Him in faith and let go of Our life to Live His risen Life.
The Contradictions of our faith we have explored have all been to do with How we see, whether or not we see with the eye of faith. [Surely to see Christ in our needy brother is to have such faith]. The Cross appears to be Death, Darkness and Hatred – but to the Eye of faith it is Life, Light and Love.
All those who see and judge the poor for their wastefulness, as does Judas, see Scarcity. The eye of faith sees in Jesus, Abundance. Bread for all. Life for All people.
So it is How we see, and ultimately it is What we see. What we See and What we Love. If we see in the Cross only Darkness, Death and Hatred, we will cling onto our lives refusing to give them up. If we see only scarcity and waste amongst the poor, we will fear being poor ourselves, not seeing Jesus the impoverished one, so we will cling onto that daily bread for ourselves, fearful for our futures, and stolen from the poor it will turn to maggots in our hands. The blessing of God to us is For the world. If we ignore the need of our brother, we do not see God. The blessing rots.
Seeing God – Light and Love – or Not Seeing God – darkness and hatred – is at the heart of our final reading in John’s gospel.
Jesus said ‘Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
The crowd answered him, ‘We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’
Jesus said to them, ‘The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him.
This was to fulfil the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’
Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him.
Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
To Behold Christ Crucified, the lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world, is to See the Glory of God. Light. The LIght that shines in the darkness. The Light which reveals by its presence, the darkness. For we would not know we were in darkness if Light had not come into the World. But that Light so blinds the eyes of some, that like creatures of the depths of the oceans, even when confronted with the light, they are blind. Jesus performed So may signs in their presence, but they did not believe in him. So Judas sees Jesus, his poverty, his weakness, and does Not behold the Glory of God – that Glory which Isaiah Saw! and Spoke about. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’ The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’
‘I saw the Lord . . . and the hem of his robe filled the Temple.’ Last night we noted how John had ‘moved’ the annointing at Bethany. Famously also he moves Jesus cleansing of the Temple, to the very beginning of Jesus ministry. Jesus publicly appears over and again in the temple in John. He is the One who fills the Temple – not the synagogues, but the Temple.
Commentators note that there is something odd in John’s use of the synagogue for as far as we know, followers of Jesus were not thrown out of the synagogue during the time of his ministry. So John obviously uses it for illustrative purpose. We saw this a few weeks ago in the story of the man born blind. The Pharisees, blind of eye and heard of heart, drove him out of the synagogue. ‘And God separated the Light from the Darkness’ . . . and again in our reading tonight, many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
Love, and Light. Love of our life, Love of the money which secures our meagre life, love of human glory . . . all darkness.
Love of the Poor Crucified One?? Love of the Glory of God? We behold the Crucified One and with John declare – We have Seen His Glory. Judgement has come into the world, the secrets of all hearts revealed. Nothing can ever be the same again.
“the light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in darkness you do not know where you are going.
While you have the light, believe in the light that you may become children of light”