Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blog # 268 John 6 - Analogies

Blog # 268  John 6 - Analogies

These thoughts are not intended as an effort to to 'prove' our faith in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus in the Mass or in the tabernacle which is an absolute mystery,   known to us through its revelation  by God, by faith rather than by any other proof .  Rather they have served me and hopefully will help you by causing me to wonder at these particular natural phenomena so that  placed against  the wonder of our faith in the Eucharist we can see the same powerful compassionate God at work.

A Camel, a palm tree, a mirror, some whole wheat bread, and Chapter 6 of John's Gospel.  Though these few realities do not seem at first glance to have anything directly to do with  Jesus and Chapter 6 of John's Gospel they have helped me to clarify deepen and appreciate my faith in what Jesus was trying to share with the people gathered before Him in Chapter 6.

At great length Jesus tries to explain and insists that His life, His flesh and blood, are part of God's plan of salvation and are consequently necessary to sustain in us individually the divine life He came on earth to share.  Recall John's stated purpose in writing his Gospel: "...that you may have LIFE in His  name" ( Jn 20: 30,31).  This is the real supernatural life of Baptism. the Eucharist, and the other Sacraments to which we refer in the term Sanctifying  Grace, the gift of God's divine life shared with us in our own unique individual finite way.  It is the  life Jesus was speaking of to the crowds in Chapter 6 and they missed the point.

Here are the analogies I have found useful. Imagine yourself over in the  Sahara desert.  Looking across the sand, about a  hundred yards away you see a camel and a palm tree.   The whole camel, the whole palm tree, large as they are, must be  present or 'contained' in some way in the eye if they are to be seen. It is a special presence.  It is not a physical presence. I cannot touch the camel or the tree.  There are no wires bulbs or batteries.  All that is required is: 1) something to see, 2) light, and 3)a seeing eye.  We can have the same experience with anything that is visible.  Try it with a cup of coffee three feet away from you in your wife's hand, or closer with a ballpoint pen held in your hand.  All the items we see have a real physical dimension that is real in themselves.  Retaining their same physical reality they have a real special reality and 'presence' in our eye.

That begins to sound similar what we believe as applicable to the  real presence of Jesus identified and present in His laying down His life for love of all people in obedience to the Father's will on Calvary, at the  Last Supper, in every valid Eucharist that is offered, and in tabernacles around the world. We believe Jesus is present with a very special supernatural presence in the Last Supper, the Mass and in the tabernacle. As for the camel and the eye, the conditions for this to be what Jesus tried to share in Chapter 6  are real and clear. 

1: the historical physical experience of Calvary,  the Last Supper, and the consecrated hosts in the tabernacle must be real. 2): as for the camel,  the mysterious  power of  light brings the object seen to our eyes, so the mysterious power of faith  translates the suffering of Calvary into unconditional trust and total love and presents this same infinite love in Jesus, on Calvary, at the  Last Supper and in the Holy  Sacrifice of the Mass, and 3) makes this love present and available individually and uniquely to those who by faith and Baptism are one with Jesus and believe.   

What those standing around the  Cross as Jesus died saw was a criminal suffering punishment, but what the Father and Jesus saw was an act of sacrificial worship and  the greatest act of  love the world had ever seen.  That is what Jesus wanted the crowds in Chapter 6 to know.  Some of the people to whom Jesus was  speaking  in Chapter 6  might have afterward been among those who shouted out to Pilot :Crucify Him" and all God could give them was blood and suffering.  One of those standing there was John.  He saw it all from up close. He saw the love and did not walk away.  He believed  and gave us Chapter 6 so we, now, two thousand years later, would have a better idea of the reality of Calvary the Last Supper and the Mass and with the light of faith share personally and uniquely in that infinite love.

"No greater love than this can anyone have than to lay down one's life...Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in him..(Jn 3: 14,15...I myself am the living bread come down from heaven.  If anyone eats this bread he shall live foreverer; the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." 

A mirror can tell us more than whether or not our hair is combed.  We  do not have to prove what I am going to say about a mirror and how it can be applied by analogy to the presence of Jesus in the  Eucharistic Bread by actually breaking a mirror, but if you need to do that it will be worth it.  I appear in the mirror , head and hair, ears and  mouth, only one of me;  I am alone.  Break the mirror and I am 'whole and entire'  in each broken piece.  We believe something similar to this by analogy as regards the presence of Jesus in each of the pieces of a broken consecrated host.  As the Eucharistic  Presence itself,  it is a mystery to me, but no challenge at all to the infinite power and love of  Jesus in Holy Communion.     

Each morning at breakfast I change bread into my body and my life.  How can anyone who calls himself or  herself Christian say that God did not or could not change bread into His Body if God desired to be as close to our ordinary lives as bread can be?  Yet God desired to be that real and that close to all who would believe in the testimony and proclamation of Jesus, God's Son. It is no challenge to God's infinite love !

What a design the mystery of the Eucharist is! We might be tempted to think it would have been nice if the historical Jesus stayed on earth and would teach us 'first hand', as He taught the  A.postles and His other faithful disciples.  It would have been very difficult for Him to present Himself as 'one of us in all things but sin' and at the same time be chalking up at His next birthday more than two thousand years! It could  easily have been the makings of  one more excuse someone might come up with in order to justify himself in closing his mind to the teaching of Jesus and walking away from His love.  As it is, on the  other hand, believers all over the world are united to Him individually and uniquely in the intimacy of Holy Communion and in the hope the power of the divine promise of God we share can give, we will "be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ."

No comments:

Post a Comment