2017. április 26., szerda
2016. január 13., szerda
'...When they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter...'
It is worth paying attention to this 'dramatic self-confession' by Paul; how he struggled between his own 'old' Jewish and the 'new' pagan recipients of the Gospel. We see Peter in charge of proclaiming Jesus' good news within the Jewish tradition.
This is an important aspect of, and task for the Catholicity of the Church. This is the call to re-vitalise the Jewish roots of the Christian tradition.
Listening to the core of one's Tradition (its historical language, doctrine and piety) will necessarily set up a 'gap' between the present and the past. Tradition (the life of previous generations of we are part of!) will always confront the pluralisms of the present. Its weight will collide with the uncertainties of our very flexible age. It is necessary to be so as the difference between Tradition and present is that the latter is always open ended as a history. Tradition does not have to fight the challenges of our times; but its task is to be a useful resource in this task.
It is in this context, that Paul provides us with a blueprint of mission. 'For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law I am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.'
Paul, being caught up between two traditions, undertakes the pain of 'translation'. His is 'the self in Exodus'. It is the most fertile state that brings forth mission in a creative way. As such, Paul's translation of his Jewish faith is the archetype of mission. It is painful; we are torn apart between existing and non-existing vocabularies. (We are caught up between the Word of God and the missing human words.) It seems that this giving birth to missing words and sentences, which would bridge us with Christ's 'outside' world, is an essential part of the Catholic faith. Catholic, that is, being capable of self-translation and understanding.
2016. január 12., kedd
When we pray, Christ is perceiving our prayer. He 'senses' it already before our words reach him. As if sensitive aerial, he listens to us, fine tuned to this very particular way of communication: prayer seeking Christ's presence.
'If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole', prays the woman with an issue of blood for twelve years. 'My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live', says a certain ruler. 'Two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.'
These examples confirm that Jesus is surrounded by a space of faith, reaching out to him, at its centre. He sensitively perceives the faith of these people, 'a faith asking'.
Indeed, one should see prayer as an all-encompassing mystery. Jesus' birth and his Cross; his Baptism in river Jordan, his Pentecostal arrival in the Spirit – have set up a sensitive intra-, and at the same time trans-historical 'aerial'. As our Gospel story shows, he already communicates with these people's needs. What is an unexpected event for their environment ('the bystanders'), it is a long evolving dialogue and bond of trust with the persons to be healed.
The thirteenth century icon from Mount Sinai, St Catherine's Monastery, through its combination of scenes of the Nativity, and above it the Crucifixion, express this 'aerial' charged with divine attention. The bright stars surrounding the Cross and the crib tell of this space of living connection when words travel unseen.
2016. január 4., hétfő
2015. december 25., péntek
'Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life.' (St Leo the Great) This is a great consolation. Indeed, this thought has re-centered my feelings and experiences of this Christmas day when I visited few of my close relatives. They are aging. All of them suffer from some kind of illness. This experience of decline has made me said and inwardly inert. Yet, St Leo's encouragement, though it does not change the bare facts of life, changes my perspective.
I suddenly understand the importance of prayer. When we pray, this is en extension of today's birthday of life, Christmas. This attention, we are encouraged to believe, will embrace as a lasting help our beloved ones.
2015. november 3., kedd
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:...A time to weep, and time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
"Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?" (Lk 20:2)
There is a time to recognise God in our life. These are sensitive moments when we are not only offered the opportunity to 'name' him, but we are called to confess him as our Messiah.
This self-revealing Messiah, first, always heals us. In order to be perceived and responded by us, Jesus wants to heal our relationship with 'time'. We need to regain our sense of life itself. That is, the control over the time of life that we are given. This is a tremendous effort in itself: to take off the clothe of a distorted time. Cyber-realities, gadgets, flickering news, and the anxieties of our work (or of our being unemployed) do not allow to fix our gaze on what is real from our God; what is real from our life.
Prayer, the physical reality of the Eucharist, our compassion for those who are in need are 'messianic gates'. We must breath freely in our life, in the real time of our existence, with this clear consciousness.
Luke's is a painful account of how the 'authorities' are lost in a fictitious reality. Their blindness not only is a blindness to God, but also betrays the missed 'messianic gates'. The moments of compassion for others sensitise us or make us blind depending on our response.
2015. október 27., kedd
"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."
"I tell you, Nay: but except ye shall repent, ye shall all likewise parish... 'Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.'" (Luke 12:56; 13:3) (Tuesday after Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, Matins)
Day-to-day exhausting work and its effects on our spiritual well-being and personal relationship are well known to all of us. It is tempting to give up all effort to keep the balance right. Prayer-life, spiritual focusing seem to be a luxury.
Yet, contrary to all expectation, it is through the extra effort to 'pray' which gets the balance right. Investing into our spiritual wellbeing on a daily basis is indeed a hard investment. However, this is the only way. It is 'slowing down our anger', minding our often wounding words which make the human heart alive. When the heart (the centre of consciousness) is focused, then can we enter into our life ('again'). Strength and resource is gained through the daily work of remaining a Christian disciple. For this is discipleship which makes the passive Christian in us active and alive.
Spirituality alive is the state when we are able to 'discern this time' in which we live.
However lifeless or inert we feel ourselves, incapable of producing any 'growth', we must never give up. 'I tell you...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish' (Luke 13:3) We have been given a powerful encouragement. The 'dresser of the vineyard' intercedes for us: 'Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dug it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.' (Lk 13:9) 'This year' as our last year is given to us. Full of chance. We can read this intercession as the words of our guardian angels. He has 'dug about us'. An angelic presence is writing the circles of fertility around us. (We are always standing in the middle of this circle; paradoxically, in the middle of the Kingdom of God!)
2015. október 26., hétfő
2015. október 25., vasárnap
"I will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it." (Ezekiel 14)
Ezekiel's words can be read as "spiritual hunger" sent upon our culture. A community, which does not live up to its true potentials, necessarily ends up in "famine". That is, several aspects of its life can end up as futile, even self-harming.
God, even in these circumstances, creates a community, when people wait patiently and make a genuine attempt to re-focus their hearts. "Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters... and they shall comfort you, when ye see their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord." (Ezekiel 14)
Thus, when "word goes through the land" (when violence and endless wars spread worldwide), we are called to contemplate the "writing of God" amongst us. That is, how he has already started planting eternal peace in our yearning hearts.
This dignity of the "holy remnants" (their responsible preparation for the future) is shown in Luke's Gospel. God, who invited the powerful to the wedding feast, and who failed in living up to their potentials, now invites the "blind", the seemingly powerless. This blindness shall prove to be the clearest sight of grace, very soon.