Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
We met the woman at the well, and we saw the amazing change that let her drop her burden of being ostracized. She who was shunned became the way in which her townspeople met Jesus, and even kept him around. I wondered if I would be able to experience anything to the depth that she did that would cause me to radically change the way I act.

Today we meet the man born blind, a guy who got caught in the middle of a religious-political tension that nevertheless brought him more sight than simply his eyes could have ever given him. For us the question might be, ‘What are our blind spots?’

Next week we’ll hear the great story of Lazarus. His being brought to life was the straw that broke the camel’s back insofar as the scribes and Phari¬sees were concerned. Jesus was just too much of a threat.

All three of these stories come from John the Evangelist. There are a few Johns in the life of the Church in the first century. Some scholars think that the John who wrote the gospel isn’t John the apostle. Some do. Since I’m an aging pastor I think I should be allowed to make my choice and I opt for the Apostle. I love the idea of a young, maybe 20 year-old guy being the best friend of Jesus, the “beloved disciple.” Then, 70 years later we find him surrounded with people who perhaps become the guardians and bearers of what he teaches them. Even more, I love the way John’s gospel takes seven remarkable signs, (we call them miracles,) and shows us how the divinity of the Savior shines through his life.

Let me do a commercial for making sure you have a good Bible. The New American Bible Revised Edition, (NABRE to its friends,) has a terrific introduction to John’s gospel. If you want, you can go online and read it. Just go to USCCB, click on Bi¬ble and voila! There you are. If you need to buy one, ask someone for an early Christmas present. But I HIGHLY recommend that you get the Catholic Study Bible, published by Oxford University Press. It has a very readable introduction to the Bible.

Are we more bible deprived than other Christian communities? Sometimes I get a little tired of hearing that old explanation, “we never heard the bible in Church when we were growing up.” Actually, that isn’t true. But what is also true is that our liturgy, our “work of the people,” contains a great deal of sacramental life that is not always so present in “Word” churches. If we didn’t hear enough Scripture in the past, then all the changes that have come since Vatican II, have worked hard to more fully expose the riches of the Bible to us.

What got me off on this tangent? Well, for one thing I hope it’s a little touch of the Holy Spirit. When I went to check on John’s gospel, I went from one page to another thoroughly enjoying my diversion and recalling the seven signs in John’s gospel and how that makes him different from Matthew, Mark and Luke. I enjoyed reading again the Introduction in the NABRE.

I marvel that anyone can get that Bible, that gospel, that Introduction, online. If you don’t “have a line,” there’s the old-fashioned way: BUY A BOOK! If you can’t afford one, tell me and I’ll give you one. Anything, whatever it takes to get you (us) to more and more deeply appreciate the person of Jesus who most especially comes to us through the “good news,” the gospels.

I inundated you with Lenten materials hoping it would encourage your walk to Easter renewal. At this halfway point, maybe I can tickle your fancies with the invitation to go and meet John. You’ll find he is good company. As Father Bill told us, John’s the one who shows us Jesus the Lover.

In Him,   
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