COR THOUGHTS 217: Unity-in-Distinction

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The common theme in each of the readings this weekend is the unity of Jew and Gentile in God’s plan of salvation. As with all true unities, however, it is a “unity-in-distinction.” Jesus drives this point home in a rather dramatic way in his treatment of the Canaanite woman who pleads for his help. Jesus first states that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, even comparing this Canaanite to a “dog” that shouldn’t get the food of the children of Israel. Yikes! Is Jesus really so insulting and heartless? Impossible. He’s testing her. And we have much to learn from her persistence! Jesus assures her she’s “passed the test” when he calls her “woman” – a term of deep love and affection that takes us back to Genesis and the joy that Adam took in beholding his bride, calling her “woman.” There is a distinction between Jew and Gentile, just as there is between man and woman. These distinctions should never be blurred, for it is precisely these distinctions that enable a true unity. Only in this light can we understand Saint Paul’s teaching that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male or female, for all are “one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

COR THOUGHTS 216: Stepping Out of the Boat with Our Eyes Fixed on Christ

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In this weekend’s Gospel, seeing Jesus walking toward them on the water, the disciples cry out in fear, “It is a ghost!” This calls to mind a later scene when the resurrected Christ appears to the disciples in the upper room: “They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost” (Lk 24:37). In both cases they see a human body doing something beyond its nature. Hence, they conclude (understandably) that it’s not a human body. But – au contraire! – it is. This is what is absolutely astounding about the Christian faith and what sets it apart from all other religions: it immortalizes and divinizes the body! By uniting his divine nature to our human nature, Christ takes the human body beyond nature. And he invites us to join him: “Come,” he said to Peter. And Peter, with his eyes fixed on Christ, got out of the boat and walked on water … until … until his faith wavered. We, too, are called to get out of the boat and walk on water with Jesus. There are, indeed, countless moments in our daily lives where we are called by Christ to go beyond what we think our humanity is capable of. Let us fix our eyes on Christ and step out of the boat!

222. Do You Know How Delightful Is the Ecstasy of Union with the Divine?

You know that feeling you get when you read something that puts into words your own interior experience of life? That joy of “Oh, thank you, I’m not the only one who feels this, and you expressed it so well”? I had that a few weeks ago reading a reflection in the Magnificat from Saint Bonaventure. I wanted to share it with you:

COR THOUGHTS 215: The Feast of Christ’s Transfiguration and the Hope of Ours

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Since Aug. 6 falls on a Sunday this year, we get to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration at the Sunday liturgy. “Transfiguration,” however, is a misnomer. It’s like the word sunset. The sun only appears to be setting when, in reality, the world is turning. From the perspective of the Apostles, it appeared that Christ was transfigured before them, but in reality, he was simply lifting a corner of the veil so that Peter, James, and John could glimpse him as he really was (and is). And his clothes become “white as light.” What are we to make of that line? Did Jesus suddenly dawn a fancy outfit? Rather, what the Apostles witnessed was Christ’s mortal body clothed with immortality (see 1 Cor 15:53). What they witnessed was the fullness of the deity dwelling in Christ bodily (see Col 2:9). Saint John wrote about it in the first chapter of his Gospel when he said, “The Word became flesh … we have seen his glory” (Jn 1:14). My brothers and sisters, the glory of God has been revealed in human flesh – what a mystery! This is the ultimate theology of our bodies: we are destined to share in this divine glory ourselves … bodily! For Christ “will change our lowly body to conform to his glorified body” (Phil 3:21). Let us open to receive so great a destiny!