COR THOUGHTS 201: Jesus, Open Our Eyes to the Truth of Your Body

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This Sunday’s Gospel tells the famous story of the journey to Emmaus. We read: “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.” Something is mysteriously different about Jesus’ body after the resurrection. These disciples could see him, but they couldn’t see him. He was only “made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” At that moment, as Pope Benedict XVI put it, the disciples “experience in reverse fashion what happened to Adam and Eve when they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: their eyes are opened.” When Genesis reports that Adam and Eve’s eyes were “opened,” the truth is precisely the reverse: they became blind. Prior to original sin, man and woman saw the mystery of God revealed through their bodies – the mystery of life-giving love and communion was literally inscribed by God in their sexuality. Shame is the fruit of seeing the body without seeing the body; without recognizing God’s mystery in the body. Entering into the power of the Eucharist is what heals our blindness. Here, Christ the Bridegroom offers his body in life-giving love for his Bride. Communion is restored and we come to see the divine mystery in and through the body. Jesus, draw near and walk with us. Open the Scriptures to us. And open our eyes!

206. How to Experience the Eros of Easter Through the Cry of the Song of Songs

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Spring is springing. Bees are buzzing. Flowers are blooming. All of creation is proclaiming the message of Easter – new life! If God is speaking to us through the natural world, then it’s clear that one of his favorite subjects, especially this time of year, is mating and fertility, coupling and life-givingness. One has to be blind not to recognize this unending song of love and life everywhere.

If what I’m saying sounds crazy, “ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you” (Job 12:7-8). Listen, and you will hear all of nature singing its own version of the Song of Songs, that biblical “ode to eros” that whispers the secrets of divine love … and the secrets of Easter!

COR THOUGHTS 200: New Birth Through the Womb of Mercy

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This weekend we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. In the second reading, St. Peter tells us that God “in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” When we read Scripture with spousal lenses, verses like this leap out at us. One of the Hebrew words often translated into English as “compassion” or “mercy” originally referred to a woman’s womb. We are given new birth through God’s mercy precisely through the waters of baptism. And baptism, St. John Paul II tells us, is “the expression of spousal love” (TOB 91:7). When Christ’s spousal love is poured out in the sacrament of Baptism, his Church-Bride “brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life” (CCC 507). This is a virginal birth, of course, by grace. Nonetheless, there is a certain analogy between the two orders (nature and grace). Since grace builds on nature, the natural way of conception and birth serves in some way as the model of supernatural conception and birth. How are we naturally begotten? Through the union of man and woman. How are we supernaturally begotten? Through the union of Christ and the Church. This new inheritance grants us the salvation that, as St. Peter tells us, is the goal of our faith!