Thursday 2 April 2015

"Blessed the eyes that see what you see" (Lk 10:23)

Rossi de Gasperis ends vol. 2.2 of his Sentieri di vita with a warm recommendation to read the whole gospel of Luke at a sitting, or at least continuously, which is what I thought would be a great idea during Holy Week.

I am at chapter 10, "I saw Satan fall like lightning" (Lk 10:18) - the amazingly evocative title of one of Rene Girard's books. I've never read that one, but I was curious, so in the absence of a Wiki page I read a review by someone called David Jeffrey, to get an idea of what Girard is saying. He is not doing exegesis, but rather furthering his basis thesis about mimetic rivalry and scapegoating. Satan, he says, is we, all of us, sinful humanity. Concern for victims is the great contribution of Christianity to culture, and the whole tendency of contemporary civilization, led by Nietzsche, is to eradicate such concern. Evocative. But the gospels need to be read even further, even deeper, perhaps. Rossi de Gasperis seems to lead further and deeper.

But the gospel is powerful. The seventy-two return rejoicing because demons are subject to them in the name of Jesus. Jesus sees Satan falling like lightning. He has given his disciples the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon "the full force of the enemy," and assures them that "nothing will harm you." And then: Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the demons are subject to you. Rejoice rather because your names are written in heaven. (Lk 10:17-20)

And then he rejoices in the Holy Spirit, and gives praise and thanks to his Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for having hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to the little ones. (Lk 10: 21)

And he goes on: Blessed the eyes that see what you see. For I say unto you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Lk 10:23-24)

Today, Holy Thursday, when we remember the Great Command, and the Priesthood in which we share, and the Washing, and sometimes fail to grasp the depths of what we celebrate - perhaps just a good time to say thank you, and to feel blessed because of what we have been privileged to hear if not to see, and to be part of if not always to 'experience' in dramatic ways. "Blessed those who have not seen and yet believed." (Jn 20:29)

The gospel is not always limpid, and Jesus is not always clear. But it grows upon you. The trust is that we will be given enough, not always to understand, but to act upon. We will not perhaps understand all that is implied in the Fatherhood of God, but we will know enough to have the confidence that if we return to him, when we return to him, he will receive us with open arms. (Crombie's wonderful words, once upon a time used in a philosophy of God class...)

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