Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Processing through Time and the Scriptures - John 4:31-38

I wanted to follow up on the 175th anniversary of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. I was praying using lectio divina or "divine reading," which I have recently taken up. Although I do it quite poorly, it is still of tremendous benefit to me. I was reading John 4:31-38:

Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Has any one brought him food?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."

So much is here. So many times in his gospel, John gives us insights into the depths of the mystery of the Eucharist as we contemplate food in the material and in the spiritual senses. Like the apostles, we are often stuck solely in the material, missing the spiritual and the communion of the material and the spiritual. (John Paul II and Christopher West are helping me to see more the communion of the material and the spiritual.) It helps me greatly to contemplate Jesus' words: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work." I need to "lift up my eyes" from the strictly material. I need to make his will my will.

I like, too, the reference here to the harvest. It echoes Matthew: "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38). The talk about one sowing and one reaping points to the procession of time that orders like the Sisters of the Precious Blood partake in. Earlier sisters sowed; later sisters reaped, and so it will continue as long as the order continues. And they can do so because their food is Christ; their will is God's will. And by so doing, they are accomplishing his work.

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