Lenten Meditations: Thursday 21 March

Mar 21, 2019 by


Mar 21

am: 70, 71
pm: 74
Is 5:16-25 Proverbs 6 John 6:27-40

SECOND THURSDAY OF LENT – James the Confessor, Bishop, of Catania, 8th Century

LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: The lessons today are taken from a variety of lectionaries in the Oriental Church Saint James, Bishop and Confessor, was inclined toward the ascetic life from his early years. Saint James left the world and entered the Studite monastery, where he was tonsured and was a disciple of St Theodore the Studite He led a strict life, full of works, fasting and prayer. Pious and well-versed in Holy Scripture, Saint James was elevated to the bishop’s throne of Catania (Sicily). As a bishop he was severely persecuted, during the reign of the iconoclast emperor Constantine V Copronymos (741-775), Saint James was repeatedly urged not to venerate the holy icons. They exhausted him in prison, starved him, and beat him, but he bravely endured all these Known for his steadfastness and piety, he reminds us of the importance of standing firm in the faith when ridicule comes our way. He died in exhale

MEDITATION OF THE DAY: The major Christological theme of this discourse is Jesus the Life-Giver. As the true nourishment from heaven, He can transmit the life of the Father, to those of us who believe on him and feed on Him. He has the ‘Seal’ of the Father (vs 27) This refers to the system by which a father could give his son a ring on which was a seal. With this, the son could carry out transactions in his father’s name. In this context, it means that the Son can do whatever the Father can do. The Father has entrusted the Son with full authority to act in his name.

For those of us in the catholic tradition this is the biblical basis of the Doctrine of the Real Presence. Many from the extreme reformed movement claim that they can prove that Christ was speaking only metaphorically by comparing His words in St. John 6, 35 (“I am the bread of life”) to verses such as St. John 10, 9 (“I am the door”) and St. John 15, 1 (“I am the true vine”). The problem of such an argument, however, is that there is no connection between St. John 6, 35 and these latter verses. The Lord Himself seems clear about John 6, 35 beyond symbolism by repeating four times the injunction “to eat my flesh and drink my blood” and saying “for my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (v. 55).

Many wish to say this was a figurative way of saying to believe and have faith in Him. There is some truth in the assertion that such a phrase had a figurative meaning, however, in the cultures of the Middle East it rather meant to calumniate, revile, attack or insult someone unjustly. It is therefore nonsense to argue that Christ would have used this phrase in the popular figurative sense, for that would have been tantamount to Christ asking His followers to sin against Him in order to inherit eternal life! It should also be noted that the Greek word used for “eat” in St. John literally means “to gnaw.” This is not the language of figure.

It seems that Christ was in reality making an appeal to His listeners to trust Him on faith rather than try and rationalize His words in order to find their true meaning. In the previous verse (v. 62) Christ infers that His listeners would have had no problem accepting His words if they had seen Him as He was before He came down from heaven, that is, as the Son of God equal to the Father, for then His words would obviously be the words of God rather than the words of man – words of “spirit and life.”

PRAYER OF THE DAY O God, who called your servant James to witness amidst great controversy so that he might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave him zeal for your Church and love of knowledge: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in faithful witness, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever..

ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE: “Wherever a polemic against the Christian image starts, it is all too often based on a questionable theological vision” — Christoph Von Schoenborn, Bishop

Lenten Discipline – Living a faithful Gospel witness can be lonely, especially when peoples do not understand the value of Christian symbols and are critical or dismissive. Reach out to a person you know who has critical of such a faith witness especially if they are not Christian. Try to connect their use of symbols with the Cross you may wear or the icon in your home.

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