Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Lectionary: 249


So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.


Studying theology in Washington DC in the early 1970's, I spent a long afternoon reading Karl Rahner's The Hermeneutics of Eschatological Assertions. It was thirty pages long and it took three hours to read it. The title alone took five minutes! Perhaps because it was so difficult I remember it pretty well. I have looked in vain on the Internet but could not find a copy. It's too deep, I suppose, for today's Internet surfer.
Rahner's essay explained some ways to read apocalyptic books of the Bible like Daniel, Revelation and certain passages of the synoptic gospels. 
He suggested that apocalyptic times would see disagreements hardening into deep divisions that would finally erupt in violence. As a German theologian, he had witnessed the rise of Nazism in his native land; he saw divisions solidify among his own people. 
Saint John's Gospel also describes that growing divisiveness that congeals and hardens and erupts with irrational violence. Jesus seems to force it; he never backs down from a challenge; he never explains his manner of speaking as metaphorical or poetic. He insists upon a literal understanding of his words.
How can anyone understand, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no part in me?" if it's not a metaphor for simple faith? 
The crowd's reaction is predictable: "As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him."
During Lent we invite the Lord's challenge: Do you love your family more than your God? Do you love your money, your property, your guns, your social standing, your sexual identity, your job more than God? Do you worship your political and religious opinions about God, or the Father who abides in silence on Good Friday? 
Will you stand accused with Jesus, guilty and ashamed; or stand against him? 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.