Easter 04, Year C-2010

From Vincentian Encyclopedia
The Word pitched his tent among us (Jn. 1:14)

The Pharisees threw out (????????) the man born blind (Jn. 9:34). But Jesus, who had opened the expelled man’s eyes, was there right away to find and welcome him into the group of those who believed in him as the Son of Man (Jn. 9:35-38).

In accepting one deemed unacceptable and eliciting faith from one belittled for not being a follower of Moses, Jesus reveals himself as the good shepherd who knows his sheep and is, in turn, known, heard and followed by them. He leads out (??????) the sheep to pasture, thereby doing the opposite of what is done by the self-proclaimed followers of Moses. Thereby, too, is Jesus identified to be truly the gate for the sheep: a passageway, signifying inclusiveness and communion, rather than a barrier, connoting exclusiveness and excommunication (see footnote 1 at [1]; see also the InterVarsity Press commentary at [2]).

Excluded himself and rejected, Jesus identifies with those who are excluded, rejected, contradicted with violent abuse and persecuted, all because they so cherish the light they have received that they cannot help wanting to share it with those still deprived of it. And in identifying with them, Jesus firmly affirms his being the Word become flesh and unambiguously proclaims that what is by and large synonymous with the natural, the powerless, the superficial, is now the sphere of the supernatural, the all-powerful, the really real. “Matter becomes spirit bearing, and we see the divine glory not through the flesh but precisely in the flesh” [3].

In being excluded and rejected and in suffering with Jesus outside the gate are Christian believers precisely made sharers in Jesus’ power to draw all men to himself and in his being light to the Gentiles (Heb. 13:12-13; Jn. 12:32). Those who survive the time of great distress and wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb are precisely the ones to “stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple” and find shelter under the Lord’s tent. They are to triumph as did the Lion of Judah, who triumphed precisely as the slaughtered Lamb, and constitute a great and uncountable multitude that far surpasses the one hundred and forty-four thousand from every tribe of the Israelites.

And multiplied, therefore, is the bread of life, Jesus, whose flesh is real food and whose blood is real drink, in the least of his brothers and sisters in the margins of society he identified with. And these, of course, provide opportunity for others to be counted among the blessed in God’s kingdom, albeit that they provoke crisis, too—judgment or separation of people one from another, as ultimately a shepherd must separate the sheep from the goats.