Educating for the Lived Gospel #116

Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)

As Christians, what we now understand as the Trinity didn’t develop for about another century after the writing of the Gospel of John. But the seeds of an understanding of the Trinity are here. At this point of the Gospel, readers have heard more than once from Jesus that ‘the Father and I are one’. Such mutual in-dwelling is behind this passage. Simply, when we keep God’s word, God is with us. But it is much richer that that. Emphasising God’s relational nature, when we keep God’s word, we become part of the divine in-dwelling. If God is with us or we are with God, it gives us a stable centre for everything else in our lives.
The lives of young people can be turbulent – for a variety of reasons. By offering them opportunities for service, for the sacraments, for prayer, we increase the likelihood that they will develop a peaceful centre to which to return. This ground of wholeness, of peace, of goodness… that we call God.
Have a great week!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #112

Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains. (John 9:39-41)

John 9 is the masterfully-told story of the man born blind. There is so much to ponder over in this story. It is well worth one or more prayerful readings. The reader follows the story of the man born blind coming to sight then slowly coming to faith. This is juxtaposed with the physical sight of the Pharisees who cannot see the truth of Jesus. To paraphrase noted Johannine scholar Frank Moloney, the certainty of their sight does not allow them to comprehend God’s vertical in-break in the person of Jesus. It is easy to get ‘wrapped up’ in ourselves, so that we become spiritually blind. Blind to our failings, blind to the reality of others. It is interesting that the sin of the Pharisees is their blindness to Jesus and their driving the blind man out of the synagogue – the centre of the Jewish community. How inclusive are we? Do we remain open to God’s surprises?
Young people can be very inclusive of others. They can also be very certain in their knowledge – very ‘black and white’. Another of our tasks is to help young people to see the ‘greys’ in life – to help them to be open to God’s surprises. Especially when what can seem like a ‘death’ is, in fact, a birth!
Have a great week!


Educating for the Lived Gospel #109

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
I love John’s Gospel! There is something about its poetry, its majesty that speaks to me on a very deep level. I was fortunate to have Frank Moloney as my lecturer and guide who helped awaken the passion in me. This poetic passage affirms our belief that Jesus (the Word) was fully human (flesh), something that comes from the Greek that can also be translated as ‘blood and guts’. Glory is a theme in John’s Gospel, mostly in reference to God’s glory. The passage also emphasises that the Gospel is based in eyewitness testimony, ‘we have seen his glory’. Do we have the eyes to see the glory of those who are fully alive around us? It might be a colleague or a young person. Our vocation puts us in a very privileged position.
The Incarnation is at the heart of our faith. We are each imbued with God’s glory. We need to encourage our young people to remember that they are constantly in God’s presence – in the form of the people in their lives. This faith leads us to respect ourselves and all around us. That will help to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh – and witness God’s glory, daily.
Have a great week…and term!