you are a rare girl,
you keep everything
simultaneously far and near.
your sad tears somehow knows to be happy.
you fall to a smile quite effortlessly
Any one can feel jealous of that mystery
you are intimate with.
I am jealous of the way you keep
close flames of belief in Him.
In prayer,you close your eyes
admitting far away lands.
your eagerness is not to be here
but in the palm of an ancient promise.
when you speak a ceaseless river shivers around.
what I admire is your secret
amicability with strangeness of life.
I feel proud that some one like
You like to hear me!
But you should know that
Your longing to understand
Is an understanding!
I am calling Simone Weil, a Jew only to show her passion for Christianity. She was a Christian who remained outside Christianity. She never received any sacraments yet her admiration for them was profound.
She says that sacraments are like souvenirs of loved ones that have died. It is like the letter of a lover which envelopes the emotions that could have otherwise lost or like a ring that constitutes a veritable contact between husband and wife. That’s why a man says “I can’t miss my wedding ring” because missing it can mean missing her. Simone Weil says that these contacts which a souvenir brings is “real, unique and irreplaceable”.
She now proceeds to connect sacraments with beauty in a Platonic sense. Plato makes a dichotomy of matter and form. Matter constitutes the sensible world. The matter participates in the form which is at the other side of being. A beautiful thing is beautiful as it participates in the form of beauty that is above. Simone Weil comments that, “Plato looks upon beautiful as a souvenir of the beyond.” For Plato beauty “is a splendour of truth”. In the same way sacraments are souvenirs of beyond. The beauty of Plato and sacraments of Christianity has value in their participation of above reality.
Simone Weil says that beauty is a sensual attraction “that maintains one at a certain distance and implies a renunciation.” Beauty demands a renunciation, even that of imagination. Beauty appeals to the one who has renounced his appetite to devour it either with senses or imagination. Because beauty is something that we must desire without wanting to devour it.
She says that one can find the beauty of rituals in the holy Eucharist. The beauty of mass lies beyond intelligence. What happens in holy Eucharist is ineffable for intelligence. In the holy Eucharist, its words and rituals leads to a “perfect beauty, and of sensible form of beauty, for rituals and signs are sensible things. It is beautiful after the style of a work of art”.
Every day I celebrate mass still I’m unable to get hold of it. Mass is something that happens in spite of myself even when I’m celebrating it. Sometimes I get a feeling that someone is easily getting into its mystery except me. Like all beautiful things, Eucharist compels me to keep a distance. As a priest, I know I can only persist in its boundary. Eucharist constantly force me to get over myself and get into the fold of memory which renewed and repeated every day.
This gospel passage has a peculiar aleatory nature, Jesus’ trust in chances. He knows that he is supposed to bring something very phenomenal in this world, but he does not know what exactly it is. He moves around a synagogue and concentrates on the life of pious people as if his destiny is to be a religious man. Everybody feels the ripples of his presence. He is now like a dancer who cannot arrest his own movements. He carries that aura of a man who makes a leaf greener by his look. He walks like a luminous shadow.
Jesus comes into the synagogue on a Sabbath day. The entire congregation is waiting to hear him. He stood up to read. The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And He opened at random the book and found the place where it was written. “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.(Lk 4. 14-22) Now he’s supposed to give a homily or some sort of exhortation, instead he says “it is fulfilled in your hearing”. How could he say this! Perhaps Jesus himself might have surprised at what he said.
It is an owning up. The prophecy of Isaiah waited for someone who will own it up. Anybody could have said that “it is fulfilled in your hearing”. Nobody did. Here comes a man who dare to do it. Jesus opened the book at random and what happens then is a meeting, Jesus meets the Book and the Book meets him. They both surprise each other. They make a promise to each other, Jesus tells the Book that he will fulfil its wishes and the Book promises that it will be fulfilled in him.
Here afterwards all the prophecies belong to him because he has taken up their responsibility. Now he leaves the synagogue and will be ever on a road where all the prophesies have to come true.
Jesus and His Miracles
I do not believe that Jesus did any miracle! Jesus was restoring things. The miracles of Jesus are restorations. Man is supposed to be well, walk, speak and see. But he found them wanting, missing the essential things about being human. So he set about to restore what man lacked. He said to the paralytic, “walk”, to the blind, “let you see”, to the sick, “Be well”. Their power and beauty of being human were restored. Jesus was not doing any charity. He was giving back what they should have. I am particularly impressed by the French writer, Francois Mauriac’s observation that in the Bible when Jesus forgave sinners and healed the sicks, they were real sinners and sick people. He didn’t make them sinners and sick to forgive and heal. Nonetheless, now we are making people sinners and sick so that we can forgive and heal them.
Among his miracles, the breaking of bread exhibits the peculiar characteristic of restoration. To do this miracles jesus had need of five loves. Jesus did not just do this miracle out of nothing. If there were not these five loaves he would not have done it. When he blessed and gave them to share among men, He was waking up the power of bread to multiply. Jesus is telling us that the bread in our hands has the power to multiply itself. The breand can multiply if we break open our hands and share. The sin of the world is that it tries to destroy the inherent capacity of the bread and keep it locked in godowns. So millions are hungry though they should not. Bread wants to satiate man’s hunger but rapacious men prevents.
So there will be a wrath of bread!