Thanksgiving Day joins together friends and family to feast, laugh, and reflect upon the innumerable blessings of God upon each of us; some of the most important ones gathered around the table. And, while for too many, Thanksgiving has morphed into “Turkey Day” – a day to eat too much, fall asleep watching football games they don’t care about, and plan Black Friday shopping – the intentional act of giving thanks is important.
Rain poured from the densely clouded sky for what seemed like the fortieth straight day. It had already been the rainiest season in recorded history and there appeared to be little break in sight. The clouds darkened everything, making it feel much earlier than it was.
I rose, mumbling my complaints at the weather, and dressed to exercise in hopes it would make me feel a bit better. The kids were just stirring, following my bad example of griping at rain, while my wife tried her best to motivate them to complete chores.
“Now both sexes have melodies and rhythms which of necessity belong to them; and those of women are clearly enough indicated by their natural difference. The grand, and that which tends to courage, may be fairly called manly; but that which inclines to moderation and temperance, may be declared both in law and in ordinary speech to be the more womanly quality.” - Plato, Laws (Book VII)
As a young man, Benedict left his hometown of Nursia, journeying to Rome to continue his education. His time in Rome left him deeply troubled, the city apparently overcome by paganism and depravity. Eventually, Benedict simply tired of people. Seeking solitude and quite, he moved to a cave near Subiaco (about 30 miles east of Rome).
St. Benedict's Rule advises abbots to seek counsel from the monks under their charge whenever important decisions have to be made. “As often as anything important is to be done in the monastery, the abbot shall call the whole community together and himself explain what the business is; and after hearing the advice of the brothers, let him ponder it and follow what he judges the wiser course” (RB, 3.1).
Peter Leithart’s survey of the Gospels, The Four, models what it means to read Scripture iconically – that is, paying attention to the images, connections, and echoes found throughout. In his chapter on St. John’s gospel, Leithart mentions, almost in passing, that one could view the book as a walk through the tabernacle. And upon close inspection, it seems clear that this is yet one more beautiful thread John weaves throughout his writing.
Right now, most schools are drawing to a close and headmaster needs for next year are known. Students can think of nothing but summer break (bursting through the front doors singing, "Schooooool's out for summer!"), and the teachers feel roughly the same, but more so. For school boards and other governing bodies, however, the work is just beginning. Those searching for headmasters will sort through resumes and CVs, host personal and Skype interviews, hold marathon meetings, and do their best to wisely fill the vacancies of their school. In other words, the search is on!
Like Matthew, John begins his gospel at the beginning. Matthew’s gospel opens with the genealogy or the “genesis” of Jesus Christ and John opens with an even more direct reference to Genesis – “In the beginning…” John then adds that the Word was the Creator. The Word “was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (1:1-5).
Christ is the New Creation, the One in whom all things are made new. Verse 4 echoes this – “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
In John 20, Mary Magdalene goes to Jesus’ tomb twice. The first time, she goes to anoint the body of Jesus (Mark 16:1), only to find the stone rolled back. Assuming that the enemies of Jesus had moved the body as one last insult, Mary ran to find the disciples, bringing Peter and John back with her.
Yesterday, the Church celebrated Palm Sunday, the commemoration of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, and the beginning of Holy Week – the final days of Christ on earth before His crucifixion. The event is recorded in all four Gospels – Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:29-38, and John 12:12-15 – and the event shares connections and echoes with several other passages as well.
Here is the Triumphal Entry as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel: