The Child

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Part of "The Spirituality of John's Gospel" retreat.

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Different date on cassette case vs. cassette itself. Case date -1995.MM.DD. #starts-short


Confusion is understandable, in fact, we need a little confusion often, we Westerners. And part of it is due to the fact that we've been proceeding with this diagram, which in itself is nice and clear, in several different ways. We've even been numbering in several different ways. Somebody reminded me yesterday that I've been numbering from the top and also from the bottom. One, two, three, four coming down, one, two, three, four going up. We've been proceeding in three different ways at least. One is the narrative order of John, in which you start down here with the first chapter of John. Now remember in this diagram both the prologue and what we call the epilogue have been omitted. That is the first 18 verses of the first chapter of John have been omitted because those are treated separately as a prologue. They're not part of this design, they're another whole deal. And then chapter 21, I've omitted it too, even though Ellis includes it in his final section up here. So one way of proceeding is snaking upward this way. You go up here and then across here and then over to here and then finally up to the top.


So it's one, two, three, four. That's the narrative order of John's Gospel, that's the way you read the Gospel ordinarily. But we have been following this order downward, right? We started up here and then we moved over here, two, three and four. We call this the fourth pulpit, the final pulpit, which I want to talk about today. And then we introduced, to add to the pandemonium, we introduced another way of operating which is moving outward from the center and another numbering system which is that of the seven days of creation. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Okay, so three different ways of operating, which is okay, because the design is not meant to be exactly a map of anything in particular. And remember that the reality is behind the design. And you need this fluidity of movement to keep a healthy skepticism about the whole image thing, because the reality is something different. And what you need to do is try to grasp or try to get some kind of relationship with


the image behind the image, with the structure behind the structure, the form behind this physical figure, which is a form which has a strange relationship to the visible figure, because the poles tend to interchange and so on, and yet the form persists, the form is there, that inside archetypal figure, if you want to call it that. Now another reason for the confusion is that it's inherent in moving from one type of thought to another. And it's like we're moving from solid thought to liquid thought, to Johannine thought, which works through resonance, works through symbolic resonance and through symmetry. It works through the relationship of one thing with another thing. And then just through the, what would you call it, the radiance, the inner power of a single thing, rather than in biological progression. So it's a question of the luminosity of one thing, then it's a question of the resonance of two things between them, and then perhaps it's a question ultimately of the figure of four things, or of two axes.


So it's a moving pattern, and what happens as you involve yourself with it is that you simply get drawn into it, and you establish what I call an energy relationship with what's inside the Gospel of John. In other words, what we call that feminine center of the word, inside the husk, the wine that's inside the rind, that's inside the bread or inside the water, whichever you prefer, sets up a relationship with that same dimension inside yourself. Call it the heart or whatever you like. So we need to learn to live with a certain amount of confusion. We do anyway, but we tend to hyper-organize things in our minds. I wanted to finish up just a little bit, resume a little bit what we were talking about yesterday with the sixth day of creation, which is the day of the creation of man and woman, which is recounted right at the end of the first chapter of Genesis. Now, the man and woman are created on the sixth day in the first chapter of Genesis,


and then in the second chapter of Genesis, you remember that, you start all over again. There's a whole different account of creation, and in that one, remember, woman is drawn from the side of Adam, Eve, as God puts Adam to sleep, a general anesthetic, and then he opens up his side and takes out a rib and constructs a woman and brings her to Adam, and Adam names her. It's a strange kind of mythic, poetic image, which has wonderful depths to it, and with which John relates very well. Remember the piercing of the side of Jesus as he's asleep, as he's dead upon the cross. Now, the Fathers see in that the birth of the Church. The blood and the water that flow from the side of Jesus, the two sacraments, as it were, a baptism and the Eucharist, are, as it were, the spirit, the interior of the Church. Jesus is also moved into a feminine mode, as we saw, so he's giving birth, he's a mother on the cross. A woman recently wrote an article about that, what was it, in Cross Currents, I think, a


few issues ago, about Jesus as feminine. From that point of view, Jesus is on the cross giving birth. We talked about the Cana episode, particularly, on the sixth day, and we didn't give much attention to the others, and I said that Cana was John's way of representing a resurrection in a union, that is, a wedding, in a banquet, and in this transformation of water into wine, all of those things. Now, those things represent the new creation, the movement from the old creation to the new creation. By the way, the first creation, remember, was made by separation. The first day of creation, God separates the light from the darkness. The second day, he separates the upper waters from the lower waters, and he separates the earth from the waters. The new creation proceeds in the opposite way, by way of union, so that you even see that the history of creation is chiastic itself, okay? In other words, as Jerry said yesterday about Shakespeare, you know, you have to read him over twice, because coming back, you get, as it were, a doubling of what you had going


out. And it's that way, as you read the first creation, and then read the new creation in John. It has a chiastic relationship to the first creation, which may sound complicated, but when you get the symmetry of it, it simplifies things, actually, it gives you a total pattern. And I said that that Cana episode, you can read the whole Gospel of John through that. I said that to somebody that wrote a book in another language, contending that that was the key to the interpretation of John. And it's almost on a par with the prologue, as being a key to understanding John. But as the prologue is a key to understanding John in conceptual language, a kind of metaphysical language, almost abstraction, with a masculine language in a way, Cana is the doorway, the key to understanding John through the feminine language of symbolism, of imagery, and then directly it doubles itself, it squares itself, as it were, by the nuptial imagery of the wedding, of the bride and the bridegroom, the wedding and the banquet and the wine.


The other episodes of the sixth day, just briefly, I'm going to run through them and try to touch on something close to the center of them anyway. Remember, the second episode of the sixth day is very different, because instead of the mother of Jesus, we have Jesus and the Samaritan woman, this lady with a rather wild past, who is out in this heathen country, too, because remember, Samaria was kind of never-never-land, forbidden land for the Jews. It was a place where the Jewish religion had been all contaminated with paganism. Who was it? The Assyrians or the Babylonians had moved in a bunch of pagans and settled among the Israelites up there. So, the Jews and the Samaritans didn't get along. So, Jesus steps beyond the bounds that are expected in several ways here. First of all, by talking with a woman at all. That comes out on the account. The young rabbi is not supposed to be found talking with a woman in public, especially. Anyway. Secondly, the lady with her Samaritan nationality, that's another barrier. And thirdly, the lady with her past. She's had five husbands and the one that she's with now isn't her husband.


And Jesus just steps over all of this and makes a unique revelation of himself to her. He tells her he's the Messiah. And he says to her, I am. Those words that he had said in the center of our whole picture, the center of our whole pattern, those words of the Creator, as it were. So, there's an enormous revelation happening here. And he tells her about this new creation, this new worship in spirit and in truth. Neither on this mountain or that mountain. It's wonderful, that thing. Because all of the problems of religious division, you know, it's all this mountain or that mountain. Samaria or Jerusalem. And it's these exterior mountains. And in that scene, you've got the mountains that Jesus speaks of, and then you've got this well. Once again, it's sort of the masculine and the feminine. You've got these surface features of the two mountains competing with one another, as it were, okay? The dualism of the split religions of Israel, the Jewish religion, the Orthodox Jewish religion of Jerusalem, and then on the other side, the heretical religion of Samaria.


The Samaritans representing all of paganism, too. And Jesus says, neither on this mountain nor on that mountain shall you worship the Father. Because he seeks worshipers that will worship him in spirit and in truth. And then he says, he asks her for a drink of water, and he says, I'll give you a living water that will spring up within you. And that refers directly to the well that's in the scene. You've moved from the masculine mode to the feminine mode here, on the sixth day. From exterior worship, as it were, and these exterior symbols, these absolute necessities, you know, the right kind of worship, to the interior worship, which is unitive and therefore brings everything together, brings the mountains together, brings the whole earth together. And it's inside you, it's more. This well, this well of the living water, of the divine femininity, if you can bear to think about it in that way, flowing within you, making everything one. Jesus offers living water to this woman who had given him a drink of water. He asked her for a drink of water. It's very unusual, you know. You don't find Jesus, especially in John's Gospel, going around asking for things.


The disciples offer him food. He says, I don't need food because my food is to do the will of the Father, and so on. But he asks this woman for water. What's going on? He needs this complement of the feminine somehow. He needs this other side. This is the purpose of his whole work, is to bring into the world this, as it were, divine femininity. And this woman is dislocated. She's detached from her own being, from the well that's within herself. She's detached in some way from her own femininity, from the secret of her own being. And so she's gone around drinking at these other wells, with these other guys, these five men, and the one that she has now that isn't her husband. Always thirsty and never finding the real well. Now, Jesus, what does he do? He reveals to her her real nature. He reveals to her who she is in the light of this well of living water, which is the divine feminine, which he tells her about. And she runs off and tells the townspeople, here's a man who told me everything I ever did. Can he be the Christ? It's magnificent. Everything she ever did.


This is Eve, okay? This is woman. This is humanity itself. And Jesus has not just given her a history of everything she ever did. That's the only way she knows how to talk about it. But she's told her who she is, in the light of this well, and in the light of this living water, which he promises. In other words, I will give you yourself, I will give you your true being, I will give you what you are meant to be in God's creation, and how you are meant to minister to others through your being, through what you are, through your femininity. So he restores woman, as it were, to her true being, which is to be the minister of this divine feminine, the Beatrice, the medium, as it were, of this which comes into the world, which is also the glory of God. So that Samaritan episode is marvelous. It happens at noonday with the well. It's like the widest expanse under the noonday sun of Jesus' ministry, as he touches even these outcast Samaritans. Then the next one is all across on the other side, at Bethany, after Jesus has raised Lazarus


from the dead. We talked a little about that one, I think, the other afternoon. But what happens there is another meeting of masculine and feminine, another meeting of word and Sophia, of the external word. Jesus is about to go to his death, and Mary, they have a supper for him, they have a dinner for him. And this is just before the last supper. And she anoints his feet with this precious fragrance, and the fragrance fills the house. It's magnificent. Now, this is in the Synoptic Gospels in different ways. Remember, it's in the house of Simon the Pharisee. We don't hear about Simon the Pharisee. This is in the house of the Lazarus family, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Remember the whole drama there with Martha and Mary, and Jesus finally comes and raises Lazarus from the dead. And Lazarus is alongside Jesus there at this strange banquet. You have the man who's come back from the dead, the one who's about to go to his death, okay? The two of them there. And then you have the woman who anoints his feet for his burial, he says. And what you have here is another meeting, as it were, of word and Sophia.


The visible revelation of God in Jesus, this incarnation of the word, the visible revelation of God, and the gesture of the woman, which perfectly symbolizes what he's about to do. She comes to meet him with this gesture, this pouring out of the perfume which fills the house, but perfectly expresses what he's about to do in, as it were, his feminine mode. As he pours out this divine feminine into the world to fill the house. The house, what is the house? The house is the temple, the house is the body of Christ, the house is the human body, the house is humanity, but the house is also the whole world. So the new creation, as it is the cup of wine made from water, is also the house, the body that's filled with this new fragrance of the second creation, the new creation. And there are all kinds of resonances there in John, because remember Lazarus, what they were afraid of with Lazarus, don't open it up, he's four days dead, it's going to stink in there. The tomb filled with the stench of death is replaced by this room, this house, this body, which is filled with the fragrance of life. That fragrance of the myrrh, of the ointment, is also the fragrance of the garden of the


Song of Songs and the garden of Genesis, because we're moving back into the first creation account. So that's like Eve coming to Adam, you know, it's like a woman who is somehow changing her role. The Fathers see Eve as the one who feeds the fruit of death to humanity, and now woman somehow is the minister of life, and the one who understands what nobody else understands, which is what Jesus is about to do, as he pours himself out in this way and becomes the spirit, as it were, the divine feminine within us. The Lord is the spirit, as Paul says. That's the third one. Now, the fourth one, up at the top on the diagram, is Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus, and that's in a garden. So here we are back in a garden, and when you're in a garden, look out, because it's bound to be a reflection in John of the garden of Genesis, Genesis chapter 2. And it's also a reflection of the garden of the Song of Songs. So Magdalene, strangely, she's sort of out of her mind, she's running around looking


for the body of Jesus, because it's missing. There are two angels, spectacular chaps, and in the tomb she doesn't pay any attention to them, because she can't find the body of Jesus. And then, let me read a bit of the text. This is after she's brought the two disciples to the tomb. She said to them, They've taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they've laid him. When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn't know that it was Jesus. Jesus frequently appears in a strange form, and it's almost like that's to indicate that he's going to appear in every form. In other words, look out, because every stranger in somehow, not only may be Jesus, but somehow is Jesus, in this new form that he is. The way he comes to you is from every side. The way he comes to you is in everyone. She didn't know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? Same thing the angels asked. Whom are you looking for? Supposing him to be the gardener. Now, that's the tip-off. There we are back in Genesis 2. Because Adam was created to be the keeper, the cultivator of the gardener.


Adam was created to be the gardener. And even after his sin, what he has to do is to garden the earth, is to farm the earth, remember? It's going to bring forth thorns and thistles. So, here we are with Adam and Eve back in the garden once again. Here we are with man and woman, the basic masculine and feminine, back at the beginning of the creation all over again. This is the new creation happening at this point. Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have... This is really... It's comic in a way. It's like comedy where people don't... They don't know who the other person is. And the comedy is in that... I forget what they call it in literary terms. Yeah, yeah. It's going on here, see? Because this is Jesus, and she asks Jesus where Jesus is. Jesus said to her, Mary... Now, he never says that before in John's Gospel. He only says it here, right at the end. Remember at Cana? Cana is the matching episode of this one, because this one's up at the top, Cana's down at the bottom, remember? You've got two axes here, and on the vertical axis you move from the mother of Jesus at Cana to Mary Magdalene here in the garden, okay?


And those two things are mated in some way. Those two scenes are mated in some way. He says to her, Mary... And he called his mother a woman. Now, there's only one woman in all of these episodes, okay? And at this point, this woman has been recreated, okay? Here behind this, sort of, I think, is the tradition of the mother of Jesus, you know, of the virgin, of somehow the immaculate one, somehow the stainless one is behind this. And so when Jesus says to Mary Magdalene... Remember who she was in the Synoptic Gospels? That's the lady that had seven devils. She was dwelt in by seven devils. And evidently they'd been cast out by Jesus. And then she was one of his most fervent disciples. So here's a woman who has been the habitation of seven devils, here on the sixth day of creation, weeping. Remember the six water jars full of water that had to be filled up with water before the water could be turned into wine at Cana? The six days, the six days of work, the six days of labor, the six days of life,


and the six days of sorrow are now filled up to their brim, and the water can be turned into wine. And Jesus says to her, Mary, and the water turns into wine. And the wine, what is the wine anyway? What is the wine? The wine, for one thing, and there are about 99 different ways of looking at what this one gift is. The whole Gospel of John is about this one gift which is poured into people at their baptism, and which is expressed most fundamentally, perhaps, through the feminine, the divine feminine, through these four women that Jesus encounters on the sixth day. On the seventh day, the wine is simply poured into the vessel. The wine is simply poured into the disciples when Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into them. So he says to her, Mary, and immediately she's not only Mary Magdalene, the exercised one, but she's also the mother of Jesus, and she's also simply, she's Eve, and she's simply woman. She's both bride and interior spirit, which Jesus pours into the disciples in the next episode there, when he comes into the closed room and breathes the Spirit into them.


Comes into the room and breathes the Spirit into them, just as Mary of Bethany had anointed his body, remember, with the fragrance that filled the room. So he fills the body with the Spirit, fills the house, as it were, the temple. These images kind of merge and exchange. She's bride, she's this indwelling spirit, and she's also mother at this point. Okay, here we have to go to Isaiah. Remember, especially 2 and 3 Isaiah. There's chapter 54, those sort of songs, those poems that are addressing Jerusalem. Remember, storm-tossed one and barren one that never had any children. Now, push out your stakes and enlarge your place of dwelling, because you're going to have all kinds of children. So she's suddenly a multiple mother, this woman, this femininity, this human or cosmic femininity, suddenly becomes the bearer of all the children that there are. And this is the kind of myth of Jerusalem in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Remember that psalm that says, everybody's born in you?


Even Babylon and the rest of them are born in you, Jerusalem. So that's what's happening here. Somehow the feminine is necessary for the birth of this new creation. And remember, it's the feminine that's stuck next to Jesus through the whole thing. Who were beside the cross? Who were around Jesus? There were three women, Mary and then a beloved disciple. The beloved disciple is the one to whom Jesus gave his mother. The one to whom Jesus gave the particular gift of wisdom to carry all this through and then to express it. That's another reason, of course, for connecting, for not dissociating the beloved disciple, the Apostle John and the author of the Gospel. Because the intention of the Gospel is that it's that disciple who is relating this. It's that disciple who has been in these particular places, who has received this particular gift, symbolically, of the mother of Jesus, who is also the divine wisdom, Sophia. But a new divine wisdom, huh? The divine wisdom was also mother. We don't read about Sophia being mother in the Old Testament, do we?


She's the helper of God. She's the craftswoman, the helper of God in the creation. And then she comes and dwells in the creation, but she doesn't give birth. Just as the first creation remains outside God, and if there's a kind of centerpiece of the Jewish religion, it's that fact that the creature is different from the creator, okay? The second creation is a creation that happens inside God. And so Sophia herself, the divine feminine, the divine wisdom, becomes mother. And a mother does not just give birth, as it were, sending the children outside of herself, but gives birth within herself and retains those children within herself. In other words, we are born and grow within this divine feminine. And this is the particular charism, the particular gift of the beloved disciple, somehow. The one who is in the bosom of Jesus is the one who knows that place, as it were, in the womb and has to remain there. We'll see that when we spend a couple of minutes with the last chapter of John, chapter 21. The chapters where I find particularly that maternity of the woman in Isaiah


are chapters 54 and then 60, part of chapter 66, starting in verse 7 of chapter 66. I won't hunt them down because it takes too long. So that sixth day is essential to the whole progression that we're talking about, okay? And it's the richest development, I think, of John's symbolism. It's magnificent, you know, the way he orchestrates the Song of Songs. Remember when Jesus says, Well, don't hold on to me because I haven't yet ascended? If you look in the Song of Songs, that's there. She's looking for the beloved, okay? She's got up and she's going around the city looking for the beloved. She finds the watchman. Those are the angels. And then, I found him, whom my soul loves. And I held on to him and will not let him go until I've brought him into my mother's house. John is deliberately playing upon the Song of Songs at that point. And there's some very obscure, very mysterious things there. That house of the mother, that chamber of the one who bore me.


But it all, in some sort of way, fits together into this birth that's happening and into this place, this enclosed place of the beloved disciple, which ultimately is the place at the end of the prologue. Nobody's ever seen God. It's the only son in the bosom of the Father who has revealed him. That's where the beloved disciple is. That's what he knows. That's where he speaks from. There's this mystery of the fourth element, the fourth pole, the lower pole in our figure here. And I've puzzled and puzzled and wrestled and wrestled with that. And it's the child, in a way. It's the child that's being born. The child that's within us. The child that's being born within the earth. The child that's being born within the womb of the universe. Remember Paul in Romans 8. There's one passage there which is absolutely non-negotiable,


which is so precious in Romans 8. And that's where he expands this birth to the whole of the universe. And very clearly, at the same time, saying that we are the children of God, and that when the redemption of the universe happens, it's in the resurrection of our own bodies. Our bodies are in the center of this history, this new creation of the universe. And that again relates to the Eucharist, of course. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us, or in us, I think it is. And the glory is a very important word here also in John. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God. Now, what can that mean? It's a kind of rebirth of ours that hasn't happened yet. We're born and yet we're not born. We're born and yet we're still in the womb. And even when we are fully born, we'll still be in the womb, won't we? Because the womb is God himself, God herself. But the creation now is like a womb which hasn't yet opened to give birth. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will,


but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope. Now, futility means death and the fear of death and all the shadow that lies over life. That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. So humanity is in the center of the universe. In the history of the universe, the condition of the universe depends upon the condition of humanity. That happens through our spirits, our souls and our bodies. But particularly our bodies. The last thing, as it were, to be revived is the resurrection of our own flesh. The freedom of the glory of the children of God. Marvellous expression. The children of God who are the life of God waking up in the universe and waking up the universe around them. And so much of our life makes sense in those terms. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now. The creation itself is a mother. The shell of the creation is a mother that's giving birth to another creation within itself. Just like ourselves, you know, we talk about the true self being born and so on.


All the psychology of the child, the discovery that the secrets of healing are somehow in rediscovering the child in one way or another. From Freud to Jung to most of the contemporary psychologists, I think, that's it. You go back down up the stream of history until you find the child and that's where the healing, the regeneration can take place. And Christian baptism, of course, roots itself in at that point, going a little further, going much further into God, into the real beginning. Not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit have grown inwardly while we wait for adoption and redemption of our bodies. We're already redeemed, but we've grown inwardly. The Spirit is trying to bring something to birth within us. The Spirit is like the mother who makes us mothers, the mother who assists us in our birth. Just as the Spirit is the bride who makes us brides, the Spirit is also the mother who makes us mothers. This divine femininity. About the divine beginning and this childhood, this new birth,


there's a lot in the first letter of John. The first letter of John is sort of a distillation of John's Gospel. There's some harsh things in there, there's a harsh dualism in there between we who are the children of God who are in the truth and the world which is under the devil. Remember, the whole world is under the devil, and yet the world too is to be regenerated. One of the reasons why I read Romans is to... This redemption of the creation is to balance off that first letter of John, because I was going to read you some passages from there. I'll read one, one or two, which sort of give the heart of the thing. This is a familiar one. This is from the first letter of John, chapter 3. See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Now, it's very important to realize the kind of snap that there is, the kind of spring, the kind of mystical energy that there is


in this idea of being children of God. This is not just a figure of speech. And if we're children of God, we're not other additional children of God. We are children of God in the child of God. God has one child. Meister Eckhart is a master on this. He writes about the Father generating us. There's only one thing the Father likes to do, and that's to beget the Son, to beget the child, to give birth. And so he gives birth to us in the child, in the Son. So we are the one child of God somehow, all of us. Just as we spoke of one mother there, a woman being one mother, so there's one child, and we are all that child. And yet, each of us independently, separately, distinctly a child. That unitive revolution happens at that point, where we are Christ, we are the child, we are the one being born, suddenly. And this too is the mystery of baptism. Beloved, we are God's children now. What we will be has not yet been revealed. Now, what can you be, in addition to being God's child? What else can you be but God?


So God's child there is used in another sense. It's allowed to become diminished a little bit, in order that what we know not yet may be brought into the light, which is to say that divinity itself, the divine glory, in some way belongs to us and has not yet emerged. It's like what Paul is saying when he says we haven't been born yet. We're already the children, but we haven't been born. We're already divine, and yet we're children of God, not yet fully God. So he's playing a little bit with the sense of the expression children of God there, I think. What we do know is this. When he is revealed, that is Christ, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. We like him. He doesn't say we will be him, but that's, I believe, what he means. For we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves just as he is pure. I don't want to try to jam together too much this morning, but let's take a brief look at something that happens in this sixth day,


but really belongs to the seventh day, and that's in chapter 20. Before the Magdalene Jesus episode in the garden that we looked at a moment ago, something else happened, something strange. Mary Magdalene, the beginning of chapter 20 in John, comes to the tomb and sees that the stone has been removed and that the tomb is empty. And so she runs off and tells Peter and the other disciple, whom we take to be the beloved disciple, whom we take basically to be John. And she says, they've taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they've laid him. It gets to be a really weird little drama going on here. And Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. They have a kind of a ritual dance here that's going on. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. So Jesus is not in the tomb with the wrappings, the cloths are there. Then Simon Peter came following him and went into the tomb.


He saw the linen wrappings. He has the right somehow. See, he's got the right to be first. So the interplay between the two is very interesting. And this goes right to the end of John's Gospel, between the beloved disciple, or John, and Peter. There's a kind of rivalry there. And there are two ways, two personalities, two currents, two ways, two dimensions that John is revealing here. Peter has the right always to be first. He's the head, okay? But in some way, John is the heart. John is always swifter. If Peter wants to know something, he has to ask John. And John's leaning on the breast of Jesus and he tells him. Like, Peter had to ask John who the betrayer was going to be. And then John was closer to Jesus, asked Jesus, and then he tells Peter. Or, in Chapter 21, when they're in the boat, it's John that recognizes, the beloved disciple who recognizes that it's Jesus on the shore. Peter's always the second one to know. So he's the slower one to get there, as it were, but he has the right to step in. He's the rock, he's the chief, he's the external head. And then he goes in, and he sees the cause, and that's all we hear. And then the beloved disciple steps into the tomb.


Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed. We don't hear that Peter believed. For as yet they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. When John says that he saw and believed, what did he see? He saw this cloud, okay? And he believed. I think that's the birth of the beloved disciple, actually. I think that when the beloved disciple steps into the tomb, it's like being in the place... That's the place of the resurrection, isn't it? That tomb is the place where the light came out of the darkness. That's the place where the new creation exploded out of the darkness of death, and out of the old creation, that tomb. The beloved disciple stepped into that place. Do you remember what the vocation of that beloved disciple is? It's to remain. It's to remain. The beloved disciple is the one who knows this place. In other words, the center, whatever it is. That's the place that he knows, and that's where everything happens. He steps in there, and somehow he gets born. Now, there's a very mysterious kind of history behind these grave clothes.


There's a passage in St. Paul, in 2 Corinthians, where he's talking about the Word of God, he's talking about the Torah, the Scripture, and how when the Jewish people read the Scripture, there's a veil that lies over their minds, remember? And they read the exterior, but they don't get inside the exterior, because the veil is still over their minds. He says, when somebody turns to the Lord, turns to Christ, the veil is taken away, and they see into the heart of the Scriptures. Do you remember where that veil comes from? It's the veil of Moses. Moses, when he went in to see the Lord in the tabernacle, went in bare-faced. But when he came out, his face was shining, and it scared the Israelites, so they asked him to put a veil over his face, which is symbolic. So when he would come out from the direct encounter with God, he would put the veil over his face. When he'd go back in, he'd take it off again. You see, the inside, where it's face-to-face, as it were, direct contact, direct communion, no veil, and the outside, where there's the veil. Now, that's what Paul is playing on. Now, this headcloth that's lying separate from the other gravecloths here


connects with that veil, okay? The fathers have a lot of fun with that veil of Moses, because already St. Paul gives them an excuse for doing it. He does it himself in 2 Corinthians. So when the beloved disciple steps into the grave and sees the gravecloths there, and the veil, as it were, sudarion is the Greek word, it's the facecloth, lying separate from the other garments, he sees and he believes. I think the veil is taken away from his eyes, from his face at that moment. Do you remember at the end of the Last Supper, just before the big prayer in John 17, Jesus said to his disciples, Up to now I've spoken to you in figures, there will come a time when I'll no longer speak to you in figures, but tell you plainly of the Father. Do you remember that? We said that the sixth day was the final blossoming of the symbolism, of the imagery of John's Gospel. And then the seventh day is the day of the rest. It's the day beyond imagery. It's the day beyond words. It's the day of union. It's the day of interior realization, somehow.


So I think what happens there is actually that he moves beyond the symbols and the images, and in that emptiness, in that vacancy of the tomb, which represents, as it were, the spirit, the invisibility of the spirit, he realizes within himself the resurrection. Call it the wine of Cana, or whatever. But he himself is born at that moment. He himself has the resurrection happen inside of himself. And that tomb then becomes what? The tomb, this place, becomes also the womb of God. It becomes the place that the end of the prologue talks about when it said nobody's seen God, but he who is in the bosom of the Father, he's made him known. At this point, he's made him known to the beloved disciple. So the rock, the tomb, the place of death, becomes the place of birth. And that tomb, of course, resonates also with the tomb of Lazarus, but we don't have time to talk about that now. There's another level to that. There's the exodus level to that, okay? And that face cloth is called the Sudarion. Well, what about Genesis?


What about Adam? Do you remember when Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden? Remember what God told them? Remember what he told Adam? He said, well, you're going to have to farm the earth and earn your bread in the sweat of your brow, until you return to the earth from which you were taken. In the sweat of your brow, until you return to the earth from which you were taken. Adam means earth, doesn't he? Now, Sudarion comes from the word for sweat. So the face cloth somehow represents, as it were, the veil that covers the face of Adam until he somehow paid the debt, until he's returned to the earth. The face cloth represents the veil which surrounds the garden of Eden, which surrounds the interior place of God, until it's taken away. Now the veil has been taken away. The face of Adam once again is uncovered. So, the beloved disciple at that point is also...


And the beloved disciple and Jesus are one at this point, you see, because Jesus awakens in the tomb, and he is in the creation at that point. Then the beloved disciple steps into the tomb, and as if a person is baptized once in water, and then they're baptized in the rock, baptized in the earth. At this point he's baptized in the earth. He's baptized in the earth in which Jesus has been baptized, and born again. And so he's born again, but it's really Jesus being. It's one thing that happens there, okay? When the veil is taken away, it's all one thing. The resurrection event is one thing. It's like the today of the liturgy. And this happens in the rock there, it happens in the tomb. So, he's the firstborn. The beloved disciple is the firstborn. And then you have this whole string of disciples, remember? You've got Peter, and you don't know quite where he is. You don't know what he understands, and so on. And then, in John 20, you've got the two gatherings after this, of the disciples, both on the first day of the week. So there's a Eucharistic ring to these gatherings already. There's meant to be, I believe. In other words, it's like a liturgical gathering, except they haven't seen the Lord yet.


And then he comes and stands in their midst. Now, when John uses that word, in their midst, you can imagine there's more to it than meets the eye, too. Because this is the Lord who comes into the center, who comes into the center point, as it were, of the dwelling, of the house of your being, of the cosmos, and so on. He's the one at the center of the mandala, the one at the center of the universe, when he stands upon the waters. So he comes and he stands in their midst, and he says, Peace be to you. And this, of course, resonates with the Sabbath rest of God, this peace be with you, this greeting. Which is not just a wish, but also, what would you say, it's a command, in a sense. It's the establishing of a reality. And then, now we're on the seventh day. This is in chapter 20. When it was evening on that day, on the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews. Very significant, everything's significant here in John.


The doors locked for fear of the Jews. That reminds you of a couple of things. One of them is, remember the Passover, when the Jews were locked into their houses? Before the angel went over and destroyed the Egyptians, the firstborn of the Egyptians, and so on. And they remain in the house throughout this chapter, which is curious, it's an anticlimax in John 20. Because, for instance, in the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, you have the disciples tumbling out of this upper chamber, you know? Not right at the beginning, but on Pentecost Day. So the chamber is broken open, it's like the womb opening, and this new life coming out. But here, in John 20, they remain in the chamber. The first thing that happens is that Jesus comes and shows them his wounds, his hands and his side. Shows them those openings in his body. And it's as if he presents himself to them once again as the tree. It's as if he once again erects that figure before them. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.


Remember, they were glad to take him into the boat, the first episode we had there on the sea. These appearances of Jesus resonate with one another. The one when he's walking on the waters, and the one when he comes and stands in the middle of the disciples here. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained. Now, as I mentioned before, this breathing of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples repeats the act of God in creating Adam in the second chapter of Genesis. So it's as if here on the seventh day, after we've gone through all these different facets and aspects of the new creation, the whole thing is symbolized by the breathing of the Spirit of God into the disciples who are the new temple and the new body of Jesus. In other words, the Son of Man is being generated at this point. The Son of Man is being born, because the Son of Man is the disciples, is the church, is the greater body of Christ.


And he said in the beginning, you'll see greater things than these. He's talking about that greater life of His that's coming, that greater Christ that's to be born. Now, this resonates directly with the baptism of Jesus in the first chapter, remember? It's not explicit in the first chapter, but when the Baptist refers to it and he says, Well, I baptize you with water, but there's one who's coming who's going to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Now, this is the baptism of the disciples in the Holy Spirit. Baptism is always coming back. It's at the beginning and it's at the end here. And there's a Eucharistic suggestion in the very gathering itself. And we'll find a little more of a Eucharistic suggestion, I think, in the next part, which is about Thomas. Before we talk about the Thomas part, I'd like to refer back to the first chapter, the first episode, which is in chiastic parallel with this. Remember what happens there?


You've got a John the Baptist who's got these two disciples and he points out Jesus to the two disciples. And then they go up and they follow Jesus. And he said, Where are you dwelling? And he says, Come and see, those marvelous words. And then they came and they stayed with him. And then gradually they accumulate other disciples and bring Peter. The brother of Peter was there, Andrew. He brings Peter to Jesus and he says, We shall be called Peter Rock and so on. And finally they come to this fellow Nathaniel, this strange holdout fellow who's under his fig tree there. A very strange thing happens. You've got the baptismal symbol there in the beginning with John the Baptist and that prediction of the dove. And we mentioned the dove came upon him and remained. And then at the end, they go to Nathaniel and they're all full of enthusiasm. We say, We found him about whom Moses and the law and also the prophets wrote. And Nathaniel says, Well, what else is known? Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him.


He said of him, Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit, no guile. Now, the connection is with Jacob. The other name of Jacob is Israel. And Jacob is the one who fell asleep, remember, put his head on a stone on the way to, where was it? Haran, and had this vision of the ladder reaching from heaven to earth. The heavens opened and a ladder with God at the top of it reaching from heaven to earth and the angels of God ascending and descending on that ladder. Now, the ladder and the fig tree actually are one thing. In fact, the ladder and the fig tree and Jesus are all one thing here. What is it that connects heavens with the earth? Nathaniel asked him, Where did you get to know me? And Jesus answered, I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you. The fig tree is the ladder which Jacob saw reaching from heaven to earth. And it's also the tree in the garden. It's the tree of life. And if Nathaniel is under his fig tree,


is an Israelite without guile. Do you remember anything about fig trees in the garden of Genesis? The fig tree was the leaves with which Adam and Eve concealed themselves, covered themselves out of shame after they had sinned. So this goes along with the veil we were talking about in the tomb, the face cloth. That this clothing of deceit or of concealment or the shadow, whatever it is that results from fear and from guilt and from shame has been removed. So it's as if Nathaniel here represents the new Adam or the son of man at the foot of this tree which reaches up to heaven. But the tree is also the son of man. And then we got this strange verse at the end. Nathaniel responds as he should. He says, Rabbi, you're the son of God. You're the king of Israel. So he's convinced. Jesus has got him now. But he responds to Nathaniel and he says, do you think this is something big?


Because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than these. Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man. And that's the strange thing because you don't find that anywhere in John. So what's happening there? I think this reflects back actually to John 20 and that's where I went through it just now. There's more that we could say about that. But one thing about it is the ascending and descending. If you look at the Greek verbs, they're the same two verbs that are used in the baptism of Jesus. As Jesus was ascending from the water. I think it's anabainain. The spirit descended upon him, katabainain. And the deliberate reflection of the baptism of Jesus here. And then we move with that baptism into chapter 20. And then we find the disciples again in the house and Thomas is with them. Thomas, who parallels Nathaniel. Notice how the two of them are the holdouts. Nathaniel has said, well, can anything good come out of Nazareth? It's as if Thomas said, can anything good come off that cross?


Can anything good come out of that death? Can anything good come from that horror? Thomas couldn't get past the horror of the death of Jesus. And he demands to see the wounds of Jesus and put his hands in them. He's got to somehow probe that. That that could be a living body that suffered that. We don't know what Thomas' obsession with death consists of. But Thomas is the twin. And John doesn't waste anything at all. Who is this twin anyhow? Who is he the twin of? It's almost like he's the twin of everybody. He's the twin of Nathaniel, okay? He's the twin of the beloved disciple because he's the last born and the beloved disciple is the first born, but they're all born at once because they're all born in the resurrection of Jesus, in the rebirth of Jesus. He's the twin who is somehow double, remember? Even his exclamation like that of Nathaniel, my Lord and my God, is a double exclamation. He's the twin who is somehow bitten by the serpent of the knowledge of good and evil. The one who is eaten from the other tree, as it were, and who is divided, who is two,


and who is now going to be one by discovering Jesus. That sounds a little far-fetched, but this twin thing is worth thinking about for Thomas. He's double man. He's the double human being. And so he's between life and death. He can't believe that death can be swallowed up in life as it is in the body of Jesus now. I'm being a little bit clumsy about that, but it's worth reflecting on. Okay, so Jesus comes again and he says the same words, Peace be to you. He repeats the scene. And once again, there's a Eucharistic resonance here because this is on the first day of the week. It's on the Lord's Day, so it kind of reflects the liturgical, the Eucharistic observance in the early church. Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt, but believe. Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe, and yet come to believe. It reflects directly what happened between Jesus and Nathanael, right? The reluctance, then the surrender,


both of Nathanael and of Thomas, and then the response and the double exclamation. Nathanael said, Rabbi, you're the Son of God. You're the King of Israel. Thomas says, My Lord and my God. Notice when he says, My Lord and my God, it's not the objective recognition of Nathanael. You are the, you are the, my Lord, my God. Somehow, what he needed was to have this experience in himself. Somehow, what he needed to get over his doubleness, his duplicity, his kind of being bent over by the mystery of death, the ambivalence of life in the face of death, was to realize this thing inside himself. To have this unitive experience, and that's what he's had now, this unitive experience. So, the twin is born at this point. The double man is born in the one birth, which is the resurrection of Jesus, the same as the birth of the beloved disciple in the tomb. And this place becomes very important. If you look in the story in Genesis, after Adam and Eve are cast out of the garden,


God says, we don't know quite to whom, he says, well, let's fix this so they can't get back in. Let's plant an angel there, and a wall, and a fiery sword, lest man put forth his hand and take from the tree of life. What does Jesus say to Thomas here? He says, reach out your hand and put it in my side. What's happened there is that the garden has been opened once again, and Thomas has reached in and taken the fruit of the tree of life. That's the real Eucharistic connection there. He's taken the fruit of the tree of life, and that's why he can say, my Lord and my God. That's the unitive tree. That's the tree, when you eat of that tree, you eat of the one life, which is the life of Jesus, which is the risen life, the life of the one, the life of the one tree, of the word of God. So, he's taken of that fruit, and his doubleness is healed. The shadow of death is removed. The garden is opened,


and he can say, my Lord and my God, after his resistance, after holding out in that way. So, once again, you move from the baptism to the Eucharist. You move from the baptism of the disciples in the Holy Spirit here to this Eucharistic experience of Thomas on the first day of the week, on the Lord's Day. And I'll go back to that troubling verse at the end of the first chapter there. You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, which brings us back to the baptismal moment once again. And what I think we've got there is this tree reaching from heaven to earth, and the angels of God... Once again, we have to go inside. The angels have disappeared. There were two angels in the tomb, but they don't matter. The angels have disappeared, and the only angels, the only messengers of God now, as it were, inside God, are the Word and the Spirit, ascending and descending. Jesus is ascending, and the Spirit is descending. And the Son of Man is both the tree, is both the ladder and the fig tree here,


the tree of life, and also the Son of Man is the disciple at the bottom, or the disciples gathered at the bottom of the tree. They are the Son of Man. The Word, the Lord, ascends, and the Spirit descends. And because the Spirit descends, the Spirit of the Lord descends, they are the Son of Man as well as He is. The heavens are open, just as the garden is open for Thomas here, and just as the body of Jesus has been opened. So... Yes? I'm just going back to the locked door image. John, you mentioned the locked doors and everything. Yes. Locked doors open wound. Is it almost as if John is sort of saying you can no longer go out to find what you must... you are being given within? I mean, is he saying that or is that reading him too much? I think so.


I think so, yeah. I think he's talking about interiority here. And when he says, Blessed are those who have not seen yet have come to believe. Okay? The function, I think, of this episode is in part to bring the Gospel, to make it accessible, make Jesus accessible to all of those who are not the immediate disciples, who can't see. All of those... Thomas, first of all, is the one who hasn't seen Jesus at first, okay? He represents that. But then beyond him are all of those who never see Jesus visibly, but have to realize him inside. So it's another move from the exterior visibility, which disappears after the death of the apostles and the departure of Jesus, to the interior. So, the closed house and the open body. Yeah, I think you're right. That resonance between the two, it puzzled me in the past, and I can't remember what came up out of it.


But that, I believe, is true. It just struck me when you were speaking that you juxtaposed, without maybe telling you, you juxtaposed locked doors and then the image of a pulpit wound through which the only way we can enter. They go together, yeah. And then the image came to me that the locked doors are just keeping the Jews out, but in a certain sense it might be preventing the community from moving too quickly back to their religious status quo, because there's a whole new creation they have to discover within, and not run back to the temple. That's right. I think we're supposed to understand the locked doors as being temporary. That is, they're bursting open after this. But this whole drama has occurred within the locked doors, because it's an interior experience. And the seeing of Jesus is not really what matters. Just as it was strange that in the tomb the beloved disciple is said to have seen, but what did he see? There was nothing to see. Jesus wasn't there. All he could see was those clothes lying on the floor. So he saw it in another way.


And he was one of those, actually, who did not see but believed, even though it's said that he saw. Yeah, the contrast of a closed house and an open body is deliberate. The final chapter of John, I don't want to keep you much longer, but just to suggest a couple of points in that final chapter, chapter 21. It's not part of the Mandala, I don't think, although I could be wrong about that. Ellis fits it into his chiastic scheme in the last episode. What's going on there? John 21. Now, what first strikes you is you've got a whole different scene here, and a whole different kind of activity, and even a whole different focus. It focuses on the disciples, it seems, instead of on Jesus in the first place. And it's about activity and so on, you know. It really doesn't seem to belong to the same system, symbolic system especially. It doesn't seem to take you back to Genesis. But there's one thing


you should remember, that is, there's a connection, for instance, between the catch of fish here in the sea and the piercing of the side of Jesus on the cross. Okay. There's a strong connection there because if you read Ezekiel, where is it, chapter 37 or 47 of Ezekiel, you see that underneath the temple opens a spring and the water flows out from the spring and becomes a stream, and the stream flows into the sea and everywhere that stream goes, the fish multiply. That's the stream of living water that flows from underneath the temple. Now that's flowing from the pierced body of Jesus, okay, and it flows into the sea and the fact that this is called sea here and not just lake, the sea of Tiberias, that's the sea which is enlivened by this living water which flows from the side of Jesus. So there's a continuity directly there. And where we had the closed house before, here we're absolutely out in the open. It's as if the closed house


was a Johannine scene, okay. That's the interiority of this history. And what we have now is the exteriority of it in the person of Peter. The first person you meet up with here is Peter, isn't it? He says, I'm going fishing. Peter is the active one. He's the one who's got initiative. He's the leader. And so he sets out fishing and they say, we'll go with you. And it's a strange thing that they should go, as if nothing ever happened, you know. You might as well be back in the beginning of the gospel before they ever met Jesus. Here they are going fishing. Now, this is Peter's show, not John's show. And let's see what happens. So they go out and they fish all night. And this is in the other gospels, by the way, but it's not at the end. See, John uses this in a different way than they do. It's close to the beginning. Remember where Jesus calls the disciples after the big catch of fish? He says, come follow me, and they drop everything and follow him? That's the way, I believe it's the same event, is used in a couple of the other gospels. So they see Jesus on the beach


and they don't know who it is. And he says, have you got any fish? And they probably rumble back at him, no. Cast the net to the right side of the boat. I think that happens in the other gospel. And now they can't pull it in because there's so many fish. Now, this is a baptismal symbol here for John, okay? And these fish are... Remember what he says in the other gospel at the end of the fish miracle? He says, come on, I'll make you fishers of people. That's our inclusive version anyway, fishers of people. So, make you fishers of men in the old version. So John's version of that is this actual event of catching the symbolic people who are these 153 fish, okay? Now, what does 153 mean? Well, you can do all kinds of things. All the numbers up to 17 added together. And there are a number of things you can do with it. But it seems probable that this is all the number of the species of fish


that have been identified in the world at that time, okay? According to the ancient biologists or fishologists or whatever they were, okay? So, it refers to all of the races, all of the nations of humankind. In other words, this is everybody. This is all of them. This is the whole world. This is the cosmic harvest of the fishermen. And Peter is the head of this fishing expedition, so the head of this great mission. And the Beloved Disciple recognizes Jesus and Simon is the one who jumps in the water. Simon's son of Jonah. Simon who somehow has to go through the water again. He didn't want Jesus to wash his feet. Now he jumps in, head over heels. Somehow Simon still has to go through the water. Simon still has to. But the Beloved Disciple doesn't have to. He's got another role. Somehow he's already there where Simon is going. So they bring the fish to land and they see this charcoal fire there. And who made the fire? I don't know. Jesus did. With fish on it and bread. Reminding you of the


sixth chapter of John, right? The Eucharistic chapter of John. The Bread of Life. Bring some of the fish that you've caught. So Peter goes and gets them and brings some fish. Come and have breakfast. They knew it was Jesus at this point. So he comes and he does a kind of ritual meal here. And which repeats some of what you didn't see in the Last Supper, doesn't it? Because we didn't have Jesus giving the bread, feeding the disciples at the Last Supper. He washed their feet. Instead, here he's feeding them. Now here, again, you've got baptism followed by Eucharist in some way. You've got the bath, the sea episode, and then you've got the food, the feeding. And then there's this drama between Jesus and Peter. Peter would deny Jesus three times and now Jesus asks him three times, do you love me? And after he gets sort of confirmed or checked out, then Jesus walks off and Peter follows him. Jesus says, follow me.


And they turn around and see the other disciple. Peter says, what about him? And Jesus says, none of your business. You follow me. If he's to remain here until I come, what is that to you? Now here we have two great traditions in the Church and two dimensions of our own being. If we talked about a double reading of John and a double reading of life, as it were, here it is. One is the narrative historical reading, which means following Jesus along the line of the Gospel history, as you have it in any of the other Gospels. That's the way of Peter and that's the Western way. Peter represents also the Western tradition. The way of John is to remain here. See, that's that other level where you discover the center. Now what is that center, after all, for John? Well, it's the place at the cross. John is the only one we hear about in John, in John's Gospel, among the disciples, the men disciples being there at the cross. It's the place in the tomb


from which Jesus rose and where the beloved disciple experienced his own birth. And remember that he's the one who received the mother of Jesus. The place is the womb. The place is the center of the figure somehow. The place is the dwelling of Jesus. That's what John knows. If John starts his Gospel by saying, in the beginning was the Word, what is that beginning? That beginning, in the end, is God. That's what John knows is that place, which is talked about at the end of the Prologue. Nobody's ever seen God. But the only Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. Remember the beloved disciple is the one who was in the bosom of Jesus, remember, at the Supper? Now what does he learn in the bosom of Jesus? And what does he learn in the tomb? And what does he learn at the cross? He learns this bosom of God, this place inside God. That's what the beloved disciple knows. And if you've been there, if you know that place, all you have to do is stay there. So those are like the Eastern contemplative


tradition in Christianity and the Western, call it active or missionary tradition in Christianity, but they're also two dimensions of our own lives, okay? Each of us has that interior place and the way of John is to find that place and learn to remain there. And John's Gospel is like the guidebook to finding that place. Somehow when we understand the Gospel, we also find the place within ourselves. Although it's an exaggeration to say that they go along in strict parallel. We can do a lot of things with our heads without really finding our hearts. And the other way is simply the way of external life, the life that we have to live. When Jesus says to Peter, follow me, what does he say in the other Gospel? He says, take up your cross and follow me, okay? And here, John says that he was telling what death he had to die by, which of course is the death on the cross. So it means to pick up the load that we have to carry, to pick up the cross beam of that cross, which has, in the end, to be fixed to the vertical pole, as it were, to that tree. And that, what is that? That thing that we carry.


It's our human condition, it's our human life, it's what's given to us. It's also one another, you know. It's the yoke of Christ. For a Christian, it's, as it were, the body, the yoke of Christ, which we have to carry to the place, finally. So, from one point of view, the Johannine point of view, we're already there and we have to remain there. From the point of view of Peter, we're not there yet, we have to follow Jesus who's still going there, who's still on the road going there, and we have to carry this load, this cross beam, to the place. So, if I take too long, if I wanted to kind of do a summary, but I'll leave you with those two points and then two other points, which are baptism in Eucharist, which will come back again and again and again. There's like the beginning and the end of our life, and what you find in John's Gospel is a symbolic development of baptism in Eucharist. And if you find out what he means by baptism and what he means by Eucharist, I think you've got the two poles, as it were, of your life, the beginning and the end. When he describes the life of Peter here, that when you were young


you dressed yourself, you girded yourself, you went where you wanted. When you're old, somebody else will carry you where you don't want to go. It's from the Eucharistic life of the first phase, the self-centered life of the first phase, to the life for others by which we become Eucharist in the second phase, like the two halves of life. The first half of life, the baptismal half, which is receiving, which is being born, which is receiving into us the gift of God. The second half, which is becoming the incarnation of that gift, so that we become the food for others, okay? I think that's what Peter has to do here. Peter starts out being a fisherman, he ends up being a shepherd. He starts out just hauling them in, going where he wants and hauling them in. I'm going fishing, you know, he goes out and fills the nets. He ends up being a shepherd, having to feed my sheep, having to care, not for what he wants to do, not for his own mission, his own impulse, but his own will, but rather to care for the sheep, feed my sheep. And ultimately, he has to feed them with his own body, he has to feed them with his own self,


the death that he has to die. So our life is a movement from baptism to Eucharist between those two tracks, as it were, on both of those channels of the life of following Jesus, which is that movement, and the life of interiorly remaining where we already are, finding that central place, which is the center of ourselves, which is the center of the universe, where everything comes together. We find that place where we're in touch with everything, because it's the center of God, because it's the Word who is in the bosom of the Father. So I think that's sort of the way that John is pointing us. Notice that there's a lot of kind of free play and slippage in these things, and that's all right. The thing to do is sort of to get into the music, to move with the energy of the Gospel itself. Yes? When Peter jumps to the water, doesn't he strip off what he's wearing? I think he girds it up. I mean, he jumps, he gets confused when he sets it up, and wonders


if that has bearing on what you're just talking about. What he does, according to this translation, is to put on some clothes before he was naked, which is the strangest thing to do if you're going swimming. So there must be a significance here. I'm sure there is. Otherwise, he'd better explain it to us. He had this wonderful theory that was stumbling off everything that he had to let go. Well, I would think that jumping into the water signifies another death and rebirth. It's almost like jumping out of your own skin, in a sense, you know. So, to tell you the truth, I don't understand that. At least now, nothing meaningful comes to mind to interpret that for you. I think it is differently translated in different versions, but that's what it says here. I don't remember how it is in the Greek. When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes before he was naked and jumped into the sea. Now, Peter is also... You know, he makes mistakes, but that seems like a strange... His resonance is with Eden.


I mean, when the victim of the Lord is visiting in the evening, they throw themselves out of shame. That's right. It almost seems like it would be the opposite if this was the new creation. Yeah, yeah. He should be taking it off instead of putting it on. Maybe, at least on a practical level, he thinks that he's going to the shore where there will be people, and he's been naked before, so when he comes out of the water in public, he doesn't have a bathing suit on anyway. That's right. I mean, just on a practical level. That's right. And even before the Lord, because he doesn't have this simple naturalness with the Lord, especially at this point. He also might, at that point, have something to expiate, at least from his own point of view, this rejection of Christ, and maybe this is some kind of his own personal baptism for that. Yeah, I think it is. I think that's what he's doing, actually. That's what he's doing. He's realized that he's got to go through the water. Whatever that water symbolizes,


he's got to go through it. And it means a baptism, it means a death, and so he jumps in. And that's the equivalent of his saying, I'm going to wash my head and my hands also, you know, at the supper. Also notice that the fire here reflects the fire in the courtyard where Peter was warming his hands when he denied the Lord. Okay? And that's deliberate. In other words, Peter is questioned at this fire because he denied the Lord at the other fire. Okay? And the movement from the water to the fire is important also. In other words, the Syrians are the ones who are masters at that kind of poetry. The water and the fire and the baptism and the Eucharist. But I won't try to develop that any further. The fire is very important at this point. Maybe psychologically he also had so much ego still and he couldn't be so strict and so he had to cover himself. I think that's connected with it, you know. It's connected with it. In other words, he's got to put something, he's got to put something on because, well, he's still a shinning man in some way, if you want to attach it to the Adam thing. Because his ego


is still very much operative. Whereas the Buddha, the disciples, you don't see that at all. He's sort of transparent. There are also the sense of the not looking back. That he's not really following the boat and he's going to be following wherever there is to follow him to get all the things that he's going to need because he doesn't know where Jesus is. He might not end up on the shore. He doesn't end up on the shore. Yeah. It's strange at the end of it where they're just walking away, you know. In fact, when he says remain here, what does he mean remain here? I would say remain at the fire. The fire is the place once again, okay. All these places line up right from that place in John 1 where they say, well, where do you dwell? That marvelous thing where they say, well, where do you dwell? Where are you staying? It's the same word. See, dwell, that meaning, that Greek verb is the same as the one for remain here in John 21. So where do you stay? Where do you dwell? Where does the word dwell? Well, the Prologue tells us where the word dwells. That's that one place which is represented by all these places throughout the Gospel. And that's also


the Garden of Eden, okay, that place. That's probably enough for this morning. Thank you very much. Thank you. I've got a couple more copies of that Cato paper if anybody wants them. Good.