John Class #15

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Lecture on Gospel of John.

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4 ways to read John's Gospel. Overview of John chapter 12 thru 19. Gospel of St. John # 13. Wednesday of Holy Week


The Johannine material which we're having, actually, in Holy Week, because you know that
most of this, the second half of the plant has been intensely Johannine, and this doesn't
quit even though the other Gospels begin coming back in.
Tomorrow for the commemoration of the Lord's Supper, of course, we'll have the Gospel of
John, John's account of the foot washing, and on Good Friday we'll have the Passion
according to John.
So there's still plenty coming, and so what I want to do, actually, is see if we can get
a simple vision of the whole, a kind of synthetic view, which also will tell us where the theological
center of gravity is, in other words, what's happening according to John.
That may sound rather ambitious, but John gives us plenty of clues.
First I'd like to say something about the different ways of reading John.
We've done something like this before, but it comes up again now.
The first big choice is, do you, and I have some notes on this, if anybody wants this
I'll give it to you later on, these ways of reading John.
It's just a reinterpretation of something we said before.
The first big question, the first big kind of fork in the road is, do we read John, for
instance, do we listen to the text of this week in order to apply them immediately to
our own lives, or should I put it another way, do we search for the reality of the Gospel
of John in our own experience, and in the history of the world that's taking place around us,
in our journey and in the journey of, let's say, God's people today, or do we lose ourselves
and lose our experience into the mystery as we see it in the Gospel?
That's the big alternative, the big choice, okay?
Let's see if I can put it in other words.
Do we look for the reality of Christ, the reality of the Gospel, do we interpret it
immediately in terms of our own experience?
Do we search for the Gospel in what we experience and in what we see around us, or do we lose
ourselves in the Gospel, in the action, in the drama that's happening, in the Word, and
then expect that later to manifest itself in our experience or itself to be our experience?
Do you see the choice there?
Well, what I propose is, of course, that both of those things are necessary, all right, that
they really are alternatives, that you do one and then you do the other.
And if you study the exegesis of the Fathers or of the medieval Christian exegesis, you'll
find that they had a system for that, that one of those ways of reading the Scripture
was basically what they...
Often they called it the allegorical sense, that's not fair because the word is a negative
word for us.
I'd rather call it the symbolic sense.
And the second is the, they call it the topological sense or the moral sense, we can call it the
historical sense.
Anyway, let me...
Which is which?
Okay, the symbolic sense is, what I'll be doing today is largely the symbolic sense,
It's trying to get, exploring the dimensions of the mystery of Christ by going into the
depths of the symbolism that's given to us in John.
So if I ask myself, what is the meaning of the water and the blood that flows from the
side of Jesus, okay?
And then I relate that somehow to the sacraments and so on, okay?
That's all in the symbolic sense.
Now that's objective, it's out there, how does it come into my life?
Well obviously it already comes into my life by talking about the sacraments.
But the other way is, for instance, when we talk about the foot-washing, and we interpret
it in terms of breaking the domination paradigm, let us say, in the world of today, okay?
That's reading the Gospel with a newspaper in one hand, New York Times in one hand, John's
Gospel in the other hand.
Whereas the first method is, without the Times, it's just the Gospel, okay?
That's the method of the Fathers largely, although they too had the equivalent of the
New York Times in another place.
And what they would do is, they'd do the symbolic one first, and then they'd do the other one,
Well, compared to fishing, where you fish out the bait, and bathing, where you just
dive into it.
Good, good.
Yeah, yeah.
You take the fish out, you take it home, you clean it, and you eat it, you know?
Whereas, the other way, you jump in, yeah, okay.
Now, there are more than these two ways, as a matter of fact.
Let me just very quickly run through four ways of reading John.
The first way, let us call it literal, historical, critical, okay?
And that's to use John's Gospel as a window towards what's happening in the life of Jesus
or in the life of the Johannine community.
You find both of those approaches.
Many of the critical exegetes today are really trying to find out what happened, okay?
What happened in the life of Jesus?
What did he really do?
What did he really say?
This has been overdone in the 19th century, and they've backed off from it a little bit
now, but it's still very strong.
And obviously, this is important, but of course, with John, you're at a disadvantage, because
that's not the level that most of John's writing is on.
You can do better with the synoptics, with Mark, for instance, but even there, it's not
a literal photograph, not a literal recording, and so you're not going to get that exactly.
So one way is to use it as a window into what happened in Jesus' life or into the life
of the Johannine community.
Now, this is a newer method.
If you read Brown's book, The Community of the Beloved Disciple, what he's doing is using
John's Gospel as a window to say what happened after Jesus' death, now, after Jesus' departure
in the Johannine community and in the other communities it was connected with, okay?
So that you've got two varieties of that first one.
Now, the second one is what I call the symbolic approach, and that's what I'll be doing this
morning, and that's what this mandala thing is all about.
See, the mandala is a hermeneutic instrument for the symbolic reading of John's Gospel.
So there you deal with symbols, you deal with symmetries, you deal with what you can call
literary devices of John, but they're more than literary, because there's a kind of ontological
reality in these things.
There's a poetry in things, in the way that God works, because his word is of that kind.
His word is not a newspaper word.
There's plenty of this in the scripture itself.
The third...
Is this already the second?
That's already the second, yeah.
And it sharply differs from the first one, really, from the straight historical.
The third way is what I would call the contemporary historical, which holds the Gospel in one
hand and the Times in the other hand, okay?
And you can do that in two ways.
Either you're looking in your own experience for the reality of the Gospel.
So then you could say you have the journal of your own experience in one hand, the Gospel
in the other hand.
Especially in the nerve, as you might put it, of your experience, which is the line
of fidelity to the word, or infidelity, the discernment of heart and spirits.
If I ask myself, is it I, Lord, about Judas, or about Peter, the denial, the betrayal,
if I begin to apply that to my own, look for that in my own experience, then I'm using
this method.
And then the other way of doing this is to put it out there in the world.
So if I look at, let us say, what's going on in the Senate today, okay, the debate about
Nicaragua, something like that, and I say now, how is what I see in the life of Jesus in
John's Gospel, how is that expressed in this situation?
Okay, so you can do it on the collective level, the social level, or you can do it on your
individual personal level.
Now that, you've got to do that, because if you don't do that, the Word's not coming
into your life.
If you don't read the Gospel on that level, as Victor very often points out, then it's
just somehow out there, as beautiful as it may be as poetry, using that symbolic approach,
you're still not keeping the Word in the sense that Jesus means keep the Word, because
he means there's got to be a living Word in your own experience, in the space of your
own life.
Now, there's one more way, but now, what do we call this?
We call the first one looking through the Gospel as a window.
The second one, I'd say, is using the Gospel as an icon, all right?
Using the Gospel as an icon in which you consider that if you look at an icon, you begin to
look at symmetries, you begin to look through, in a sense, the icon, but towards a transcendent
reality, towards a mystery that's within it and symbolized by it.
That's the first way you use an icon.
The second one I'll talk about afterwards.
What would we call this third one?
It's a mirror.
You use the Gospel as a mirror, either a mirror by which you look back, reflect back into
your own personal life or into the history around you.
It could be the life of the community, too, okay?
The fourth way...
The second?
I called the second one an icon.
Oh, the second was an icon.
The symbolic one, yeah.
The first one I call the window, second icon, third mirror, yeah.
Now the fourth one, I would call...
This is a direct reading of the Gospel in order to find the presence of Christ or the
presence of God in it.
So this is what very often Lectio Divina was meant to lead to in the monastic tradition.
Remember that Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio, that line is what I mean.
So you read the Word and the Word brings you into contact with God, brings you into immediate
contact with Jesus.
What did you say, Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio?
Oratio, prayer, and Contemplatio.
Now that line is just reading the Word and actually not worrying too much, not following
the detailed dynamic development of the Word, but allowing yourself simply to come through
the Word and in the Word into contact with God, into contact with Christ.
Now that has several varieties, you can say, but really it's all about the same thing.
One way is if you consider that in terms of your personal relationship with Jesus.
So you read the Gospel and you read the episode of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, and there
are you as the Samaritan woman, okay, in this relationship, this relationship of love, actually,
and of encounter with Jesus.
Another way is in terms of interiority, where you read the Word and in reading the Word
you don't really imagine Jesus, or you don't really consider yourself as having a one-to-one
relationship with Him, so much as simply being drawn into the Word with a sense of union,
okay, or with a sense of interior presence.
And there's a third way which I would describe as communion, and in this way you move into
the Word, as it were, but it's not so circumscribed, it's not so individual.
It's interior, yes, it's relational, yes, but the way that you visualize it is more
in terms of communion, is more in terms of a community, let us say, or whatever, or the
flow of life, the communion of life.
Now part of that's just a projection, different kinds of projection out of one experience,
one basic experience.
You can call this using the Gospel as Eucharist, if you want.
Remember that Eucharist also can be considered in any one of those three ways as a personal
relationship with Jesus, as people often have, receiving Jesus, or praying before
the Blessed Sacrament especially carries that sense for people, doesn't it, one-to-one.
Or a sense of interiority, that is, the presence within me, especially when we eat the Eucharist,
obviously we take that away with us.
Or also a sense of communion involving others.
So those are the four ways which I would suggest, which correspond actually to the old four
senses of scripture in the Fathers, but you can make these very concrete and experiential
and real for yourself, just try them.
I could have brought in a lot of examples, but I didn't have time.
For instance, I could find you some examples of exegetes who read the Gospel only in terms
of the first method, in terms of the historical facts of the life of Jesus, okay?
Or I could have brought a meditational book which tries to get you immediately into the
presence of God through the Gospel.
Or a symbolic book, I could have brought in a hymn of Saint Ephraim to illustrate the
second one, the symbolic approach.
Because although the Fathers all do it, the Syrians seem to be the singers of that method,
they're the ones who are most in tune with it.
The second one is not so clear, what do we do there, I mean, it's clear what we do in
the other thing, but what do we do in the symbolic one?
It's a matter of understanding, it's a matter of trying to understand the mystery as a
whole by seeing the relationships of its parts, okay?
And seeing how everything is centered and absorbed in the one word.
Now that second one is the one which has a peculiar resonance to John, because John's
a symbolic writer and he's a symmetrical artist, as we'll see.
Now I think there's a movement among these four, actually, you know, you kind of move
back and forth.
Okay, now today I wanted to consider, in a kind of survey fashion, chapters 12 through
Obviously, it's got to be a quick survey, we don't have time for detailed commentary,
so I'll try to give you a general overview and see if we can find any unities in this
big scene.
With an attention both to structure and to symbolism.
Now this is one way of doing it, this is our second way of reading John, so the others
you have to pick up on your own.
The third and fourth ways that I spoke to you about are especially personal anyway,
in other words, people can't help you very much with the third or the fourth way, because
it involves your own experience and your own personal contact with Jesus, with God, with
the Word and with your own life.
So you can kind of be led to order, but you can't be led to direct order, whereas the
first two are more objective, and we're going to be working mostly on the second.
What about the structure of this section?
You may remember that Brown and a number of others nowadays divide the Gospel of John
into two great sections, the Book of Signs and the Book of Glory.
So for him, the Book of Signs is concluded in John 12, and the Book of Glory begins at
the Last Supper, begins with John 13, 13 verse 1, and it goes all the way through the
Now he's separated John 21 as being a later edition, so practically speaking, the Book
of Glory for him goes from 13 through 20, and he divides it into three parts.
Now this is very obvious and very, also, you know, useful, meaningful.
First part is the Last Supper, chapters 13 through 17, second part is the Passion narrative,
chapters 18 through 19, and the third part, of course, is the risen Jesus, chapter 20.
So that's as obvious as the nose on your face, so it doesn't need to be emphasized.
Ellis, of course, sees all of this in the form of a chiasm, as one of those symmetrical
Now this morning I'm going to use Ellis because he is the most synthetic, since he uses a
structural approach, we can get a general overview.
If we wanted to go deeply into each of these chapters, we might be better off with Barrett
or with Brown, or with a number of other commentators.
We'll go verse by verse and give you all of the different slants on it.
We'll fill in some of that material, but for the structure and the overview, I'd like to
use Ellis.
There are some drawbacks in using Ellis, obviously.
Here's his view of the whole of this section.
And this is pretty close to what I put on this mandala form, okay?
He's got five sequences.
I'd like to put them...
He doesn't do it, but I'd like to put them in a kind of cross form.
I'll put them in a cross form.
Sequence 17 is a...
So this is sequence 17 and it's chapter 12.
This, the second one, is chapters 13 through 17.
So that's the full version of the Book of Experience.
This over here, the center, is chapters 18 and 19.
This makes a certain amount of sense.
This is chapter 20.
And this is chapter 20 up to 19.
This is 20, 19 through 21.
Through chapter 21.
21 is not considered in our structure there, in our mandala.
Now there's a symmetry here between this whole thing and part one,
which we'll see a little bit as we go on.
You can see it there on the cross on the mandala form.
This, then, is the arrival of Jesus' hour.
The Greeks come and there's those words of Jesus about
the seed having to fall into the ground and his having to be lifted up.
This is the...
No, that's not here, is it?
This is the whole of the supper discourse for the disciples.
The passion and death and burial of Jesus.
The encounter with Mary and the disciples at the tomb,
also that of Mary Magdalene.
And then finally the other encounter with the disciples.
And then the episode, of course, of the leisure of chapter 21.
That's not very helpful.
So, at this point, because you can't really...
We'll see later how that structure can be more helpful in holding it together.
Now what I'd like to do, I've given you four pages of notes there
on a kind of attempt at a general overview of this.
We may or may not get time to go through all of the sequences,
kind of to skip through them very quickly.
But this will give you some slants which kind of hold it together.
You need really to have this present in your mind, in here.
What I'm proposing, actually, is that...
I'm always abstracting from the question of whether John intended this.
In other words, whether he had something like this in his mind.
To me it's a tool, it's an instrument,
and it brings out all kinds of things in John's Gospel.
So, that's justification. I'm not going to use it.
Rather than having to defend the thesis that John put it there,
the same way we're looking at it.
What I'm proposing is that...
Remember we have a center which is in John 6.
I'm going to use the whole of John 6 as a center here,
instead of just that episode in the lake.
You'll see why.
Then we have four parts.
One, two, three, four.
This is the part we're considering today.
And it's composed of those five sequences as we saw.
17, 18, 19, 20, and 21.
The central one, and this itself is kind of here,
the central one being 19.
And this is the same thing we've just seen in Ellis, basically.
The central one being the crucifixion,
the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.
And we've got the supper down here,
and a bit of the direction here.
We'll see that in detail.
Now what I'm proposing is, actually,
this comes back again to the question of the mandala itself,
but what I'm proposing is that this hour of Jesus,
which is the hour of his lifting up,
is the hour at the same time of his descent,
and the descent is the descent into the center.
And it works out, actually, even on a geometrical thing.
So what we're going to find is that as Jesus rises,
and as he departs, as it were,
as he passes over, out of this world,
he passes into the center.
Now what have we got in the center?
Remember, in John 6, we just got to John 6,
which we didn't have time to cover last time.
We're going to do it this week.
It's better to do this.
What we have in John 6 is the Eucharistic discourse.
First of all, in the miracle of the bread,
the passing over of the lake, remember,
which for Ellis is the center of the gospel,
the geometrical, chiastic center.
And the appearance of Jesus on the lake,
the words, I am,
Jesus gets into the boat, evidently,
and immediately they're at the shore.
Now we said that that recalls the first moment of creation,
the first day of creation,
the creative word and the spirit over the chaos
at the moment of creation,
and also the exodus, okay?
On one side of it, you've got the multiplication of the loaves,
the miracle, the sign.
On the other side of it, you've got the bread of life discourse.
So what's happening here?
What's happening up here, the hour of Jesus,
the, whatever you want to call it,
the transformation, the Passover,
the great movement of Jesus' life,
the consummation here,
in which he actually turns into something, as it were.
There's a way in which he departs
and he comes into a different relationship with us.
That relationship is a relationship of interiority.
A relationship of interiority in the sense of the spirit,
Jesus in the spirit being within us,
and a relationship of sacramental interiority
in which somehow he becomes perfused, you can say,
into the world and into us sacramentally.
Now that's all symbolized by what happens up here, as we'll see.
So the movement up here into the hour,
and this is a timeless hour.
Here we move across a kind of, a long kind of track.
One moment after another, one sequence after another.
But this is all, as it were, contemporary.
It's all at one moment.
All of time is drawn into that moment, like into a vortex.
And that moves down into the center here,
which is the creative moment, the moment of the new creation,
or the day of creation, the one day of creation,
which is also the Sabbath, the day of resurrection.
And from there it expands out into everything.
Now that's deliberate for John.
And what it does is to bring the consummation,
to bring the consummation back into the center of the journey.
In other words, it brings it back into our lives,
instead of it remaining as a kind of departure.
Now we'll see how that happens.
That's what these notes are all about.
You've got Roman numerals on there.
I'll treat, go through those one at a time, rather quickly.
Consider first, now I'm depending, I'm relying on a kind of familiarity
with John's Gospel, presuming that you've read these chapters
and you know more or less, recall what goes on.
Number four, in the Roman numeral one,
in this part four of John we see Jesus going away and returning.
He goes away, Exodus that is, Passover.
In his death he returns, and I say Genesis
because he returns as new creation.
He returns as the very transformation of the world.
In his flesh and in his blood and in his spirit,
in the water and the blood and the spirit.
Now those are the things, those are the sacramental things,
not so much spirit, that's not so sacramental,
but the breath of Jesus is.
That too is a symbol for the spirit.
The sacramental things by which he returns,
they're symbols of his return,
but because they're sacraments they're more than symbols.
Thus on the cross, the blood and water that flow
from the pure side of Jesus into the earth,
represent for one thing the baptism and the Eucharist,
they represent a lot of things it seems.
You can say that the water represents the spirit,
that the water is wisdom, that the blood somehow,
what is the other thing about the blood?
That it signifies the death of Jesus and so on,
but the sacrificial death of Jesus.
But there's a long-standing good tradition
that these are the two sacraments.
And this really holds up, I think,
because if you recall that here we have,
in the very center, you've got that crossing of the sea,
the Passover, that's a baptismal symbol, okay?
The crossing of the lake and the speaking of that word
of illumination, the first day of creation,
on the water is a baptismal event
that's squarely in the center of the Gospel.
And you have it surrounded with the Eucharistic event, okay?
On one side the miracle of the loaves,
on the other side the bread of life discourse.
So the blood and water of Jesus
falling from his open side on the cross
into the earth is the baptism and the Eucharist
coming into the center of our journey, okay?
Coming into the center, not somewhere out there on the margin,
not at some point of consummation,
but in the earth of our existence,
in the journey of our existence, in the whole thing.
That's the reason why it comes down into here.
And that's the reason why it's at that particular...
I'll get to that in the next point.
It's deliberately brought into the middle.
Do you remember how the transfiguration
in Mark and the other Gospels, in the Synoptic Gospels,
is an anticipation of the resurrection
brought back into the middle of the Gospel?
Now, why do you suppose that is done?
Well, there's a structural thing.
According to authors now, that's the center of the Gospel of Mark,
is the transfiguration.
Now, why isn't the center the resurrection?
Something like that, huh?
The resurrection is brought back into the middle of the journey, okay?
In other words, the consummation,
the explosion of the glorification of Jesus
is brought back and, as it were, buried into the middle of the dough,
buried into the middle of our journey, our experience,
so that the whole of our experience can be leavened by it,
so that it won't remain just some climax at the end, okay?
Some spectacular event in the future,
at the margins, on the outside, somewhere else.
No, it's in the middle.
It's meant to leaven the whole.
It comes back into the journey.
And it's the same thing here.
See, the chapter 6 of John corresponds to the transfiguration
in the Synoptics as the structural center,
and with the sacramental meaning.
The transfiguration has a kind of sacramental meaning
because the body of Jesus begins to be transformed
by the uncreated light, but that's another issue.
Well, that's a very important point, isn't it?
Yeah, you mean the...
Paraphrased, the body...
Oh, yes, yeah, yeah.
Same thing as here, but it's in sacramental form.
It's a very important point, but it's not in John,
and that's why I didn't want to go on.
John doesn't talk about crossing over,
it is the crossing over later,
and when he mentioned the crossing over of the lake,
it's symbolic of the crossing of his...
Symbolic of his death?
Remember that you've got three Passovers in John, okay?
Actually, chronologically, three Passovers in John.
There's one down here at the time when Jesus cleanses the temple.
Now, on the mantle, that corresponds to the crucifixion up here, okay?
Remember, he says,
tear down this temple and I'll be living for three days.
You've got the second one is here at the Passover
when Jesus multiplies the bread
and then gives that long discourse on the bread of life.
The third one is up here.
Actually, it's in this whole hour.
You can't put it in one place or another, really,
because this is his Passover.
But it seems that, actually, in John,
the Last Supper was before the Passover.
In fact, the death of Jesus was before the Passover, remember?
It was the day of preparation when they took him down from the cross.
So, chronologically, it's up here,
but actually it corresponds to this whole thing.
So, the fifth of these is delivered in John,
and this one does not come back into this one.
It's one vessel.
Here you've got the replacement of the old sign of the old temple
by the new temple, which is Jesus' body.
Here you've got the act, the event,
which creates the new temple
and also creates the whole new sacramental system,
which is replacing this old one.
And here you've got this act, this event,
coming into the center of our whole model.
Now, the center, as we move through the Gospel,
we've been moving into Judea in every way.
We've been moving towards Jerusalem, okay?
We've been moving towards the climax.
That's kind of the hard core which Jesus has to encounter.
It's as if he has to drill into that rock
of Jerusalem, of the temple,
in order that what he's bringing may
kind of revivify the whole creation.
Now, this is what happens up here.
And then, we're immediately back in Galilee.
We're immediately back in our ordinary life.
In the wide open spaces of our ordinary life.
There's another parallel to the Transfiguration.
In Luke, Jesus is talking with Moses and Elijah
about his exodus.
He's suffering in Jerusalem.
That's right.
So, you've got both sides in the Transfiguration deliberately.
The death, the exodus, Passover,
and the glorification, which is new creation.
So, once again, you've got the conjunction.
The two sides of the coin are Exodus and Genesis.
Exodus, new creation.
The new creation being visible right in Jesus.
The transformation of that first bit of matter,
which is his body.
So, that's the general drift.
So, what happens up there on the cross
is then brought down and made permanent
and made present for us in the center,
which is sacramental.
The two sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist
standing for the whole sacramentality of the thing.
Now, it so happens that those seem to correspond
with the first two days of creation.
It's irresistible to think,
well, you could extend that and find the system
of seven sacraments and the seven days of creation.
In fact, if you do it, it works,
but I'm ashamed.
You can make it work in a couple of ways.
Any questions about that before?
Just a question.
It seems the emphasis in the three of those passages
is on the body.
The body of the temple,
the temple body, the bread body,
and then his own...
The other connection is the pescal lamb.
What does Jesus do down here, if you recall?
He drives the animals out of the temple, okay?
And what is he representing up here
when he's pierced himself, the pescal lamb?
So, the animals are driven out,
the temple is, as it were,
pushed out of sight,
and both of them are replaced by the one sacrifice
of the one lamb, who is Jesus, okay?
And then who remains with us
as our pescal meal, which is the Eucharist.
So, it all goes together on a bodily level.
Oh, yeah.
There's nothing abstract about it.
It's concrete sacramentality, very physical.
In fact, the physicality
of the Passion of Jesus
gets so intense that it's almost unbearable
to look at it.
Even the sexual dimension of it.
I get to that later on in these notes.
I think the only problem
is that we are not accustomed
to thinking of a book
having such a structure.
That's right.
And so much has been worked into it.
And it is difficult to imagine
that the human author
would actually have worked on it
But then when you see what people do
with icons, how they
analyze actions visually, and what
they see of relationships in there,
circuits and triangles.
That's right.
That was awesome that the artist
didn't draw circuits and triangles,
he just drew this picture. Well, I suppose.
Sometimes it's unconscious.
In other words, sometimes
there's an archetypal structure in there
that comes out in the work but was never
completely conscious in the person's mind.
I can't quite believe that about John here.
What I'm doing now is
trying to set aside that question of what was his
intention. In fact, I sent this thing to Sandra
Schneider. I said,
so I said,
you know, I think he really intended this.
So she gave me an admonition.
She says, well, that'll be very
difficult to settle. She found it interesting
but she said that'll be very difficult to settle
whether he intended it or not. You don't have to worry
about that, actually. Just follow the theological
power of the thing, something like that.
That was implicitly what she said.
I think it's both a part
of the intentional fallacy.
It doesn't have to be intended.
That's right.
But you find it there.
A lot of times
a composition,
an instrumental thing or a symphony
or something will have that kind
of balance to it.
They don't have a symmetrical form
that is only found after
a structural analysis.
But it's instinctive in the artist.
The artist doesn't...
It's purely intuitive a lot of times.
After he's been doing it for 30 years,
he does it without it being fully conscious.
Isn't that what we mean by
Where it's beyond
the ego that it comes from
what we call the depths of the
creative unconscious, which really
is where the Holy Spirit operates.
If Grant can balance
things like that, why shouldn't
But what did you mean
by 30 years?
If any artist has been
doing his art for say 30 years,
many of the things that at first may have been conscious
in the elementary steps will have been unconscious.
And these symmetries and balances
you can do them almost mindfully.
They come out of them rather than being
explicitly kind of planned
and diagrammed. But about John, I don't know.
What I'm doing now is just writing
on the amount of meaning
which this gives. In other words, my one
criterion is
does it give more meaning?
Working towards a maximum of meaning.
If the symmetry gives meaning, then follow it. See if there's more meaning there.
Without trying to defend
whether John, with what intention
he put it in there.
If it works.
number two, Roman numeral.
Exodus and Genesis.
Through Exodus to Genesis. Through the cross
to the center of the mandala.
You can look at it in terms also of kind of
stem and flower.
If you like that kind of thing.
This is the journey.
This is the center.
This is the expansion, okay,
for the Genesis. This is your Exodus
journey, motion.
And this finally is the
blossoming energy from the center.
Once you reach the
Genesis moment, which is
the beginning as it were, which is the pre-existing
word in John's terms,
in terms of the prologue, then there's this
rich immediate expansion
outward. Now that has
been put into the center of our ordinary
existence. That's the point.
Here the place, the Genesis, the creation
is in the center of the mandala. Jesus through
his hour, the central moment,
brings the creative center, word
into the center of our lives, that is into the journey.
The Judean center
of the final conflict is brought into the
Galilean center, John 6, which
has been so puzzling as to
why should that be the center of
the gospel? Way out there in the sticks,
out there in that meadow, where
Jesus multiplies the bread by
the lake, but it seems so
peripheral in a way.
Now what is your
answer? It's a deliberate, first
of all, a deliberate reversal of centers.
John has resolved to bring
Jesus' climax,
this event, this hour, into the
center of our ordinary life, which is, as it were,
Galilean life. It's not
the high-pressure existence of the
Jerusalem temple area, something like
that, which is climactic
for Jesus, but not typical
for us. In other words, it leavens
our ordinary life,
the everyday thing.
Galilee means
a number of things for John. It's also the place where people
believe, whereas Judea is the place where they
In number 13
there, you've got three,
I said two, but there are three typical human
situations, as it were, on the road
into which this center
comes. The first
is the hungry crowd in the wilderness,
situation of need.
That's ordinary
life, and
it's treated as ordinary life,
even though it's remedied
by an extraordinary act on Jesus' part.
The second is the prediction
of the disciples struggling against the wind.
Now, this is a little different from the Transfiguration.
John is more
crafty, he's more
subtle, so he's taken
the high profile of the Transfiguration
and he's buried it into the ordinary
events of life.
And then he lets the extraordinary,
he lets the
uncreated, the divine, flash out
when Jesus says, I am.
And when he's
walking on the water, when the boat suddenly
gets to the shore, but there's not
a powerful
light of the Transfiguration
shining through in the same way.
But it's quite extraordinary
that someone should walk on the water.
Oh yes, it is.
It's almost more extraordinary that they should be
lighter than
Fuller could make it.
But the struggle of the
apostles is also there
in Luke, where they can't keep their
eyes open, they are falling asleep.
That's right, yeah.
And there's the insistence here, there's the prediction of the passion
before and after the
Transfiguration, right? And then they come down
and then there's this epileptic boy
and so on, the whole scene.
In other words, you are saying that
Chapter 6 in John
holds the same place and
has the same function as
the Transfiguration.
Yes, and instead of the words
this is my beloved son, listen to him,
you have I am
on the lake, okay?
And instead of a mountain
you have a lake.
The mountain, of course, can have
reference to Sinai and to the giving of the law
and so on, the lake has reference to Passover
and then to Baptism, as we've seen.
And then, perhaps most deeply, to
the creation, the
moment of initial creation, the moment of new creation
in Baptism.
And the
struggle against this,
it's another typical situation, or rather it's a metaphor,
it's a parable of a typical
situation in our life. Now both of these
are situations of conflict, and so is the third
one, which is the murmuring of the crowd.
This is in the Bread of Life
discourse. So the first one, the miracle
of the loaves, the second one here, crossing the sea,
the third one
in the latter part, where
Jesus, John says that
the Jews murmured against, were
murmuring, and when he uses that word, it's
deliberate recollection, remember the Jews murmuring against
Moses in the wilderness, at the time of
the manna, and so on. So that's the
ordinary stuff of life,
and it's deliberate.
He wants to give us a way to relate
this, what would you call it, very high
profile of
the gospel of glory, to relate it to our own
lives, and so he buries it into our own journey
in this way.
These are three situations which
reproduce the Exodus journey under Moses
in the Old Testament, and bring us into
the middle of our own experience, of our own journey
of struggle. Okay, Roman numeral 3.
This is moving
back from
the part that we're talking about,
and so I'm not going to
follow it at great length.
But what's pointed out in Roman numeral
3 there, is that as you move
across the mandala,
from the episode of the Samaritan
woman, across this right arm,
through the center, and over to the left
arm, there's a progression in
the direction of moving from word
to, I call them,
unitive signs.
There's a kind of thickening that goes on here, as we
move towards that ultimate sacramentality,
which we're finding today.
So that here,
for instance,
the royal official's son is healed with a word,
and it's even a word of remote control.
Okay? But here,
we have Jesus going to
the tomb of Lazarus, he calls him out with a word,
but we've got all those implications
of the union, somehow,
of the death of Lazarus with the death of Jesus.
The tomb scene,
the balance of the tomb scene of Lazarus,
which we talked about at another time in the Sunday chapter,
and the tomb scene of Jesus,
remember that reflection of Elisha,
the two miracles of Elisha, which were body
contact miracles.
One where he lays down,
he lies down upon the child,
his eyes to his eyes, his hands to his hands,
his mouth to his mouth, and brings the child
back to life. The other one where the body is thrown
into the tomb of Elisha, touches
the bones of Elisha, and the body
is alive again, okay? Two resurrections
by intimate
body contact. So as we
move from right to left
over here, we're getting more and more contact,
more and more physicality, more and more
The paralytic here is healed with a
word. Over here, the man-born
one, remember how he gets healed?
Jesus takes
spittle and makes mud
and puts it in his eyes, and then he says, go and wash it in the
pool. So it's getting sacramental.
It's getting physical.
It's unitive signs. It's
closer, more intimate physical contact
with Jesus with the person who's being healed as you
move over here. So you can show how that
happens along here. It's
outlined there on that page.
And then finally, the anointing by
Mary at
There's a physical
contact there. There's a nuptial
implication there, where this
woman, as it were, who symbolizes
perfectly what Jesus is going to do
in this gesture of
breaking the vessel in the other
Gospels. I don't think John says that.
Pouring out that ointment
upon Jesus, she symbolizes
perfectly the work of Jesus, which is
this pouring out of himself. And the fragrance fills the
house, remember? It's said in the
other Gospels that Jesus
says, wherever the Gospel is preached in the whole
world, this will be told of her, as if
the gesture of the woman, the symbolic gesture
of the woman, the fragrance of that
has been married to the word
itself. So wherever the word goes,
that goes. It's so
pheonic, it's nuptial. There's a
sense of, there's a marriage sense there, where this woman's
gesture, the symbol, comes to meet the
word, the word who is about to go to his
death. Marriage and death
at the same time are symbolized there.
And so that's an even deeper
degree, I think, of physical intimacy that's
intimated there, as we've moved across here.
But it's very subtle, John.
Why is there
interpenetration? You have these people
that penetrate,
the smell is
this one interpenetration
that you can't stop. Yeah, that's right.
That's right. The fragrance.
There are a lot of other things you could
say about that. I mean, the relation of that to
the stench of those four days there in the
tomb and all that whole thing. It's all deliberately
balanced in there.
Well, it's like listening to music. You don't
have to memorize it all, or something
like that. You hear it, and
every one of those
flashes of connection in some way
should send you back to the center.
Or should, in a sense,
be an occasion
of the presence of God, the experience of God.
The father used to talk
about it like this. When you understand some of
these things,
without anybody helping you to do it,
just the kiss of the word.
Remember, that's the fourth way of reading the Scripture
that I was telling you about. Think of it
as a personal touch,
a personal contact, with the
one word which is moving
within all of this, living within all of this.
Because that's the way John means it.
But, was all these
only in John's mind?
He did not say it previously, type of?
Because there is no
Some of it
is there. For instance, if you
read the Syrian Fathers, you find
a sense of a lot of this symbolism.
But I don't know that John...
I don't think that John, for instance,
ever explained
it all to his disciples, and they never
wrote it all down. You don't have any early commentaries
from the Johannine community, for instance,
which bring all this out.
I think maybe they felt it was unnecessary.
When the thing
is very alive, people often don't feel
the need to write it down.
But afterwards it vanishes.
A lot of times
a person who has a poetic
kind of
is very hesitant about talking about
all of the imagery
in some kind of
doctrinal or
prosaic terms, because it just
undermines the whole impact of it.
So they just assume, let it sit there
and allow the person to
experience it.
A lot of poets are that way.
They refuse to kind of
translate or to sell
almost what they're writing
for some cheaper coin, you know.
To translate it.
And it's kind of an experience
that you have at times
it's like a dream conversation
where you've got it.
It's all there.
And then you think, well, you could
not possibly forget it.
Because it's all so clear.
And then
the next thing is,
you can't forget it.
I mean, the experience
of the recording was so
strange that I didn't even attempt
to write it down because I assumed
it was impossible to forget.
But then when you're out of that
particular moment of inspiration,
it's like
maybe like awake in the middle of the night
and then you wake up in the morning
and you think, you know, I missed that one.
It's still on it.
It's like the sunlight.
When the sunlight's there,
everything is enlightened. When it's gone, nothing is.
It's like this experience
of joy that you have
at a certain time later on.
You want to bring that back,
but you're not going to have the time to get it
at that time.
You can't.
You can't bring it back.
You can't bring it back.
So there's a crescendo
of signified union
as we move across here,
and then the union is actualized up here
at the hour of Jesus, the hour of consummation.
as he goes away,
instead of going away, he somehow joins himself
to us irreversibly.
And this is symbolized and contained
somehow in these sacramental points.
Baptism in the Eucharist.
Roman numeral 4.
There's a deep and mysterious sexual symbolism
operating throughout John, especially
in parts 3 and 4.
We've seen something of that just now in the anointing
by Mary, but in every one of those episodes
where Jesus is together with a woman in John's
Gospel, something like that
is being radiated.
Sacramental union is
sexual union somehow, okay?
An ultimate union of Jesus,
the Word of God,
with the creation, with the human person,
come, how should I put it,
all along its frontier
is a level of sexual
interpretation. In other words, there's a ring of
sexuality right around it somehow,
which in a way we have to bore through
because it's distracting, but it's there.
And in a way, it indicates the kind of
wedding feast significance
of the whole thing,
that no better symbol has been found, actually,
for what Jesus brings at the wedding banquet.
Why is it distracting?
It seems like it's attractive.
It's attracting and distracting at the same time
because it's a high energy thing.
And it can be
annoying because of its,
just like reading the poetry of Dylan Thomas,
I find the sexual thing annoying sometimes
just because we're not ready
to take it the way
it should be taken.
Same thing here sometimes.
But that's our fault.
That's our fault, right.
Yes, the Fathers would always say,
you know, don't read the Song of Songs
until you're thirty-five years old.
That's what the rabbis used to say.
Because there are places in the Scripture
which are kind of arcana,
or require an initiation of some kind.
You know?
Judaism is much more frank about that
than Christianity, I think.
We've kind of
got to the point where I can't believe the Scripture
to work that can be like that,
can do that frankening.
That is a question, again, of historicity.
It is not very likely that the historian Jesus said,
you cannot draw a stream of blood,
but I don't think he could have.
I think he could have.
I think he could have.
I'm not entirely certain of it, but I think he could have.
Of course, he said the same thing at the Last Supper.
I won't swear that he said it.
That's a whole other thing.
I'm just careful not to project more than is actually necessary.
And it's difficult to tell which one he was positive about.
Well, I think that somehow that must have been there.
In other words, that runs through John there,
that runs through the whole tradition.
I'd rather not follow up that track too far,
because it gets into that whole question,
which we tried to do before.
Okay, so,
Jesus lifted up on a tree pierced with a lance,
that the earth may be impregnated through his blood,
the new birth, the new creation may take place from its core.
All of this has a heavy sexual resonance.
We'll talk about more in number 20.
There's a kind of piercing through the center of human physicality
and human sensitivity.
Human sensitivity is highly, is intensely sexual, actually.
Rooted in the body, the sexuality and so on.
An unbearable look directly into the blazing sun of the sexual mystery,
which is at the core of our human person,
and we can't look directly into it.
It's a little like the sun,
or it's a little like the mystery of the word itself.
One suspects from the glimmers that come through,
that, in parentheses,
as in the rite of circumcision,
that strange thing in the Old Testament,
there is a kind of piercing through the center of human physicality
and the human sensitivity, quotation marks.
The unspeakable core of creative energy,
into which we cannot look without being blinded.
All of this is in Jesus, lifted up like the serpent in the desert,
even the serpent is a highly sexual thing.
This is an aspect of the thoroughness of incarnation,
of the self-emptying of the glorious Word.
How completely He becomes human, without sin.
It's mute, not verbal, but very clear and strong.
And the exposure of Jesus on the cross,
and then in all these symbolic resonances.
Okay, now, close to that is this movement from masculine to feminine,
which we've talked about a little bit before, remember?
Roman numeral 5.
Jesus seems to pass from masculine to feminine,
or through the feminine, in this part 4,
in this final part of John.
The anointing by Mary in John 12 may inaugurate this.
Victor said in his homily lesson the other day,
that it was Mary at that point who was the spiritual mother of Jesus.
But you'll notice that women initiate things that Jesus does frequently in the Gospel.
Usually in these encounters, starting with his mother at Cana,
a woman initiates something and he follows it up.
And so it is here.
The washing of the feet of Jesus' disciples is, in quotation marks,
an imitation of what Mary does.
In other words, she's got an intuition of what his work is.
And then she reflects it with his gesture,
and then what Jesus does reflects it once again,
in a full and maybe deeper way.
So, three phases of this movement into or through the feminine.
As Jesus passes through everything,
he's going to pass through death, he's going to pass into the rock of the earth,
so he also passes across the sexual boundaries.
And in doing that, he integrates both sides into the Word.
He doesn't just pass beyond, he passes through, into the center,
and then integrates the whole thing,
rather than abstracting from it.
First, the foot washing.
I think you've heard some of this before,
but both Sandra Schneider's and Beatrice Bruteau have an interpretation.
Bruteau calls it the Holy Thursday Revolution, remember?
In which she sees two things happening at the Last Supper.
A. Jesus washes the feet of his disciples,
and in doing that, he breaks one whole form of consciousness,
one whole mental world, which is that of domination,
which is the ordinary way of thinking.
All kinds of hierarchies and structures in the world,
power structures, the whole world of power.
He breaks that.
The second thing that he does is to give his body and foot,
is to give holy communion,
and in that, she says, he establishes the communion paradigm.
Paradigm means pattern, paradigm means model, structure.
So, I think that's extremely deep.
I think she's really got it there.
And from that, you can bring that out
into all kinds of social implications for today.
That's where your third way of reading John
really finds plenty of room.
You can talk about the slave and the free man,
you can talk about the Greek and the Jew,
you can talk about male and female,
it expands into all of those directions.
Rich and poor, politics, economics, the whole deal.
So, moving...
And as Jesus does that, he moves, as it were,
from a masculine figure speaking
into a feminine figure speaking and acting,
into the feminine figure, who also hears his servant,
so he moves through the master-slave at the same time.
And throughout the supper discourse,
I think that feminine tenor is present,
especially when he talks about coming to dwell with the disciples,
as if he were abroad.
Secondly, the piercing on the cross,
and the flow of blood and water from Jesus' side.
And thirdly, the indwelling,
so there's a progression through these different phases.
The indwelling, as it were, feminine wisdom,
the wisdom of Proverbs and the book of Sirach,
the wisdom is the final, as it were, femininity
by which he's present to us,
present not only as bridegroom but as bride,
as inner companion.
Now, this is something that we're not used to,
we have a hard time really opening ourselves to it,
it has a lot of implications for theology.
So Jesus breaks through all the walls
as he comes into the fullness of his glory,
as he comes in, as he says,
to the glory which I had with you before the foundation of the world,
in which is the fullness of all possibilities,
and in which there are no walls anymore.
There are distinctions, but there aren't any walls.
So the wall between the divine and the human,
between male and female,
and also with that nuptial sense
that's throughout John,
especially in the John Newman episode,
the joining together of those two sides
which are very much in tension with one another
in our ordinary life, and in most of our psyche.
See the slave and master for the Greek and the Jew.
Maybe when Jesus handed over to the Romans
that may symbolize that,
but we have to find a better expression for it than that.
We're getting to that in no time.
And then the barrier of death,
the wall which is death and the fear of death,
and finally even the hierarchy of being in a sense.
He bores through all of it as he descends into death
and as he becomes the Paschal Lamb,
as he becomes the bread of life,
as he is poured out somehow
under the forms of blood and water,
of the sacramental forms.
He somehow moves through all of that
in order to integrate all of it.
But those final ones, of course,
are less important.
Roman numeral six.
So I think we discover a movement from this upper arm
down into the center of the mandala.
This is because part four is the hour of Jesus,
the final part, the upper arm,
his final Passover when everything funnels into the center
through the hour into the one day,
the one day.
Remember the one day which you have in John 20.
It's the day after the Sabbath,
the first day of the week.
And then the same day recurs eight days later.
The two encounters of Jesus with the disciples
in the closed room.
That symbolizes that one day,
which first is the day of the Lord,
and then we symbolize it as Sunday.
But the fact is that in the new creation
it's all one day.
It's all the first day of creation.
The light which rules that first day of creation
is identical with the word,
the creative word, which is Jesus.
So the one day of the creative act.
You don't want to think of that word in a statical way.
The center is simply,
okay, from Exodus journey to Genesis,
center, origin, source, well,
open, tomb, womb, tree, word,
which is creative act.
Just a stack of those overlapping symbols
for the same center.
The center is simply the word,
the utterly simple I am.
The expression I am in Jesus is the,
as it were, the open affirmation of that word,
the identity affirmation of that word.
And it gets stronger and stronger
as we move through the Gospels,
as we move across that left hand arm.
And when Jesus is arrested,
he says it three times.
And the second time he's arrested
and usually in the translation they say,
who you seek in Jesus and Nazareth,
I am he.
They usually translate it,
what he said is I am.
The second time they fall down.
And then he allows himself to be taken.
This falling from Passover into the center
could be followed through
in each of the sequences of this upper arm.
And then there's some illustrations.
Very briefly I'll run through these illustrations.
In sequence 17, John 12.
Here's our center which is John 6.
That's the one I'm interested in.
And here we have a series of these five episodes.
One, two, three, four, five.
They're called sequence 17, 18.
19 which is the crucifixion.
20 and 21.
This is chapter 12.
Not the anointing that we're going to go through.
Let me read just a couple,
a few of the words of Jesus in that section there.
Which is a kind of turning point.
That's where the Greeks come,
they want to see Jesus.
And remember the Pharisees said,
you can't do anything,
the whole world is going after them at that point.
And then the Greeks come up to Philip
and they want to see Jesus.
So that's the point at which Jesus,
as it were, is faced with a decision
as to whether to allow his fame,
his glory as it were,
to expand beyond the bounds of Israel
or whether to follow the other way.
So should he move to this kind of universal radiance
or should he follow the other way?
The other way is the way of descent.
The other way is the descent into the ground,
into the earth.
And that's the way he's going to follow.
So at that point,
he turns from the ascending curve
of public fame or renown or expansion,
whatever you want to call it,
into the world,
into the descending curve of descent into the earth.
So he says, unless the seed falls into the ground,
it remains alone.
It remains alone just as Israel remains alone.
But if it falls into the ground,
then it bears much fruit,
and the fruit is all of the nations.
The fruit is all of the creation, we can say.
The fruit actually is the spring of the new creation.
Now what is that seed?
Actually, literally, it's a grain of wheat.
So Jesus describes himself here as a grain of wheat,
which can either expand or can move into the ground.
He falls into the ground.
That's a Eucharistic symbol.
The grain of wheat falls into the center of the gospel
where it becomes present in the Eucharist.
But in order to do that,
it has to move through the death of Jesus.
Secondly, in the same chapter, John 12,
I die when I am lifted up from the world,
from the earth,
because all things are all men and myself.
Now here you have apparently a movement upward
when I am lifted up.
But that's ironically, no,
because lifting up means crucifixion.
And so the lifting up, actually,
is a movement into the ground.
It's the same as the seed falling into the ground.
I will draw all things to myself.
To be in that position is to be a center, isn't it?
The center which draws everything to itself.
Once again, a movement.
Sequentation in John 14,
the indwelling in the center, okay?
So the movement up here,
the movement, as it were,
toward the glorification of Jesus
is a movement into the center which is in us.
So the minute anyone loves me,
he will keep my word,
and I will come to him and make my home with him.
I will dwell with him.
That interiority, which unfortunately is also in the other,
of course, because of the therapy that's coming.
That too is a movement into the center.
So the movement upwards,
towards his glorification,
and towards his apparent departure,
and then the lifting up of the cross,
is overwhelmingly a movement towards the center.
A movement of center.
Sacramental centering,
mandalic or geometrical centering,
and then that interiority,
by which he dwells in us.
And that's the way he wants to be known by.
He wants...
The gospel is going to be an initiation
to the discovery of the Word of God.
I believe.
Now, sequence 19.
Okay, we talked about the blood and the water and the spirit.
The blood and the water which fall into the earth,
and which become the body and blood,
the flesh and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist,
which become the water,
which become the spirit,
and the presence of Jesus in baptism.
And the double sacramental symbolism of John 6.
Once again in the center.
Sequence 20.
And that open mouth of the empty tomb and so on.
It's as if the earth has been poured through to its center.
Remember when St. Paul says in Ephesians chapter 3,
what does it mean that he had also descended
into the lower parts of the earth?
He who descended into the lower parts of the earth,
as it were the center of the earth.
The image being that Jesus as he ascends, descends.
He ascends doubly on the cross
and then in his departure, in his ascension.
But as he does so, he moves into the very center of the earth.
Which means the center of the cosmos metaphysically in some way.
This, in Ephesians, this is an interpretation of Ephesians, okay?
It's an interpretation.
In Ephesians, he sort of happens to be pouring John in.
Yeah, yeah, that's right.
So, it could be a direct reference to this.
It could be.
It could, I think, actually, I think in much of Paul,
in Ephesians and Colossians, Paul had an image very much like this in his mind.
Do you remember Ephesians 3, 14-19, where he says
that Christ may be rooted in your heart,
that you may know the height and the depth and the length and the breadth
and that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
I think he's got an image just like that in his mind sometimes.
It comes out when he talks about Jesus reconciling all things to himself upon the cross,
where he becomes attentive,
and in him all things grow and so on, okay?
So, the figure of the cross is reconciling all things in Jesus on the cross,
that's becoming a center,
and then the fullness brought right in contact with it,
is typical of Paul, typical of those two, right?
So, they're very close together, in that sense, at least.
Is there any other means of this fact?
Which fact?
The one who ascended into heaven?
It means the one who ascended into heaven in Paul's mind.
And the one who descended into hell?
Teilhard loved that particular line.
According to the Lubach, that was one of the chief inspirations.
Teilhard was very enamored of centers,
so the idea is that Jesus in his glorification moves into the center of the whole evolutionary process,
the center of the whole cosmos,
which marvels at what we've seen.
Okay, sequence 21, John 20.
The in-breathing of the Holy Spirit into the disciples, into their hearts.
The penetration, descent of the presence of the glorified Word into the center.
So, whereas this is all of creation, this is also ourselves.
It's like a hologram, in which each part has the same structure as the whole.
The appearances of Jesus to the disciples in a closed room.
Strange, that closed room.
They reflect for me the appearance of Jesus on the lake to the disciples who were in the boat.
Here you've got the same kind of fearful group,
once in the boat, once in the closed room after the resurrection.
And Jesus appearing instantaneously, in violation of the common laws of nature.
He doesn't say, I am, to the disciples in the closed room.
But I think that brings us back into our exodus moment there on the lake.
And also, because Noah's Ark, the room, the house with closed doors in John 20,
is Noah's Ark just before the doors were opened upon their creation, after the flood was over.
Now, the open side of Jesus, and another kind of opening to the center,
which is the opening of paradise, symbolically.
Especially when Thomas was invited to,
Thomas looks at the open side of Jesus and invites him to put his hand there,
as if he were to reach upon it, reach for the fruit from which it arose.
And it also has a kind of sexual level of reference to the Son of Man.
The tree of life there is identical with the creative word at the center of the mind of the stream of creation.
So, as the journey of Jesus is completed,
somehow everything is transformed, and as it were, flowers into his new creation,
brought forth from the center from the energy of the resurrection.
And then, in Roman numeral 7 there, I try kind of to boil this down into a couple of lines.
The creative word has, incarnate in Jesus, fallen into the earth and locked itself into the center,
into the center of the creation, the cosmos, earth, the human person.
And from there, the rivers of wisdom of the sacramental life,
to which correspond the water and the blood from Jesus,
also remember paradise, and the spring in paradise, and then the four rivers in paradise,
the Father's abode, you see, and then the cross and the wounds of Jesus to reflect that.
Springing up at the center like the spring of paradise,
flows through the whole of the sphere of the creation, making all things new, making it a new creation.
If you read Ezekiel 47 in the book of Revelation,
you find that spring which comes from under the temple,
and the river of life arises from that spring,
and flows through the whole of the new creation, giving life to everything.
So, here we find it in a very bodily, very physical form in John,
coming out from the open side of Jesus.
Thus, the solar word, the word that is sung,
the center of the solar system, which is the creation,
lifted up on the tree as the great sign,
because I think somehow that at the end of the New Testament,
for Paul, for John, and for the early fathers,
there's one great sign, which is the radiant cross,
which is the tree on which Jesus has been crucified,
and from which he shines as if he were the sun lifted up into the sky.
I think the lifting up in John also has that significance,
that Jesus is lifted up as if he should be lifted up into mid-heavens as the noonday sky,
and he shines from there in his glory, okay, for those who believe.
But that is also to move into the center,
and the centering thing is very strong in John, just like the feminine thing is very strong.
See, the movement towards the center is a feminine movement.
The movement, as it were, into that position of royalty, of sovereignty, is a masculine movement.
So, the movement into the center.
This is the inner bridegroom.
Sophia, the living water and the wine, flows out to irrigate and renew the whole creation.
And the bridegroom is wed with Sophia, with this flowing wisdom.
The bridegroom, who is in the center, is wed to this, as it were, fluid wisdom,
this fluid new life which flows out into the whole creation.
The bridegroom has become for us bride as well, interior companion, wisdom spring of living water.
The masculine word of John's gospel and the feminine symbolic figures,
remember Mary and Bethany and the anointing,
have thus been joined as they cross in a circle with Verona.
And the rock center, which is the word, masculine, is also river and dance.
And then, just a recollection of Emmaus, which is parallel here to what John is doing.
Two disciples are walking along the road there, and Jesus appears in an unknown form,
begins to walk beside them, and as he talks to them,
and opens the scriptures to what is in, as it were, the core of the scriptures,
the heart of the scriptures, the burning heart of the scriptures,
which is the living word, which is Christ himself.
And still they don't recognize it. Their hearts begin to burn within them.
So, this is analogous to John, who, at the end, as it were,
the last thing that he leaves us with is this flaming word, which is Christ,
the glorified word, which is discovered burning within ourselves,
and within the whole creation.
So, he leaves us with a very powerful, not just an image,
the whole of his gospel funnels into this.
And it's not just something he's created, it's something he's discovered,
it's something he's experienced.
We've taken up all our time, and so we can't go through it sequence by sequence,
but we'd love it if you would just open up the table,
and the remainder of the week and the homilies and hymns will be given to you.
So, it's appreciated for the rest of these days.
Any questions or comments?
Yeah, you can put it that way.
It's as if he couldn't stand himself, and he couldn't stand the way he was,
and being the way he was.
And the thief thing, the fact that John says that Judas was a thief,
that can be for us just a symbol of the life of darkness in some way, okay?
But I don't think he sold Jesus for money.
He didn't even care how much money he got.
He just wanted to sell it, he wanted to get it out of the way.
And so he turned him over, as it were, to the structure of power.
He sold him out to the structure of power,
to the power of darkness, because he himself was on the mark of darkness.
And so the darkness cannot stand the presence of the light.
So in some way, he had to extinguish the light.
He had to get Jesus out of the way.
Something like that.
But he didn't understand what he was doing.
The fact that he kills himself afterwards,
I mean, Gert was pointing this out to me this morning,
that he hates himself, really, at the same time that he hates Jesus.
In other words, he has taken a turn from Jesus,
and opposed to the light.
So it's not just one sin.
It's in all of sin.
Every sin contains this in some way or another.
And every sin kind of moves us along that road in that direction of Jesus
by putting a little bit of the hatred of life and of the light into our heart.
So it can become a terrific thing after a while.
We can have a terrific conflict.
We can be religious people and actually hating Christ.
In relation to the Bible's point,
I think, really, basically, really,
fundamentally, if one doesn't face the reality,
how hard is it to realize that at a moment,
when we wonder, I think,
I'm very, that's what I'm talking about,
we need to allow that penetration,
allow oneself to be possessed by that.
Peter goes pretty far along that road of self-hatred.
You remember in John, when Peter has denied Jesus,
the girl says, well, you're one of them.
He says, I am not.
Luke came in, it's the opposite of I am.
I am not.
He's cancelled himself out.
At that moment, he's wiped out completely.
Because he's denied the central thing in his own life.
He's denied that knowledge, that revelation of Jesus,
which had become the center of his existence.
So he doesn't exist at that moment.
And only that look of Jesus at that moment saves him.
Or whatever.
He gets converted.
He turns.
Somewhat a gift of faith is there.
The last thing to go out, the last little light to go out of him
is that faith in something bigger than myself,
that something can overcome my own awfulness.
Now, if it comes to mind,
wouldn't you either pass over that,
or, people have said that I am,
that he wouldn't pass over,
but some of the time,
It takes something from outside of us to bring us out.
Once we've got in.
Yes, yes, that's right.
Oh yeah.
We've been developed for a very long time.
But it is the key to dying.
We've got to die anyway.
And it's a decision of the meaning that that death is going to have.
Is it going to be a cry of hatred,
or is it going to be the ultimate act of love?
Cry of hatred and despair.
Hatred of everything, as a matter of fact.
Hatred of all being.
It's kind of an absolute hatred.
It can be in despair.
In spite of the fact that this is a very dynamic of our own,
many of you, a very dynamic of our own being,
of love and affirmation.
It's a terribly twisted.
Okay then.
Thank you.