March 11th, 1986, Serial No. 00609

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in his basic psychology, which is very important, that there are three levels of the human being.
First of all, the body at physical level, then the soul, the psyche, the psychic level, psychological level, and then the pneuma, the spirit, which is the divine level, where the spirit of man meets the spirit of God.
And when he says, you are not in the flesh, you are in the spirit, anyone who has not had the spells
We are not debtors to the flesh to live according to the flesh.
It means the body is separated from the soul and the spirit.
They're meant to be an integrated whole, you see.
The body and souls, psyche and soul should be interrelated, working on them together.
And the spirit, the spirit of God, should pervade the whole.
Then the human being is integral and complete.
And incidentally, that's the end of yoga, to reunite.
body, soul and spirit to make the human being integrated.
And when the body separates from the soul and the spirit, goes its own way, then you're living according to the flesh.
And when the body and the soul surrender to the spirit, then you're living according to the spirit.
You mustn't take the flesh and the body as being identical.
The flesh is the body separating itself with its desires, passions and so on from
the guidance of the soul and the spirit.
So he said, if you live according to the flesh, you will die.
If by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
That's a little dangerous, really, because it does suggest that somehow the deeds of the body are evil, but it's only the body when separated from the soul and the spirit that could, as I say, giving way to anger, to desire, fear, all these passions of the body.
That is what had to be put to death.
You die to the sin in the body, not to the body.
Because again, St.
Paul says the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
It's created for God.
But when it goes its own way and it separates, then of course it becomes evil.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
And this is very important.
It's Paul's great insight, you see, that at this level of the Spirit, we're open to God.
And light of God can come through the whole person, through the body or through the soul.
And when we realize this center of the Spirit in us, we know ourselves as sons of God.
That's a particular Christian revelation, that at the depths of our being, each one of us is called a son of God.
We receive the Spirit of God and we become like God.
The Spirit of God is God in us, you see.
So then you can say,
who did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, receive the spirit of sonship when we cry, Abba, Father.
And this is one of my favorite sayings really in St.
Paul.
You see, to fall back into fear is to fall back into the soul and the psyche, what we've been discovering.
As long as you live in the soul and the psyche, you'll always be divided.
When you go beyond the body and the soul and enter into the spirit,
then this integration takes place, and then you're open to God.
And then you will receive the Spirit of Sonship when we cry, Abba, Father.
It is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
At that point of the spirit, we become aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
And that is our union with God.
And in that presence of the Holy Spirit, we know ourselves
in and through Christ, as sons of the Father.
We are able to say with Jesus, Abba, Father.
That is, the Christian life is a life in the Trinity.
This is extremely important because many have rather lost sight of it.
When we open ourselves to the Spirit within, experience His Sonship, the children of God,
and we are able to say, Abba, Father.
We enter into the inner life of the Holy Trinity.
We know ourselves as sons coming forth from the Father in the Spirit, or the other way around, in the Spirit, becoming, awakening to our being as sons returning to the Father.
Then he says, children, then heirs of God, heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him, that we also may be glorified with him.
fellow-heirs with Christ.
It's very important to see that Christ is on our side.
The later Trinitarian doctrine tended to put Christ always on the side of God.
He's the Son of the Father Eternal.
All that is true, of course, in one aspect, but only one aspect.
But when you see Christ as not as simply as God, but as God in man, and man in God, then we're with Him, we're fellow-heirs with Him.
Jesus as a man,
is a fellow with us of the Spirit and with life in God.
But it comes when we suffer with Him that we may be glorified.
And that is when we... The suffering is really surrendering ourselves, like Jesus on the cross, when we surrender ourselves to God, then we experience this death to our ego, to our lower nature, and we experience His resurrection, we experience His life in Christ.
So we have here the very core, really, of St.
Paul's theology, and it is spiritual doctrine.
And it's extremely important for us all, because that is the very distinctive doctrine.
In the Hindu doctrine, you have this experience of the Atman, the spirit within, and it's extremely profound, of course, and it's awakening to the eternal reality within.
But in the Christian view, you have this, within that eternal reality, the Atman, is this mystery of the
Trinity, the Father communicating Himself to us through the Son in the Spirit, and we experiencing God in the Spirit through Christ, through the Son.
That's our particular Christian experience.
The eighth chapter of this letter to the Romans, a kind of climax that informs
teaching and all demands a good deal of reflection.
He says here that we should remember always his psychology, the three levels of human being, the body, the soul and the spirit.
And the spirit in man is the point where the human spirit is open to the spirit of God.
And his understanding, which you know all through, is that as long as we remain on the level of the body and the soul, the psyche, we're separated from God, we're in sin.
Only when we open to the Spirit, allow the Spirit of God to enter, are we in grace and we're in the way of salvation.
And the salvation precisely is this gift of the Spirit after baptism, confirmation, which is renewed continually in prayer.
So he says, the spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know how to pray as we ought.
The spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs to deep for words.
It's a very important aspect of prayer, because again, we think of prayer often in terms of the body and the soul, the body position.
In India, it's considered very important, the asana and the pranayama, the whole bodily harmony.
And it's very important.
And then we think much more of the psyche, the soul, the words we use, the thoughts we have, the desires, the will.
And we think all that is our prayer.
And it is up to a point, but it's a very limited aspect of prayer.
And the real prayer is in the spirit, and it's beyond words and beyond thoughts.
And that is the problem, you see.
Deepest prayer is beyond word and beyond thought.
St.
Anthony said, you do not know, you do not pray as you ought as long as you know that you're praying.
Always you're reflecting, you see, in your mind and feelings, what you're doing.
You're in your ego, you're in this limited self.
When you're in the spirit, then something is happening in you.
And I think we all have to learn how to let this happen in us.
When we meditate, we try to harmonize the body, harmonize the soul, the mind, and then allow the spirit to act, you see.
And it may not come through to our feelings or our thoughts, but something happens in the deep center of our being,
And that transforms our lives.
It may come out in our daily life in all sorts of different ways, but that is the real prayer.
So we do not know how to pray as we ought.
The Spirit Himself intercedes with us.
It's this movement of the Spirit in the depths of our being.
That is the prayer we have to seek.
That's what we call contemplation in the proper sense, you see.
Gift of contemplative prayer, which we should all seek and which God gives to those who seek Him.
And then, he who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
At that point of the Spirit, you see, we're open to the Holy Spirit, and we're open to the will of God.
And people often ask, how do I know the will of God?
Well, from your soul, your psyche, you can never know it properly.
You can guess and have some good idea.
And only when you enter into that point of the Spirit, God himself begins to act in you, and then the will of God comes through to you.
It's actually God's will that's in you, and that is what we have to seek.
So at that point of the Spirit, we open ourselves to the Spirit of God, which intercedes for the saints, you see.
The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love, which is communicating itself all the time, offering itself to us,
and transforming us.
And then a phrase which I always like, it's a great comfort, I think, in trouble.
We know that in everything God works to good with those who love Him, or call upon His purchase.
In everything God works for good, to leave that in all the situations in one's life, all the apparently tragic or unfortunate or
miserable situations, to realize that God is working for good.
It's a tremendous act of faith, very often, but it's profoundly true.
Once we can realize that, then we realize that love of God is always there.
In the worst situation, love is always present.
So everything works together for good with those who love Him.
It's very challenging, you know, to try to see that in one's life.
But those who meet them, you have this rather remarkable
sequence.
Those whom he foreknew, he predestined to prompt the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
And this is very important to see that each one of us is created in the image of God, and through sin that image gets defaced, and through grace that image is restored.
And we all are conformed to the image of Christ.
You see, we become the image of God.
So Gregory of Nyssa, a great doctor of mystical theology, said, all men, from the first man to the last man, are one image of him who is of God, you see.
The whole humanity is called to be restored to this image of God, which is found in Christ.
So we're all
destined to be conformed to this image of God in us, then that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
This is very important also, because we so often think of Christ as God, and I think it's very misleading.
It's true that you can think of Christ as God, but it's equally and more important that Christ is fully man.
He's firstborn among brethren.
It really enters fully into human nature, shares our human life, our human destiny, and goes before us.
And we're with him and in him.
It's not simply above us.
See, it's not only Christ and not only God present in man, it's man present in God.
Both sides are true.
And we often emphasize one at the expense of the other, but St.
Paul, in most of the New Testament, is always speaking of Jesus and his solidarity with man.
And Jesus himself, the one
term by which he liked to speak for himself was Son of Man.
That was the word that comes through all the Gospels, Son of Man.
That's how he wanted to present himself.
So he becomes the firstborn among many brethren.
And then you get this sequence, who shall be destined, he called, he recalled, he justified, he justified, he glorified.
And this is a kind of
what you could say, a theology of grace, you could say.
See, there is a predestination.
From the beginning of the world, the letter of Ephesians says, he predestined us in him before the creation of the world.
See, we all exist in the mind of God from the beginning.
He's predestined us, and then, he knows he predestined, he called.
And this call of God we receive is something which comes from this eternal,
Being in God, you see, we're already destined in Him, and then the call comes to us in different ways.
Each person receives his call in a different way.
And those he calls, he justifies, and he justifies us.
It isn't that we justify ourselves.
We have to act according to his will, but he himself enables us to act according to his will.
The whole work of salvation is God's action in us.
We cooperate, and He can't do anything without us, but we can't do anything of ourselves.
Everything comes from Him.
So He destines us, He calls us, justifies, means He makes righteous, He makes us one with Himself.
God is righteousness, and we become righteous, justified.
Those who are justified, He glorifies.
when we've been conformed to the image of his Son.
That is exactly being justified, you see.
We become one with Christ and then that leads to glory, that is, to the final vigil of God.
So you see the whole sort of plan of salvation is outlined here.
I say this is the kind of climax of St.
Paul's thoughts.
I always say when we come across these chapters, we should dwell on them.
There are certain chapters in the New Testament which really sort of focus the whole mystery of salvation.
When we come across them, we can get them absorbed and function.
This gospel is a good example of the kind of revolution which Jesus introduced in the whole style of life, you could say, of the religion of his time, and in all religion.
What he says about the Scribes and Pharisees is generally considered to be a sort of type.
It's not really describing the people of his time.
It's rather describing a type of religious person who exists at all ages and is very relevant at all times.
one can see the dangers of religion, really.
See, it says, the scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice observantly, but do not do what they do, for they preach, but do not practice.
That's the first great difficulty, you see.
If you're giving sermons all the time, or telling people what they ought to do, and there's normally a gap between what you say and what you do, and it can become more and more pronounced, and people today feel very,
strongly that things are preached in churches, and yet the behavior of Christians outside is quite different.
It's something which faces all religion.
If you have high ideals, you normally fall short of them, and then people will reproach you for hypocrisy.
And Jesus always saw hypocrisy as a great vice of religion, professing one thing and doing another.
And we can't avoid it, the danger is always there.
And then they bind heavy burdens hard to bear and lay them on their shoulders, will not move them with their finger.
The church and all religious unions, they make laws.
These laws can be very oppressive.
And often in the church today we say that the laws are made by celibate priests and bishops and they have to be obeyed by families, married people with children.
And often the burdens are very great.
And so there's a gap between what is
commanded the law and what could really be observed by people.
So again you have this conflict always, the burden of the law and the problem of human need, human weakness, and not only weakness but the whole human situation.
So always law is general, it gives general principles, but life is not general at all, it's particular.
You have to make your own particular decisions
And laws can guide you and help you, but they can also be a burden when they're superimposed upon you.
So again, the danger is imposing laws.
This applies to all religions.
Islam is perhaps a particularly good example.
There are many very severe laws in Islam, even the Ramadan fast is something very demanding.
And when you impose it on people, it can become very harsh and burdensome.
So there again, the problem is always there.
Then they do all their deeds to be seen by men.
They make phylacteries broad and fringes long.
Phylacteries apparently were little pieces of parchment with the law written on them.
The idea was, write this law on your
put it on your forehead and on your hands and so on.
So they used to write out prescripts of the law and put them on the forehead and bind them around the fingers.
Again, it's a sort of literal interpretation of a law, which can be significant.
It shows a desire to keep the law always before you.
But again, of course, it can become just hypocritical.
You write it, but you don't live it.
And then the fringes were probably the tassels
The religious Jew was supposed to have these four tassels at the end of his garment.
Again, these are outward signs, and we have them in the church also, these outward signs by which bishops and priests dress and so on.
And they have their value.
It's to show a person has a certain responsibility in society, a certain function he's performing, which has to be respected.
But again, it can become just an outward sign and without any inner meaning.
And then he says, they love the places of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogue and salutations in the marketplace and they're called rabbi by men.
And this is not an easy matter because I think in any society the people of importance need to be given a certain respect.
It's really rather a difficult problem.
It applies to ministers in India.
Anybody who's a minister of any sort gets an incredible amount of honor paid to him of every kind.
And of course it can be very harmful.
It just flatters the person.
And the same applies in the church.
You can have so much honor paid to bishops and the Pope and so on.
And it can be a great external show and can be very harmful.
But on the other hand, to pay a certain respect for a person's function, duty in the society does seem to be normal.
So I don't think one can say that it's wrong in itself, but it always has this great danger in it, that you get attached to all these outward signs of reverence which are paid you, and you don't really respond to it in your heart.
And so, again, it becomes hypocrisy.
And then, to be called Rabbi, that is, Rabb means great.
And it's a title of honor, simply.
And of course, the religious leader among the Jews were called Rabbi.
They still are.
And it can be a title of, very like Christians, we speak of priest and father.
It's a way of paying respect.
But Jesus wanted to avoid this, giving respect to man rather than to God, you see.
You're not to be called rabbi if you have one teacher and you're all brethren.
It's an extraordinary change, you see, in the attitude of it.
Instead of singling out these leaders of the church or the religion and giving special honor to them, rather to show that all are equal.
As I say, I don't think you can simply abolish one and establish the other.
There is a certain honor due to people who have a special function in the society or in the church.
But at the same time, they have always to remember that they're fundamentally equal.
Every baptized Christian is equal to a pope, to any bishop.
As a Christian, a pope and bishop is no better than the simplest Christian.
They are measured by the level of the spirit that is in them, not by their function in the church.
At the same time, as I say, one needs to pay a certain respect to the function.
But we always have to remember, you are all brethren, and today we're
trying to recover that sense that every Christian is a baptized Christian as we see the Spirit of God and is fundamentally equal, equal to the Pope or the Bishop or the Priest or anybody.
Our place before God
is the place we have to the gift of the Spirit for each one of us, which is given to all.
So this is a tremendous lesson which is coming out today very much.
We feel how it's been exaggerated, all the importance of bishops and priests of the Church has been so exaggerated as though they were the Church, and today we're trying to see that every Christian is equal in a fundamental sense, all alike, simply the one Spirit, and all to the one end, in lacunae with Christ.
And then
call no man father on earth.
You have one father who is in heaven.
Many Protestants and others object very strongly to priests being called father.
They say this is exactly what Jesus said they shouldn't do.
And again, I don't think you can simply reject it.
There is a fatherhood.
St.
Paul particularly is very good
When he says, in Christ, I begot you in Christ, I was your father in Christ, that is the meaning of it.
It's one who brings this Christ life to birth in people, and it has a meaning.
But again, you see, the danger that you get exalted, a priest as a father, and put above everybody else, and everybody has to salute him, and so on.
So there's a great danger in it, and he gets his swollen ego if he's not very careful.
And so Jesus is warning against the dangers of all these things, and I think we all have to take it to heart.
call no man father, if you have one father who is in heaven, neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.
And I think today, you know, there's a very strong movement in the church to just recognize this fundamental equality of all Christians.
We've got this bad tradition by which the clergy were put above the laity.
The clergy were the church, and the laity were all there to obey them and to do what they were told and so on.
And today, this case of the laity in the Church has become a fundamental question, having this synod on the laity in Europe to this time.
And the recognition is that the laity are the people of God.
It's one of the great changes in the Vatican Council and the Constitution of the Church.
The second chapter was on the people of God.
And that turned the Church upside down.
You see, in the earlier vision of the Church, the Pope was on top, and then the bishops, and then the priests, the laity were at the bottom.
And this chapter, they turned it round and said, the laity are the people of God, are the church.
And within the church, there are certain functions, ministries, duties, which are performed by priests and bishops and popes, and they have their function in the church.
but the laity are the church, they are the laos, the people of God.
So there has been a very great reversal and we are trying to live that out today, to rediscover the place of the lay person, the ordinary Christian in the church.
He is the church, the others have functions, ministries, you see a ministry is a service.
People are called for a certain service to the people, that is what authority in the church is.
And that's exactly what Jesus was trying to put before his disciples now, that you call no man father if you have one father in heaven, neither be called masters, but one master, the Christ.
And then he puts it, he was greatest among you for being your servant.
But we should never forget, you know, that this idea has always been present in the church.
It always tends to be obscured and to be overcrowded because this human ambition and desire for power and for authority is so great that it gets overshadowed.
But, you know, in a very ancient tradition, we spoke of the Pope as a servant of the servants of God.
Remarkable phrase, a servant of the servants of God.
And that is his real function, he's there to be of service to people.
He has a ministry in the church.
And the same with the bishop, of course, and with the priest.
So, he who is greatest among it will be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled.
Whoever humbles himself will be insulted.
So you can see, really, this is a reversal of the normal human way of looking at things in the church and in society.
And I think in all, both in the church and in society today, we're discovering the place of the common man, the common person, the ordinary person, that they make up the church, they make up society.
And people who have functions within the society should have respect paid to them, obviously, and there should be a certain
honor and paid, but it always has to be very limited, and we all have to recognize that there's a fundamental equality behind it all.
And today the sense of human equality, that every person has a unique value inside God, that is coming out more and more.
In fact, the Pope in his speeches was always emphasizing that, this human dignity, each human person, whoever they are.
So I think today we are really rediscovering, in many ways, this teaching of Jesus.
We're beginning to
re-learn the gospel.
But we all need, we've got a long way to go, and the other forces are very strong all the time, this outward show of religion, you see, and the imposition of laws and so on.
All these things are still there, and we have to realize the need for this constant renewal of the whole concept of the church, our understanding of the place of the laity, the people that's in the church.
St.
Paul brings this eighth chapter to a conclusion, a kind of climax here.
As you remember, he sees the whole work of salvation as the work of God in us.
Of course, you can't exclude the human person, the human correspondence with grace, but we always have to recognize that it's a paradox in a way, the whole work of salvation is the work of God in us.
St.
Paul had a very remarkable saying,
letter, work out your salvation, for it is God who works in you.
It's a paradox, you see, you have to work out your salvation, and yet you have to recognize that every single step in it, from the first to the last, is God's work in you.
So this
Human and divine meeting is very mysterious, but we have to recognize the reality that God, every single state, the very first movement towards God comes from Him, and right to the last movement is His work in us.
And then He says,
What should we say to this?
If God is for us, who is against us?
If one can really surrender one's life to God, then one is totally safe.
I think this life of Swami Paramananda we're reading, I find it most remarkable.
I don't know anybody, pardon me, certainly in modern times, who seemed to be more totally surrendered to God than he was.
Most wonderful, really.
Extremely Christian in his whole outlook.
He was a rather Christian monk, of course, but he really had a wonderfully open spirit and deeply Christian understanding.
So he realized this total surrender to God and seeing that everything comes from God.
It's very difficult, but when you reach that, then you're totally free.
He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, will he not give us all things with him?
See, the whole creation, everything is given.
Once you recognize God is in everything and everything is in God, then the whole thing is transformed.
But of course, it's a paradox.
I mean, there's misery, suffering, cruelty, all these things around you all the time.
And yet, in a mysterious way, God is in the midst of it all.
And if you can see things as they are, you see, beyond all the shadows, you see, these are the shadows in the darkness, and there is that eternal light shining in the midst of it all.
reality of God.
Then who shall bring any charge against God's elect?
It is God who justifies ways to condemn.
And it is Christ Jesus who died, yes, who was raised from the dead with the right hand of God who intercedes for us.
And all this really comes from this awareness.
You see, Jesus went through all this.
The crucifixion is all the powers of evil are present there, of sin and cruelty, injustice, inhumanity, violence, hatred, everything you can think of.
is present there, and yet at that very moment, the total revelation of God's grace and love is communicated.
And when he cries out on the cross, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
At that very moment, the world is redeemed.
You see, it's a tremendous paradox in history that at the very depth of sin and suffering, there is redemption and eternal life, and that's what David's revealed.
So who shall separate us from the love of Christ, or tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sore?
And all the saints support, very strikingly, but all the saints have experienced this.
You go through the worst suffering and yet you find that God was in
And many people today, you know, have been through this.
People who've died of cancer and so on, when it looks like total misery, they've found an extraordinary grace comes up.
It transforms your life.
And in concentration camps, they found the same thing.
Some people give in to it, of course.
Granted, it is too much for them.
But others simply discover that in the midst of the most appalling suffering,
apparent desolation, there is this mysterious grace, this love is present.
And that's what St.
Paul experienced.
For thy sake we are being killed all the day long, we are regarded as sheep of the slaughter.
In all these things we are more than conquerors to him who loved us.
This is what, of course, sustained the martyrs.
They were aware that something else was in them.
There's a beautiful story of St.
Perpetua.
She was part of the African martyrs.
She was a married woman.
And she bore a child in the prison.
And she was in great pain and labor.
And her companion said, well, if you're suffering like this now, what are you going to do when you're thrown to the bull?
She was being thrown to a wild animal.
And she said, now I'm suffering myself, but then he will be suffering in me.
The whole difference has changed, you see.
So that was their experience.
Wasn't they there?
Something else was in them and was experiencing it for them.
So neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor path, nor height, nor depth, or anything else will be able to circulate.
And notice St.
Paul's vision of the cosmos.
You know, we've got a terribly narrow one.
We think of galaxies and things, of course, but they're all empty.
They've got no life in them.
But for him, and for all the ancient world, this world was full of angels, and principalities, and powers, and all these spiritual powers in the universe, you see.
And yet Christ is above all those powers.
They're both good and evil, the powers, but He's beyond them all.
And separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord, He reveals this love which is beyond all creation, beyond all power and everything, and beyond all sin and suffering and death.
So it's an incredible mystery which we're all involved in, and we just have to try to realize it a little in our minds.
Paul goes on now to this theme of the... He's been dealing with the question of the law and grace, saying how grace which comes through Christ sets us free from the law, meaning, of course, the law of Israel.
Now he goes on to this problem of the relation between church and Israel, which remains a problem to the present day, and it was a great problem for him.
He was a devout, faithful Jew.
He says,
I am speaking the truth in Christ.
I am not lying.
My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit.
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
He has this tremendous love for his people, and yet he feels forced to separate from them.
I wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen, my race.
Putting it in an exaggerated way, of course, but you will see that it is really a tremendous
It was a problem for him and it stirred the depths of his being.
And of course, we must always remember this separation of the Church from Israel was and is, in a sense, a real tragedy and it ripped people apart.
And St.
Paul felt it very deeply.
Then he says, all that belongs to Israel, they are Israelites, then belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises.
See, all these gifts of God to Israel, the glory is that revelation of God on Mount Sinai, the glory of God on Mount Sinai.
Then that glory descended on the temple.
It filled the temple with radiance.
And then, of course, in our belief, it also descended on Jesus, we beheld his glory.
That was the glory given to Israel.
Then the covenants, with particularly Abraham, with Moses, with David, you see, building up, giving of the law.
the worship in the temple, the promises made to Abraham, the patriarchs.
To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, that is, the Messiah.
So, we all belong to this race of Israel.
There's a famous occasion when John XXIII, his name was Joseph, you know, by baptism, when some Jews came to
meet him once and he opened and addressed them saying, I am your brother Joseph.
He was one of Israel, you see.
And it remains true, you see, Christianity simply came from Israel and Jesus is Jew and came to be the Messiah.
But it is not as though the word of God has failed.
Now he tries to answer this problem that Christians have separated from Israel.
How can they answer?
For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham.
Now we get a rather rabbinical sort of argument.
And St.
Paul, you know, was brought up in this kind of rabbinical tradition.
And in every religion you get that kind of arguing from texts and so on.
It's very unconvincing very often.
I don't think this is really very impressive, but it obviously had a great meaning for him and has for others for a long time.
His thesis generally is, you see, that not everybody who descend from Abraham according to the flesh is a true Israelite.
You have to descend according to the spirit.
But it's a good argument in its way, but of course, it's not really convincing.
Because the promises certainly were made to the children of Israel, the sons of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and so on.
So he says, it means it's not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, the children of the promise.
And then he gives the argument about Sarah and Rebecca and so on.
And then he ends with a rather troubling statement where it is said, you know, when Jacob and Esau were in the womb of Rachel, Jacob came out first.
And he was, through him, descendants of Israel were reckoned.
And Esau, who was the father of Edom, a non-Israelite, came out afterwards.
And it said, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
And this is a Hebrew expression.
We have to be aware of it.
They always spoke in very black and white terms.
If you say you prefer somebody to somebody else, they would say, I love you and I hate you.
We just had a psalm.
We left out two verses, you know.
And I always like to recall that we have to leave them out.
You can't say them today as a Christian at all.
Oh God, that you would slay the wicked.
Do I not hate those who hate you and abhor those who rise against you?
I hate them with a perfect hate.
They are opposed to me.
So that was the sort of attitude of mind, you see.
And so it was said, God loved Jacob and chose him and made the children of Israel from Jacob, and he hated Esau and Edom and wanted to destroy them.
So I think we can take St.
Paul's argument very seriously.
But behind it, of course, there is a very deep truth.
And it still is a troubling thing, you see, how we can reconcile Israel's faithfulness to their tradition.
When I was in Madras last month, I met an English rabbi.
He's of Russian descent, but he's a typical Englishman now.
He's a most interesting man, a very faithful Jew.
And you see how attached they are to their whole tradition, you see, and particularly to the synagogue and to the worship, the Paschal meal, it's all Passover, it's so deep in them.
And it has such deep meaning still, you see.
And of course they would see Jesus as a very holy man, as a prophet and so on, but they can't recognize him as the Messiah.
And so that's how the division came, and today we have to
live with these divisions and try to see that there's something on both sides.
You see, the split came with St.
Paul and the early church and they got more and more hostile and terrible history of hatred, you see.
The Christians were persecuting the Jews century after century.
They had these pogroms, you know, especially in Russia.
They'd just get up and kill all the neighboring Jews.
It was a terrible situation.
and so that has been going on all these centuries and only today we're really trying to rediscover Israel and see how to relate to see how we can be and it was very interesting talking to this rabbi we really could get a very good relationship and we could appreciate him and he could appreciate us so I think well
moving today.
You see, it's a new thing, this being able to appreciate another religion and really see its values and try to relate to it, and at the same time to be true to your own religion.
You don't have to mix it all up together.
You see your own truth and yet you see there's truth in the other, and you try to see how they can be reconciled.
So I think we all have to pray over that one.
and the poor man was a kind of folk tale which was common in Israel, and many of the rabbis also used it.
And it's a human situation which is realized again and again.
And the prize for texts, particularly to the Sadducees, who didn't believe in a future life.
Among the Jews, Pharisees and the more Orthodox had this faith in a future life, which arose rather late in Israel, whereas the Sadducees kept to the old tradition
They thought this world was all there is.
So this is a very human situation.
There are millions today, millions even of Catholics.
It's interesting in the polls you find so many Catholics and Christians don't believe in a future life.
And of course the term future life is ambiguous because what we look for is eternal life.
It is not in time.
It's rather future, nor present, nor past, you see, beyond time.
But still, this lack of faith in a future life can be
symptomatic of lack of any grief in anything beyond this world, then that is a great problem.
And then with this goes the sense that you've got only this world to enjoy, so make the best of that, and that is a very
And we're all involved in this situation today of this immense riches on the one side and immense poverty on the other.
It isn't simply that there are rich and poor people, that is normal, there have always been.
It's the lack of all proportion.
For instance, if you go to a five-star hotel in India, you can spend as much in one day as would keep a normal family for a month, a family of five or six people.
There's no proportion in it at all.
And we have the situation of the rich countries and the poor, and then we have the situation of the rich people in the poor countries.
There are immensely rich people in India today in the midst of extreme poverty.
And we're all involved in this.
We can't sort of opt out of it.
And yet, of course, it's very difficult to know what to do.
There are many things that can be done and many things that are being done.
but none of them really answer the situation.
And I think we have to accept the mystery of it, as it were, that we are placed in this situation, and each one has to take responsibility.
You can't say exactly what each person can do.
It's not easy to judge, as we all know, when you want to help people.
It becomes very difficult.
One of the commonest things, many of the rich nations give a great deal of money to the poor people,
And it can help, but it can also do great harm.
It's discovered more and more.
People get more and more dependent.
They don't really get any advantage from this in the end.
And people feel the need for the change of the structures of society by reading this book of Leonardo Boff in the library, in the refectory.
He's one of the leaders of the liberation theology in South America.
And they're all much concerned there, because the problem there is acute as anywhere, and the people happen to be Catholic by tradition.
So the Church is very much involved in the whole problem there.
And they're trying to find an answer.
And I think they are finding an answer.
There is a real movement of the Spirit there, which is awakening people to the
the appalling nature of the situation, where the church has often been entirely on the side of the rich until recently, but now the great change is taking place.
The church is recognizing that you must stand with the poor, and there's a great movement of liberation taking place.
And here in India, also the church is awakening.
We have all to recognize that our religious life, we belong to the rich.
We belong to that 15% or so who have a reasonable standard of life.
not to the 85% who are below a reasonable standard of life.
So we're all involved in this.
And yet, as I say, there's no simple answer to it.
I think each one has his calling, and it's very true today among religious and the church in general.
Many are feeling this calling to go to live with the poor.
They feel it's not enough to give to the poor, it's to live, to share their life, their sufferings, and to work with them and for them.
So there are many ways in which we can take this responsibility.
But as I say, I think we each have to be responsible.
We have to remember all the time when we're having a good meal that there are other people who've not got sufficient.
And that when we have clothes and everything we need, there are other people who've not got sufficient.
And in everything, what we have, other people have not got.
And that is our...
as a whole, and for humanity as a whole, because people are struggling today to see what can be done to create a more just society.
And we're all involved in that, and each has to take his part.
and we left out a good deal of it.
I find it very unconvincing.
And it raises quite a difficult problem, this whole relationship of Christianity to Judaism.
And what one can say is that at first, of course, there was no conflict.
The disciples considered themselves to be Jews, Jesus was the Messiah, and they would continue to be Jews.
The early Acts of the Apostles, they went up to the temple regularly to pray.
and St.
Paul always went to the synagogue first of all.
It was only gradually they realized that it would be a separation from Israel, and Jews as a whole rejected Christ as Messiah, and the Gentiles came to accept him.
And so Paul was faced with that problem, how now to relate to Israel, and he has his own point of view, and something to be said for it, no doubt, but it's not complete in any way.
For instance, when he says here, what should we say?
The Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, righteousness through faith, but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in filling the law.
Why?
Because they did not pursue it through faith, but that it were based on works.
And that is his view of the law now, that Israel was simply trying to follow a law
a human way and not relying on faith.
But of course that is totally untrue of Israel as a whole.
The whole of Israel is based on faith in God and every genuine Jew has this tremendous faith in God's revelation.
He believed the law because it was given by God through Moses.
And so Paul is trying to work out a relationship with Israel in this new situation.
Christians, as I say, they've never really come to terms with Israel.
It was a great tragedy, you see.
By the middle of the century, when Paul is writing in the 50s, 60s, the split had taken place.
As I say, at first they were going to the temple and worshiping together and so on, and going to the synagogues, and then they began to split.
And by the middle of the century, intense hostility was coming.
And from that moment on, it grew and grew,
The wall came down and there was no understanding on either side.
Each hated the other and wanted to exterminate them.
It was a terrible situation.
And it's gone on really ever since.
We've never really reconciled with Israel.
And Israel of course has never reconciled with Christianity.
And so I feel it's a problem we face today.
Paul was trying to face it in his time, in his way, with his point of view.
And it had its own validity as far as it went.
It's not the final answer.
But we must never forget, and I think it comes a little later, that Paul had that firm belief that in the end Israel would return.
That they were being, the Gentiles were coming in, Israel was rejecting Christ, but the end would come when Israel also would return.
So he still had great faith in Israel.
And it remains a great mystery, you see.
The Jews have gone on, endlessly persecuted, suffering, and almost exterminated by Hitler at one time.
And still the faith goes on.
And it's faith in God.
It's not faith in some human law or anything.
It's total faith that God has chosen them and they have this destiny and that they must fulfill it.
And there is something in that.
You can't deny it, you see.
And so we have to come to terms with it.
So I think it's something we all need to face.
You see, it's a new thing today, this dialogue with Israel.
And it's taking place at many levels now.
And we're beginning to rediscover and to reconsider our whole relationship
And that applies, of course, to all other religions, you see.
We've had the same attitude.
All Hinduism was simply devil worship.
St.
Francis Xavier thought all Hindus were devil worshippers.
And same with Islam.
All Muslims are infidels.
You have to go and kill them.
Crusades and so on.
So that has been our background.
We can't forget it, you see.
We've been intensely hostile to all other religions and have persecuted them whenever we had the opportunity.
And naturally, they feel a strong resentment.
But mind you, they've done the same thing.
We're just as bad to Christians as we are to them, and so on.
So we're now in a situation where we must face the past, you see, recognize we've all syndicated for one another.
We can't be excused.
But we're now beginning to reconsider, to realize that God is present in each religion in different ways.
We have to learn to live with one another, to share with one another.
and eventually to be reconciled, but not a cheap reconciliation.
I mean, there are real differences.
We have to face them and to try to understand them.
But it's a new movement today, and I'm very impressed that the Pope, you see, in India made a strong point of this.
Wherever he went, there is dialogue between religions.
It's the attitude now which we accept, and that must be our only
path in the future.
And this is something that will take time, of course, to get down to all levels, but we should be very much aware of it in our own lives, not only in India, of course, all over the world.
Somebody was telling me today he's teaching in a school in London where half the children are from Bangladesh or Pakistan or India or elsewhere.
You see, you get these mixed groups everywhere now, and you have to face it in schools, you see.
You've got Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and
and people of different, maybe some Buddhists, in different religions at school together now.
And we have to face this problem of inter-religious relationship, you see.
So I feel we all need to play over that and to, in our own lives, to try to work it out in a real reasonable way.
And it's, we haven't, thank God that the Church really officially accepts this attitude now, that it's a question of dialogue and sharing with one another.
It's terrible, of course.
He's told about Israel, their rejection of Christ.
The servants represent the prophets, who God sent to Israel time after time.
And then he finally sends his son.
They reject him.
And there is, of course, this whole history of rejection of God in Israel.
But as we were reflecting yesterday, it's only one side of it.
And it's really true in every religion that a son
profess a religion, but their lives are all contrary to it.
There are some who really seek to follow the truth which is in their religion.
And so there is that great division in humanity, and not only humanity, but in a sense every one of us, we partly follow our religion, our faith.
and partly we're not true to it.
And this is our human situation.
And it leads to these tragedies, leads to the killing of people at the end.
And we see this happening everywhere.
People have a cause which they think is right, and they suffer in some way, and then they resist this suffering, and they begin to kill other people and to be killed.
And we see it happening around us.
all over the world.
We see it in Sri Lanka, we see it in the Punjab, we see it in Northern Ireland, we see it in South Africa, Palestine, everywhere.
And this is our human condition that we are
enslaved in this way to our own desires and fears and anxieties.
And we have this instinct in us to resist, to take to violence.
And I think today we're trying to learn this lesson of non-violence, which Gandhiji taught to India.
Of course, he tried to teach it rather, and of course it led to terrible violence.
And it is
death, or rather at the partition, you had this terrible violence between Hindus and Muslims in India.
So he didn't succeed, but yet I think the struggle goes on all the time to try to find a peaceful answer to all these problems of life.
But there is a great movement today.
Very interesting, when the Pope came to Delhi, went to the memorial of Gandhiji,
and apparently spent about five minutes in prayer there.
Somebody had to tell him to come away that he was delaying their program.
But he was so moved by this presence and apparently had been reading the works of Gandhi and realized what a prophet he was.
And this prophecy of non-violence, I think, has tremendous message for the world today.
It's so difficult.
Everybody feels if they're injured, abused, oppressed, they must fight.
and get their rights.
And of course, it only increases the violence, increases the evil.
Sometimes it may work to some extent, but it's the wrong way.
And people are trying to learn today.
It was very remarkable in the Philippines that Ms.
Aquino, she definitely took the line of non-violence.
They would resist the oppression, but they would not take the violence.
And they were successful, of course.
And Gandhi also was successful in India.
Martin Luther King, a great achievement in America.
So the way of nonviolence is there, and it's the only answer to the problem in the world today.
The opposite will just lead to war and eventually to destruction.
So I think we all have to learn nonviolence in ourselves.
You see, it's because we're violent in ourselves, we have this anger within us
that it breaks out in all these different ways.
And only when we overcome the anger in ourselves, surrender to the will of God, and allow the grace of God to work that transformation.
Anger, when transformed, becomes a force of good.
It's a power within us.
But when it's left to itself, it becomes a force of destruction.
So we all have to ask for this transformation of the anger within us into that power of resistance to evil, the power of good, and to
create a world of peace.
And it's so urgent today to create that world of peace, not merely in international or national affairs, but in human affairs, in families, in communities, in groups, wherever we live.
So we all have to ask for the grace, and it is a grace, you see, of non-violence, to surrender one's anger, one's passion and desire,
and to open it to that grace of God which works.
The spirit of God is a non-violent spirit.
It works gently and deeply, it works its inner transformation.
So we ask for that grace of non-violence in the church as a whole, in our own communities, in our own lives.
The first one, especially the opening sentence, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away and the whole new has come.
And this idea that the incarnation is the beginning of a new creation, in evolutionary terms we can say God creates the world out of matter and we allow life to emerge in matter, and human life to emerge out of plant and animal life.
And in Jesus, a new creation comes into being, a new stage when man is united with God and we are all
When we are baptized, when we have faith in Christ, we enter into this new world.
In the Hebrew tradition, they talk of a new age.
There were so many ages in the world.
And when the Messiah came, he instituted a new age.
It is the age when man is open to God.
He's open to this transcendence, to discover his ultimate vocation.
And so it is a kind of new creation.
And all this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us a ministry of reconciliation.
Christian gospel really is a gospel of reconciliation.
And I think today we have to enlarge our horizon.
Remember the Bible, the gospel came out in a rather limited world.
They knew practically nothing of India or China or Japan or America or Australia.
It was a little world in the Middle East, very little in the rest of Europe.
And today I think we have to say that Christ has reconciled all men.
There's no human being who is not open to the grace of Christ.
When God gave man and died for the sake of man, he died for all men.
And so in some way the grace of Christ is offered to all.
I was reading a friend wrote me a letter this afternoon, which he put in very beautifully that he never wanted to preach the gospel in the sense of presenting Christ to India or anything.
but to awaken people to the realization that Christ is in them.
We've never seen Christ in every human being.
We're made in the image of God, and Christ is that image.
So it's to awaken people that Christ is in them, and they are in him, but they've forgotten it, or they've covered it up, and they have to begin to preach the gospel.
It's to awaken people to that reality.
So we are ambassadors to Christ, God making his appeal to us.
We've received you on behalf of Christ.
We've reconciled to God.
See, people are not reconciled.
They are in conflict.
Everybody's in conflict.
We all experience it.
Body and soul are in conflict.
Man and woman and man and man are in conflict.
And we're all in conflict with God in a sense.
This is sin.
It's this division of humanity.
And Christ came to reconcile us with one another and with God.
And I would add, with the whole creation, the whole world is to be reconciled.
So it's a beautiful message, really.
And then, very striking, for our sake, he made him to be sinned, who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
And this is a very important principle.
The solidarity of mankind.
We don't sin as individuals, and we're not saved as individuals.
We sin as members of a fallen humanity.
And Jesus enters that fallen humanity.
In that sense, he made him to be sin.
Jesus experienced a sinful state of humanity, a state of suffering, the death, you see.
And so he becomes part of this fallen humanity in order to make it a holy humanity.
We might become the righteousness of God, not our own righteousness.
We don't come to be made righteous ourselves.
to participate in the righteousness of God, to experience God's gift to us in Christ's gift of the Spirit, which is righteousness, which is love, which is truth, which is fulfilment.
So you can see it's a marvellous message, and I think it's important, you know, to get some passages like that which express the deeper meaning of the Gospel, and then to be able to present it to others, because people are hungry today
A message which means something to their lives, which does give them a new vision and a new hope.
And this is what St.
Paul offers.
That was 1 Corinthians 5, 17-22.
Every human person.
And it brings out the great paradox in which we live.
many aspects of it.
First of all, it's the publicans and sinners, the tax gatherers, who are considered the worst type of person.
And the sinners, people who didn't keep the law at all, were all listening to Jesus.
And the scribes and the Pharisees, of course, were the religious people.
And Jesus tells of this parable, comparing these two sons.
And the prodigal son, I said he's typical of
Humanity, people seek satisfaction in money and possessions and in sex and enjoyment.
And everybody thinks, well nearly everybody, that they're going to find satisfaction getting more and more possessions, getting more and more enjoyment.
And it's a delusion and people gradually discover it.
And it's only when you've lost your hope of getting any satisfaction in
possessions, and in enjoyment, that you discover the real meaning of life, the real purpose of your existence.
And often people have to be brought absolutely to the limit before they discover this.
When we listen to Mother Teresa again and again, she gives examples, people absolutely reach bottom, lying in the street, eaten up with vermin, incredible state, where anybody would say,
the lowest you can come to.
And so many times, she says, they take them in and they wash them, clean them up and so on, and these people are totally transfigured because they experience love in such a way that it transforms their lives.
So this is the
meaning of stipping out, you see, we have a foolish idea that rich people enjoying themselves, nice family, children, sending them to good schools and so on, they're the really happy people.
And the poor, the starving, the miserable, they're the really unhappy people.
But so often, as you all know, these rich people are miserable.
They've got all sorts of worries and troubles and they're selfish and they're hopeless people and all of a sudden,
And we must realize that among the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the lepers, the destitute, you get the most wonderful tragedy of love.
And if they're shown love, this whole life is transformed.
And that is what Mother Teresa has discovered.
And I think we all have to learn.
On the other hand, of course, we don't have to seek to be abandoned in that way.
There's no reason for the prodigal son to go off and squander his goods with harlots and so on.
But we mustn't also make the mistake of imagining that as long as you don't have anything, any possessions or any enjoyments, you're going to be happy.
That isn't the point.
You can give up everything.
Many religious people do give up everything, have no possessions and have very little enjoyment.
And yet you can be clinging to yourself all the time and you've not got what you're looking for.
And it's really this giving up yourself.
Some people have to be brought to the
a lot of rock bottom before they can give themselves up.
Others can be very rich people and yet be totally unselfish.
And among the people I mentioned we were living with last week, very rich people, there are people who are really deeply humble and loving people.
So it's not a question really of poverty or riches.
It's a question of how far you can give up yourself, your ego.
And that is the whole secret.
As long as we cling to ourselves,
whether we have money and families and not, and doing well, or whether we're deprived of everything and are doing badly.
If we're clinging to ourself, then we're in misery.
And when we surrender the self, give it up, we discover God.
We discover this love in the heart.
And that is the whole secret of life.
But of course, it's so difficult to give up on self.
We don't know where it is.
It creeps into everything, especially into the love of God.
We're very religious and yet very selfish,
Not in an obvious way, but in a very deep way.
Be extremely selfish, really, at heart.
And so one has to discover how to give up that self and to find your real self.
This man, Mr. Aoki, I mentioned, is Japanese, gave this very wonderful talk.
The point he was making all the time was how to discover who you are.
See, we've got this false self, clinging to money, to enjoyment, to the world as it is,
and thinking it's going to be satisfied, and always dissatisfied, always in misery really.
And then we've got the real self, and you give up that false self, you discover who you are, and you are that person in God, that person in Christ, that is your real being.
And everybody has this real self concealed behind the outer self.
They may be criminals, they may be
in extreme poverty, there may be anything you like, yet they have this, and they may be very rich people, and very proud, and very what not, but within and beneath it all, there is a hidden presence of God.
The love of God is there in every person, and when they awake, they discover it.
So this prodigal son, he goes and wastes everything, and he comes back and he finds his absolutely overwhelming love, you see, his father's totally accepts him.
And that's the real secret of life.
So I think we all have to discover this now.
That is the whole question of life, is how to discover what life is.
And we all suffer very much trying to discover what it is.
But when we do, then we know what life is for.
And then we have understanding of others.
We can see what the world is really about.
So we can all ask for that grace to give ourselves up and discover the love of God.
That was the story of Prodigal Son.
...to this moral teaching.
In his letters you have some... and then towards the end he gives the moral result of the teaching.
And here, it's the theme of love of one's neighbour.
Where is it?
It's there.
Yes, he's dealt with a great deal actually before, and particularly this idea of the body of Christ, that we're all members of one body, which is so deeply meaningful.
Now he simply speaks of this, owe to no one, to anything, except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
And it's very important, of course, because it's the most universal command or universal principle of life.
And there's practically no religion which doesn't accept this as the law.
I had attended a meeting, you know, last month, in January, of interfaith meeting in Madras, Madras Christian College.
We have representatives of all the religions of India there, Parsis and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and Christians.
And all of them were agreeing that the need today is for religions to work together for the good of humanity.
And the one thing that binds everyone without exception, every religion calls people to love their neighbor.
And so this is something very important, that it's absolutely universal.
Nobody today, even an atheist, won't deny this.
It's something rather important.
You see, we need to find somebody who finds humanity.
And we disagree in all our religions and those things, and we disagree in so many other things, but I think everywhere you'll find this accepted as a principle, we should love our neighbor.
Once he puts it at the end, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
And that is the criteria, what you do to others, do what they do as they wish they should do to you.
So it's very important to have a universal principle like that.
And then it says all the commandments, so fear you shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and any other commandment summed up in this.
And that's why I think it's rather important when we're
considering moral teaching and so on, to bring back everything to love.
Because that is the criterion, actually, why you shouldn't commit adultery or why you shouldn't steal.
It's because you have to love your neighbor, consider your neighbor as yourself.
And it's a little important because, well, take an example.
We shall not steal.
That's a commandment.
But supposing
A very poor man has nothing to eat, and so on.
And he comes somewhere and takes some bread or something.
That is not a sin on his part.
And it would be a sin on the part of the other person if he refused it to him.
You see, you can't simply take any commandment isolated.
All commandments are means of fulfilling the law of love.
And they should always be reduced to that.
Otherwise, you get terribly involved.
take religious command, which we should attend mass on Sunday, something like that, well, that's okay as far as it goes.
But supposing somebody's in need on Sunday, and you have to attend to that person who can't go to mass, then love is the demand for that, you see.
On the other hand, we can ask ourselves, what's the point of religion?
If we've only got to love our neighbor, why not leave out God and all the rest of it?
But of course, the answer to that is you can't love your neighbor unless you've got some deeper principle within you
which relates you to your neighbor.
Because neighbors are not very nice very often.
People don't behave as they should at all.
Unless there's some deep principle in our life which causes us to love our neighbor, we won't do so.
That is why Mother Teresa in her talk, she's always on this sharing of love and so on, she always said that unless you pray, unless you relate yourself to God or to some deeper principle, you won't be able to love others.
You can't serve as you should.
And that's why people today, I know many sisters, for instance, working, well, in various kinds of work, but in the slums and more difficult work, have always said that you need more prayer, you need more awareness in the presence of God.
The more you're involved, the more you need the prayer.
And I think that's very important.
We mustn't separate prayer and work, or prayer and service.
They're really interrelated.
They're opposites, in a sense.
You need to be apart, you need to pray, to meditate, to be silent.
to be alone, and at the same time, through that prayer, that silence, that solitude, we need to go out to others and to serve.
So we mustn't put them in opposition.
We must recognize, just as Jesus raised down the principle, love God with your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength, and then love your neighbors as yourself.
The two go together.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
So this is a very, very deep principle, I think, which we can all need to reflect on.
I find many problems arise about that, and take about a simple thing, but in religious life, we used to have a law of silence of about four particular places and particular times.
Well, unless you bring that back to the principle of love,
it can become positively evil, you see.
Suppose your neighbor, your brother or sister is in some need, maybe just feeling sad, depressed, whatever, and you simply pass them by in silence because you're keeping the rule, you're breaking the law of love, you see.
In keeping this minor rule, you're breaking the real one, which is what Jesus accused the Pharisees, you see.
He obeyed the little things of the law, the tithing, minting, come in and whatnot, and you forget the greater things of the law, which is mercy and sacrifice.
So, this is the great principle of religion.
We all need to reflect what it really means to love God and love one's neighbor and how they're interwoven.
You can't separate one from the other.
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He has his own theology, his own understanding of the mission and the work of Jesus.
St.
John's is slightly different
and that of the others in many ways.
And particularly in this gospel, he says, Jesus himself testified, a prophet has no honor in his own country.
And of course, in the synoptic gospels, Galilee is seen as Jesus' country.
He was born in Nazareth, and St.
Luke records, I went to his own, his own didn't receive him.
But John's perspective is rather different.
Jesus, for him, comes rather from on high, comes from heaven,
And Jerusalem, the city of God, is Jesus' home country.
It's a different perspective.
So Jesus leaves Jerusalem, where he's not been accepted, goes to Samaria, and of course, Samaritans hated the Jews, and Jews hated the Samaritans.
And John wants to show how Jesus, when rejected of the Jews, goes to Samaritans.
And we know, actually, after the ascension, that Philip went to Samaria, and many were baptized there,
And then he shows how they come to Galilee.
And again, Galilee is for him more, as I said, Galilee of the Gentiles of the nations.
After the exile of the northern tribes, many Gentile people came into the north, to Galilee.
So it was a very mixed country.
And he wants to show now how Jesus comes to the pagans, to the Gentiles.
And the centurion, or he called him simply an official, represents the Gentile people.
And so he's showing this progress of the Gospel rejected by the Jews, open to Samaritans, and then to the Gentiles.
And at the end of the St.
John's Gospel, one of the Gospels, Jesus says that this Gospel be preached in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
progress of the gospel.
And when we look on it today, we see how it moved out of Palestine into Greece and Rome, Europe, then it went to America, and fringe came round to Asia, but it's hardly been preached in Asia.
As you know, there are about 2% Christians in India or in Asia as a whole.
And so the gospel is moving now from
Europe and the West to Asia and to the East.
And we have to see it in that context and we have to see how we present the Gospel.
And I think the most important thing today is to recognize that Christ is already present in Asia and present everywhere.
Jesus died for all men and the grace of Christ is offered in some way to all men.
He is a word of God, a revelation of God.
And that word enlightens every man coming into the world.
It's the presence of Christ, the image of God.
In every human being, a little seed, as it were, a capacity, which is there to be awakened.
And we have to recognize the presence.
It's not so much to bring Christ to the world as to recognize the presence.
It's hidden.
People don't recognize it.
And many Christians don't recognize it, the hidden presence.
And I feel our calling is precisely to awaken people to that hidden presence in their lives.
And it is present to everybody, but they don't notice it, they don't realize it.
And to preach the Gospel is to enable people to realize that Christ is in them, and they are in Him.
And that this world is not just this outer world in which they live, which they think often is everything,
Nor is it simply the human world in which they suffer and also which they love and enjoy to some extent, but it has a deeper meaning.
There is a presence of eternal life of the God himself, hidden under all this outer world.
In the human world, there is a hidden presence of God.
That really is the message of the Gospel.
And that presence, of course, is a presence of love.
It's a presence which opens the heart and reveals real deep meaning in life.
So I think we're all called to share this gospel.
As I say, it isn't so much preaching, going out and saying, Jesus is the Son of God.
It can mean nothing to people very often.
It's just words.
But it is to reveal the presence.
And you're going to reveal the presence when you experience it.
We experience something, the love of God, in our lives.
When we begin to share that with others, then we're preaching the gospel.
Then we're spreading the good news.
So we all have to ask how each in his own way, in his own limited circle, can preach the gospel, make known the love of God to the world.
That is our calling today, coming in.
This test is rather famous, it's the one that
and he had a voice saying, take weed, take weed.
He took out a new testament and read this, and that was the moment of his conversion, put on the Lord Jesus Christ and the provision of the flesh to gratify its desires.
So he says, first of all, you know what hour it is, how it's full time for you to wake from sleep, for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
And this is the expectation of the second coming of Christ, which was very strong in the early church.
And Jesus certainly left his disciples with that expectation that he could come at any time.
He said, no one knows the hour of the day, but it was imminent.
And I think we're all intended to live in that expectation, the Lord may come at any time.
Today, with the threat of a nuclear holocaust, we're already faced with that possibility, even probability.
So we're much more, in a sense, more realistic today.
Realize the world can end at any moment.
And in any case, for everyone, the world ends, in one sense, at the moment of death.
And we're supposed to live in that context, live from day to day, and to realize that the kingdom of God is at hand, as Jesus says, all the time.
So that's his meaning here.
Salvation is there and when we first believe.
The night is far gone, the day is at hand.
That is his view, you see, that in a sense this world is night.
And in the Bhagavad Gita it says, for the unwise, how does he put it, for the wise man the day is as the night.
That is the wise man realizes this world, our pleasant mode of consciousness is passing away
And we're always waiting to enter into that other mode, which is the real day.
And what we're living is the night, is the darkness, is what we call maya.
In a sense, it's an illusion.
We're living in a world of change and becoming, which has no ultimate reality.
We have to see beyond it, to the unchanging, the infinite reality, which is always there.
Behind all the flux of change is the one reality, and that is the Kingdom of God, which is always present.
So, that is the day which we're waiting for.
So cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Because that's a common symbol in all religion.
Darkness is the shadow of sin and light is the truth, the reality.
We're always being drawn into that light and we're always being pulled back into the darkness.
That is the whole conflict of life.
Let us conduct ourselves becoming as in the day
And this is what St.
Augustine read, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery, licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy.
And of course, those things go on all the time.
We know that today it's becoming more and more problematic.
Tremendous growth of alcoholism.
It's a terrible problem, as you know, for a vast number of people.
And it's not only the West.
In Russia, it's always been a tremendous problem.
It still is today.
And it's always a sign of frustration.
People drink because they're frustrated.
They can't find satisfaction in their life.
They want to get some peace, get out of it in some way.
And then we have the drug problem today, which you know is spreading everywhere.
Here in India, it's becoming more and more, especially in the big cities, Bombay and Delhi and Madras, and also in colleges and still in schools even.
This is what is happening all around us all the time, and this leads to quarrelling and jealousy.
Every day in the paper we see some terrible... In today's paper there was a woman and her children, their house was burnt down and the husband had disappeared, and there was kerosene being poured.
Jesus killed his family, as far as one can see.
And that sort of thing is happening, and quarrels in the villages and people killing one another.
And then we have these terrorists in Punjab going around killing people every day.
So these are the effects of this living in the darkness.
People are shut up in their own passions, desires and fears.
And that's what St.
Paul said, make no prison for the flesh to gratify its desires.
And the flesh, he doesn't mean the body, you know, it's a mistaken idea.
The body is holy and the desire of the body
He said, what is there just or holy good and holy sex desire is a holy thing, and so on.
But he means, he explains it in one letter where he says, the works of the flesh are these drunkenness, licentiousness, immoralities, and so on, you see.
So, it's a little important that, because, as I mentioned today, this afternoon,
a strong ascetic movement in Christianity which really condemned the body and its desires, its natural desires.
And that is mistaken.
The cells of the flesh are the body subject to passion and not in control.
And so that is what St.
Paul is saying.
I think the key thing really is detachment.
The great teaching of the Bhagavad Gita is not to suppress your feelings or desires and so on, but to learn detachment so that you can experience them and can share our feelings and so on, but you're not attached, you're not held by them, bound by them.
And you're a slave, you see, it's that inner freedom.
And it's really ultimately freedom from one's ego.
in the control of behavior, then you're subject to all these passions and desires.
When you have that inner control and inner self, then all these things become subject to the uncontrolled.
So this is very, very relevant, how to get out of the present human state of quarreling and violence and treachery and all these tragedies around, and to experience the inner light, the inner truth, the inner self, and to be free.
freedom which makes us open to God.
The miracle of Jesus takes place in this Jerusalem temple there, and there are said to be five porticoes there at the sheep gate, which has five porticoes, means there are a multitude.
St.
John always likes to have a symbolic meaning for what happens.
It's probable there was such a rule that five foot occurs, but for him it suggests five books of the law may seem a little more fetched.
I think it's quite probable that this man was living under the law and was waiting for this healing and it will come to him.
There was this water which the spirit moved the water
And we read in Ezekiel about that water which flowed forth from the temple.
And no doubt in Israel there was this healing power was there, but it was uncertain.
It came from time to time.
And this man remained there all these years.
And again, 38 years was the years of the Israelites were wandering in the desert before they reached the promised land.
So again, it's a symbol of imperfection.
But the law was imperfect and it couldn't bring the final salvation.
And Jesus came to bring this final salvation, this healing of body and soul.
And it's very interesting that the end, he says, go and sin no more.
Man was just sick, but Jesus says, go and sin no more.
And again, it reminds us that this healing of body and soul
always interrelated.
You can't separate them.
The big mistake we've made is thinking that illness is a physical phenomenon simply, and that it has nothing to do with soul or with sin.
But they're always interrelated, and we're all involved in the same way, both body and soul affecting one another.
And it's because there's imperfection in the soul that the body suffers.
And equally, of course, because the body suffers, the soul also suffers.
So it's interrelated always.
And I think we all have to learn to see the body-soul as this intimate relationship.
We're always one acting on the other.
And we can't separate one from the other.
And when we're ill, it's always a sign there's something wrong in us.
Maybe something quite small, it may be something