Woman, Wedding, Wine

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

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#set-spirituality-of-johns-gospel

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

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They've been praying in here, so it gives you some good vibes, to see the residents here, Saturday evening. Um, let me put part of that figure up again. Let's just tap it for this. And one, two, three, four. Um, this is the mandala figure with the cross in the center. And, uh, we've been working our way down, actually, from the first pole here. I started out just kind of proceeding a little bit. We were trying to talk about this pole and the Jesus we want introduced and conceived. But this is the ultimate mystery of God. And here, it's ourselves encountering this ultimate mystery of God in this new creation, in this new birth, which is the baptismal experience.

[01:02]

We move from this pole, down through here. We're moving from the Father to the Word. Moving from the invisible of God, as it is in the United States, to the visible of God. And the God who is seen and touched and heard. And that Jesus, of course, coming to the world as his own being. And, uh, this evening, I'd like to stay on this axis, on the horizontal line between this pole of the Word and the pole of the Spirit. But conceive, especially in the heat of human sexuality, which is masculine and feminine. Talking about the two in those terms. We've already started to do that. And, of course, I have to introduce a caution here. Because when we talk about this, we're using masculine and feminine in a symbolic way. Somewhat independent of gender. Because all of this is inside of each of us. And whenever we talk about masculine and feminine characteristics, some people get enraged. Because they point out that, well, this is just as much in my husband as it is in me, and vice versa, and so on. It doesn't seem to relate. There's two levels. There's a level of gender.

[02:05]

And then there's a level of symbolism, in which we use masculine and feminine. In which it's very significant. Especially in the Bible. Because as I mentioned this afternoon, it exists, male and female, is the fundamental language. Almost like a computer language. A computer digitally has two possibilities. Almost the fundamental language of the Bible. Written into the things of the Bible. And written into the drama and the characters of the Bible. Rather than explicitly in words. As we see in the Song of Songs, but also we see in the Book of Genesis. And then we see in the New Testament, especially in the Gospel of John. Which you can call the Song of Songs of the New Testament. And which itself talks about a new genesis, a new creation. So these are fundamental categories in Scripture. Now, I didn't talk very much about Jesus as the wisdom of God. Because we didn't have time to cut off on other things. I should have said more about it to kind of flesh out that whole. It's in John's prologue.

[03:06]

And if you reflect on Jesus as the Word of God, it sort of begins to catch you after a while. The Fathers of the Church were just in love with that notion of Jesus as the Word of God. Some of you know a book, I'm sure, by Pelican entitled, what's it called, Jesus Through History. It's about different images of Christ. And it's got one on Jesus as the Logos, one chapter in there, which pretty well expresses it. That's a good book, by the way, for getting all of the different aspects of Christ one at a time as they come out through history. It's Jaroslav Pelican, Jesus Through the Centuries, et cetera. It's got an icon of Jesus on the front, the David Rack edition. Oh, while I'm at it, I should recommend another book, since they've got some on this tour. That's this little commentary by Brown. This is another kind of commentary from what we're doing. In other words, it's historical critical. But, you know, Brown has written these immense volumes on the Gospel of John Raymond Brown. Back in the 60s, two great big ones on the Gospel of John, and then another one that thick on the Letters of John.

[04:14]

You know, the Letters of John fill up about how many pages? Less than ten pages, and he's got, I don't know, 600 pages of commentary. An amazing amount of work, you know, to pull everything together. And this has got the Gospel in it, too. It's the New American Bible version. But it's a good condensation of his thought, both on the Gospel and on the Letters of John. In a compact way. After his thought has matured, I mean, this is a simple version of the text without going into all the footnotes and complexities. Also, it has marginal references which are useful in his commentary. Okay. As far as translations are concerned, I've always liked the Revised Standard Version, because it's closer to the revision, it's closer to the Greek. So I've been using the New Revised Standard lately, but it's not quite as faithful. It has inclusive language, which is the advantage. The disadvantage is it strays from the original a little more. Also, where the inclusive issue is not involved.

[05:17]

We talked about the Gospel of John as being a wisdom gospel, and related that to that wisdom tradition in Christianity. The patristic tradition in Christianity surprises you in that way, because they're so obsessed with wisdom. They so easily interpret Jesus as being the wisdom of God. And that's something new for us. We don't expect that. Partly we come from a more rationalized theology, but partly also we come from a devotional angle. We come from a point of view of sentiment, where we relate to Jesus with the heart, and especially the crucified Jesus, but not anymore with the mind. The mind has sort of run into a detail at a certain point, it doesn't go any further. But for the Fathers, the mind didn't really stop, because they believed in a contemplative intellect, a contemplative knowledge, which is really able to enter into the mystery. And they believed in different levels of knowledge. If we were going to talk about different levels of knowledge, kind of spectrum of knowledge, you know, and well, the spectrum of consciousness may be related to it,

[06:22]

you can divide a simple spectrum of knowledge, even in terms of these four codes. First of all, you've got straight, factual sense knowledge, which you see before your eyes. And we could put that down at the bottom, where material realities are. Then you've got a very logical, rational, scientific, analytical type of knowledge, of which we're very familiar. It's almost dominant, I think. Even if we don't all think that way, and we don't think that way much of the time yet, we're intimidated enough by that way of thinking so that we give it final credit. It's the experts who know, you know. If you're in doubt about something, ask the experts, go to the professors, and the scientists especially, and they'll tell you. They may not know beans, but they'll tell you anyway. And we believe in expertise, we believe in knowledge. Of course, that's good, because it's a lot better than groping in the dark. But there are limitations also to that level of knowledge. Here we've got just sense knowledge, let's say, or historical knowledge. This would be the first sense of scripture for the Father,

[07:25]

the literal sense or historical sense of scripture. Then you've got plain rational knowledge. Then you've got another kind over here. This is a very masculine way of knowing, a very head-level way of knowing. You've got something over here, which you can call partly intuitive, partly symbolic, feeling-related knowledge, heart knowledge, whatever you want to call it. But it deals with concrete realities, rather than with abstractions. And it doesn't move in a straight line of logic, but a line of resonance, of relationship. It's relational knowledge, and it's concrete knowledge. And it moves through the concrete to something deeper, which remains sort of undefined, sort of a certain-yet-not-defined, in the way that other knowledge is defined, with words, concepts, even numbers, even quantitative formulas. Now that's a poetic kind of knowledge, a symbolic kind of knowledge. Now we're getting more into John's territory, because that's what he's dealing with. It's still multiple, in a way, but you have intuitions of unity

[08:27]

and the relationships of these things. Just as you do in poetry. This is poetic metaphor. A poem, by relating two things in a sudden way, gives you a flash of the unity of all things at the bottom, at the base, in the logos, as it were, in the Word of God, which is exciting. That's why the School of Poetry comes from that. Those are three ways of knowing, and then here's a fourth. Now what's that fourth one going to be? That fourth way of knowing is like the root of all of our knowing, right down in the center of our being, in which we already, in some way, know God, in which we already know the infinite. Karl Lahner is very good at it, the way he talks about knowledge and the various ways of knowing. And the fact that already we move toward God, and already we know God, we know the infinite, we know the absoluteness in the center of our being, as clouded as that may be, and stained as it may be, the deductions we draw from it. We have a kind of absolute knowledge, which some people, some poets, for instance, will write about it. The contemplative experience is that kind of unitive knowledge.

[09:29]

The pure knowledge, without content, in a sense, just like there's a pure vision which is light and nothing else, light with no figure, truth without any content. Most of us have had experiences like that at one time or another. You know, and you may not even know what you know that you know. Just like you know the light without being able to see what it does. Okay, all of those four kinds of knowledge belong to us, and a wisdom theology would be able to operate with all four of them. Our theology has been very much intimidated by the visible, the positive, the empirical, in the last couple of hundred years. So biblical scholarship tends to be very much intimidated by historical scholarship, and very hesitant to go beyond the literal level, to go beyond the facts of the life of Jesus, and beyond the literal sense of the word of the Gospel, for instance. They don't fool around with symbolic meanings. But suppose that the author has written it as a symbolic text, then they're in trouble, because we can't get to what he really is talking about.

[10:32]

The logical, rational method goes along with this pretty much, because it's able to go beyond it, insofar as it works from premises of faith. But where it really begins to move, where it really begins to fly, where the music turns on, is when you get to that third way of knowing, that symbolic way of knowing, and that's what we're picking up in John. You look at the wedding feast of Canaan, and it takes you right past your head, right down into your heart, and right close to the center of your being. And when that happens, actually, you're getting in touch, not only with the structures of thought, not only with the truth, but with the very movement of the Scripture. You're getting in touch with something that's alive inside the Word, with that fire, that energy, that life itself that's in the Word. It's not only thought anymore, but it's also energy. And it's beginning to move you closer to that unitive point of the thought. So we're somewhere in the middle of all that. It's like we're this figure, it's like we're this tree, this cross at the center, which has a vocation to pull all this together in ourselves,

[11:34]

to pull God and the creation together in ourselves, and to pull those disparate elements of the creation, just like Gentile and Jew, or masculine and feminine. We're supposed to pull it all together in ourselves, somehow. The human heart is situated there. And the pudding, you know, oversimply includes it. But our problem is actually to get back to a full spectrum, a full range, a full scale of knowledge like that. And unless we do that in some way, we can't understand what the Bible is talking about. Because the revelation of the New Testament is the explosion of this logos, this Word, this thought, this mind of God into the world, which fills all of those categories, fills all of those dimensions. It's an explosion which moves out in all four senses, as it were. And if we want to get anything of the vibrations of that, we need to move in all of those directions. And I don't mean to belittle these two. They're absolutely necessary. It's only that we've lost too much of the other pair. We've lost, what would you say, the north and the east over there too much.

[12:37]

Although notice that there's a problem in using the four directions. Because as soon as we say north and east, if anything's going to be east, that has to be east. The unified poles represent the east. So our compass can sort of get its wires crossed. You'll notice there's a certain analogy between this and the Jungian picture of the four faculties. Thinking, over on the left. Feeling, over on the right. Sense, down at the bottom. And intuition at the top. We've specified intuition a little more by calling it a kind of root knowledge, which is limited, basically contemplative knowledge. And also that symbolic knowledge, of course, is intuitive. Intuitive, not purely rational. Okay, I've talked about these things kind of crudely, because I'm trying to give you a simple picture, which is a kind of working model that we can build.

[13:39]

I didn't say much about the whole seven days of creation that develop in this Mandala picture. That is, those seven circles that start out from the center and move to the periphery. And we simply don't have time to handle that. Remember that the first chapter of Genesis is where you find the seven days of creation in the Old Testament. The first day is the creation of the light and the separation of light from the darkness. The second day is the creation of the heaven, of the firmament, that strange being, whatever it is. It separates the waters from the waters. Nowadays they often translate that to the sky. The third day is the creation of the earth, the separation of the earth from the waters, and then the growing things start to be created. The fourth day, strangely, is the setting out of the heavenly bodies in the sky, setting out the sun and the moon and the stars in the sky. That's where the light already exists. I had a lot of trouble with that because I was trying to explain where the light was coming from and so on, and how the planets fit into that theme when the light was already there.

[14:43]

Because they were supposed to be the sun and the moon, or the lights of the luminaries of the sky. That's the way Genesis says it. The fifth day is the beginning of the creation of animal life, the fish and the birds. And then the land animals move into the sixth day. But the sixth day is the creation of man and woman, the creation of humanity. And the image of that. And the seventh day is God's rest. He didn't do any more work. He just rested. And that's the origin of the Sabbath of the Jews, and it's a marvelous mystical notion, the notion of the Sabbath of God's rest. So these seven days are expressed by John in his own way. He doesn't just imitate what Genesis says. And sometimes, as a matter of fact, this is where the system sort of worries you. Sometimes you wonder if it's going to hold up. But it begins to sag, and then it comes back again. That is, some days are weak and some are strong. The first day is magnificent. The second day, you have a little trouble relating the creation of the sky,

[15:45]

the creation of the heaven, to what's happening in John. In John chapter 6, that's the bread of life. But when Jesus says, I'm the bread from heaven, I've come down from heaven, he says it again and again and again. You realize that what's happening there is that heaven is being brought down to earth. And heaven is not just heaven, but heaven is God at that point. So the divine is being brought down to earth. The creation of the earth in the third day, it turns out that what it's about, actually, is gradually the emergence of the glory of Jesus. The glory of Jesus. But also, his glory somehow filling out into the world, filling the earth. And there's a quote from Isaiah, as a reference to Isaiah at the end, which recalls a phase of Isaiah. Remember the vision of Isaiah when he saw the Lord in the temple on his throne? The whole earth is full of your glory. That's the third day of his life. So the second and third day is reverse Genesis, because instead of the heaven being planted up there, the heaven is brought down, as Jesus becomes the bread of life, and the tree of life. And instead of the earth being created down here, the earth is raised up,

[16:49]

as the earth is full of your glory. The fourth day, the setting out of the sun and the stars, seems a tough one, until you read the Fathers. And the Fathers, like, immediately, instinctively, interpret the heavenly bodies as, for instance, the apostles. The sun and the moon as, for instance, the church. And then the apostles and the saints and so on. So the fourth day of creation for John, is where what is in Jesus is communicated to other human beings. So that they become his ministers, they become his apostles, they become his teachers, or whatever you want to call it. And this culminates in the supper, remember? The supper at which he really makes them what he is. He ordains them. In the old days, they always used to talk about the institution of the priesthood, at the last supper. Well, that's one way of saying it. There's such a supper, this transfer of ministry, the transfer of the fullness within Jesus to his disciples is signified.

[17:51]

The fifth day is not difficult, because the fifth day is the creation of life. And what we find on the fifth day is questions of life and death. First, Jesus in the temple. He cleanses the temple, remember? And they say, well, remember the temple was almost a slaughterhouse in Jerusalem. It was a place of animal sacrifice. It was a kind of execution place for thousands and thousands and thousands of animals. And Jesus throws the animals out of there. He throws the tailbone out so that he could save them, the merchants out of the temple. That mixture of commerce and worship he didn't want to end. But also, with that grip of cord, he drives out the animals. The time of animal sacrifice is over. And they say, well, who gave you the authority to do this? He says, destroy this temple, and in three days I'll build it up again. And John tells us what he's referring to is his body. So he's in the temple, which is a temple not of death, but of life. At the end of the fifth day in John, which he has, actually, is the passing of Jesus.

[18:53]

And the other two episodes are bringing him to life. They're bringing him to life of the royal official setting, and they're bringing him back to life of Lazarus. So the fifth day is all about life and death. And life being brought to humanity through the death of Jesus. The sixth day is no problem at all, because it consists of these four episodes in which Jesus relates to a woman. So there you have, as it were, the fullness of humanity symbolized in the fullness of male and female. And also the joy and the fullness that's symbolized by marriage, by a wedding, and by the banquet of the wedding. The seventh day goes beyond images. The seventh day is somehow the pure experience of God going even beyond the sexual image of the sixth day, the fullness of image. And this is the point in which it moves beyond the symbolic fullness of Genesis, you know, the Song of Songs. And simply is the fullness poured into everybody, breathed into everybody. And the cycle starts all over again. As Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into these human beings,

[19:59]

and Adam is born all over again, and the whole thing starts all over again. It's the end of the second creation, as it were, symbolized in John. The Sabbath, the rest of God there, is now where? In the human body. The rest, the Sabbath of God, is now within the human person. Both temple and Sabbath. And that which is covert and full, the body of Christ, which is human beings, which is the rest of us. Okay, that's an unfairly quick run through of the seven days, but I need to say something about them, not just to leave them all in the dark. All of that is in the figure there, but it's not easy to dig it out. I want to say a little about the second day today. We talked about the first day, the day of the creation of light and darkness. The second day, in John, is all concerned with this bread of life that consists of two episodes. On your diagram there, it's episode two and episode three.

[21:06]

In the first one, the first part of chapter six, Jesus multiplies the bread. Then he crosses the lake, in the order of the narrative. That was our first day. And on the other side, he gives this long discourse, the so-called bread of life discourse. And this all relates to the bread, of course, to the multiplication of the bread and fish on the other side. So, on one side you have a sign, as if that sign were the work of the Spirit, over here, and corresponding to, because we're moving in this direction, remember, we're moving across this way, as if it were the sign, the work of the Spirit, corresponding to the needs of the flesh. Remember, the will of the flesh, this over here, and the Torah, and 1 13. And over here, this is the side of the word. And so what you have is the word of Jesus, explaining this bread of life. Now, when he explains the bread of life, there's been a lot of confusion, a lot of arguments among the interpreters about what he means. For heaven's sake, what does he mean?

[22:14]

And, basically, there's been two positions. The first is that he's talking about faith, and the second is that he's talking about the Eucharist. So, when Jesus says, I am the bread from heaven, I am the bread of life, if you eat this bread, you'll live forever. Does he mean himself as Eucharist, or does he mean himself as word, as revelation of God? That's the argument. Now, you can imagine how that would also go across confessional lines, for instance, between Catholics and Protestants. Catholics strongly insisting on the Eucharistic interpretation, often, and Protestants wanting to interpret it in the sense of the word. But, actually, it seems to be both. And it starts out with one, and moves into the other. So, the first part of the discourse, Jesus seems to be identifying himself as the bread of life, as the revelation, as it were, of God. As the food of God, which is the knowledge of God. So, it's his word, but it's also his person, himself as a whole,

[23:19]

just as the Eucharist is. Then, at verse 51, it changes things. He says, I am the living bread that came down from heaven, whoever eats of this bread will live forever. Now, he said not so that before, but now he says, the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. Okay? At that point, it seems to turn over into the Eucharistic meaning. And then he goes on. And that's the point at which, say, you start murmuring. How can he give us his flesh to eat? That's the point at which it just gets too heavy for him. So, he repeats. He says, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. He is supposed to eat my flesh and make my blood. That's what he says. He repeats those words over and over again, hardening the hard words further. So, the first part is about Jesus as wisdom, and the second part is about Jesus as Eucharistic bread and wine. And what's the connection between those two? Is there a meaningful progression, a meaningful relation between those two?

[24:21]

If you think about it, it's a good little subject to think about. It seems to me that that's the same progression between revelation, something out in front of you, as it were, and something that you know, and something that is one with yourself in a fuller way. Something that indwells you, something that inhabits you. It's a subtle thing in a way, but it's another incarnation, okay? It's the Word, and then the Word becomes flesh. But the Word becomes flesh in us, Eucharistically speaking. But there the wisdom is directly in continuity with this wisdom of God, so that it begins to interpret the meaning of the Eucharist for you in terms of wisdom. But the Eucharist is the wisdom of God, which has somehow become humanity itself. It's becoming, it's taking on humanity itself. It's another incarnation, in which the wisdom of God, first of all is recognized, like in the liturgy of the Word, and then somehow unites with you, some kind of unitous act. There's another kind of sexual metaphor here.

[25:23]

It's almost as if the Eucharist is the repeated marital act of this one flesh, which is the body of Christ. Remember that language in Genesis, when Adam and Eve were created, and man shall leave his mother and father, and join himself to his wife, and they shall be one flesh. That's what happens in the Eucharist. The flesh is one flesh. That which unites us is flesh, is the flesh of Jesus. So, there's this movement from word to word, not flesh. And as a nuptial, there's a sexual connotation, a sexual reference here. Now let's go to the Supper. We're leaping over great masses of text here, but let's look at the last Supper, which is essential text. Especially if we're going to talk about the Eucharist, because after all, in the other Gospels, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke,

[26:25]

the Supper is where Jesus institutes the Eucharist. And then there's this strange, baffling paradox in Galilee. He doesn't even talk about the Eucharist. He hasn't got the words of institution of the Eucharist, and he doesn't say a word about it, the Supper. He gives you a whole bunch of other things. Starts out with a washing of the feet. Now, what is the meaning of that? Goodness. He gives you the Supper, a fuller Supper account than anybody else, probably ten times longer than the other Gospels, but he doesn't say a word about the Eucharist, explicitly. There's a key to the way that John is working here, okay? He's the subtle one. And he's the one who denies you the obvious so that you will find the subtle. He denies you the exterior so that you'll be forced to go to the interior. Okay? And what he does is, the other Gospels, no doubt, the other Gospel tradition was already known. The tradition of the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist was already known. So, John exactly blacks that out, like with masking tape, and then gives you the inside of it in another language without a word. He's almost like a modern poet, okay, who relates you to interiority and to mystery by means of obscurity,

[27:30]

by means of blocking out something, blackening out the obvious to make you go towards the subtle, to make you penetrate the surface and go inside. That's what he's doing. In the Last Supper episode, the long Last Supper account of John goes, how many chapters? Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, five chapters. Now, there's kind of a fascinating structure to that Last Supper account. And we have to do this in a hurry, but you'll be happy to know that it turns into another two episodes. Happily, it does split into five sections, which roughly correspond to the five chapters in John. So, if you go through that, go ahead. You start out with Chapter 13. What happens in Chapter 13 of John's Supper account? Immediately, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, okay?

[28:33]

He bends down, pours out water, and goes around and washes their feet. This is a ceremony that we repeat on Holy Thursday. So, there's this movement of abasement, which is also a baptismal recollection. When he washes their feet, whenever you find something like that in John, it brings us back to baptism. It's so important to him. So, he's not going to say anything about the Eucharist without bringing in baptism again. For some reason, baptism and the Eucharist are locked together in John. And whatever you find one, you can expect to find the other. Just like Christian initiation in the beginning was integral in that way, the baptism and the Eucharist. Of course, you see the Eucharist after baptism all the time, but in the beginning, baptism and the Eucharist are together. You see them together. Somehow they're made, and somehow they go together. Now, at the end of the Supper, what happens? Jesus turns to the Father, and we can imagine him raising his eyes or raising his arms in praise to the Father, right? So, the movement is completely upward. That's chapter 17.

[29:35]

It's real. This is Christian. Now, in the middle, the central chapter of the Supper account is 15. And what's the great image of chapter 15? It's divine, right? Divine, which is the tree once again. There's a tree in a new form. Now, that tree is precisely what you've got here. In other words, the tree is the figure itself, but the tree has transformed itself somehow into divine. It's beginning to move over into something else, and we'll talk about that. Then you've got chapters 14 and 16. In 14, there's one dominant image in each of these, okay? And in 14, the dominant image is the Father's house. Remember where he says, I'm going away, I'll prepare a place for you. And there are many rooms, many mansions in my Father's house. That's the Father's house, and that's the image that begins the discourse after the washing of the feet and after Judas is sent away.

[30:37]

You have the two actions at first. Judas washes his feet, and he sends Judas out to do his business. Now, then you have the bind and the New Commandment, and so on. New Commandment folks are over here. They've got the bind and the view of the branches and so on. Over here, you've got the final image before Judas begins to pray, which is the image of a woman who is about to give birth to a child. So here you've got the Father, and here you've got this Mother. Here you've got, once again, the male, the masculine. Here you've got the feminine. But the feminine is pregnant here. But if you notice, the Father is pregnant over here, because he's talking about the Father's house. What is the Father's house? The Father's house is not very different from the Father's. The Father and the house are almost one thing. Just as the Mother and the house are almost one thing over here. So, this is the place for the disciples to strive first in masculine terms and then in feminine terms. But we'll see that the terms are mixed anyway. As soon as he starts talking about the Father's house, he starts talking in this feminine language of wisdom.

[31:41]

If you love me, you'll keep my word, and you'll come and we'll grow with you. Now, this is the language. It's not the language of man to man, man to man. So, we have a kind of microcosm of the whole of John's Gospel here at the Supper, in which the movement goes this way. The movement goes from the bottom and from the washing of the feet in the baptismal memorial to the expression of the Father's house. The expression of the new state, the new creation, the new way in which we're going to be in terms of the Father's house. Then the central image of the vine, which is a tree trying to become a river. It's a solid trying to become a liquid. It's water trying to become wine. In other words, that's the meeting point, as it were, between masculine and feminine. Not that John thought all this out. He was instinctive for it in some way. And I'm doing it in a clumsy fashion. He's got a different vision of it. But that vine, if it's centered, is like the tree and the river which have been married.

[32:47]

Do you remember those, that strange river in Paradise that turns into four rivers? It turns into a tree of rivers almost, in Paradise. And then flows out into all the different countries. That has become one with the tree of life at this point. And at the same time, the water has become the wine. The water of baptism has become the wine of Eucharist here at the center. And yet he doesn't tell you this. This is in the images that are suggested there. And meanwhile, Jesus is talking in other terms. He's talking about terms of indwelling. And he's talking about terms of union. And he's talking about terms of... Everything is simplified now at this point to one thing. And that one thing is love. Now notice, this is the first place in the whole of John's Gospel to apologize and remember that he talks about love. So, you've had the word revealing up to this point and giving many evidences of symbolic expressions of love.

[33:48]

But he hasn't talked about it. And all of a sudden he talks about it. It's as if he says at this point, Well, I've wound up everything I have to say. I've told you everything. Now, to put it in one word, it's just love. Almost literally, that's what he says. He says, I've told you everything that I've heard from my father. So I call you no longer servants but friends. The relationship, the vertical relationship is broken now and it's turning into a relationship of communion. This happened before at the washing of the feet. There's a wonderful thing on that called the Holy Thursday Revolutions and I'm not too fond of it too, but Beatrice could tell it. In which she says this. I'm afraid I'm running into a boulder. She says that Jesus does two things at the Last Supper, okay? Talking not just about John but also the early Gospels. First thing is he breaks the old paradigm. Which he calls the domination paradigm. By washing the feet of his disciples. That's what Peter's after, if you can understand it. Because it threatens his whole world. It's a little like what John is talking about today. When he said the kid threatens us.

[34:50]

Well, this threatens you in the same way. To have that whole order of relationship of teacher and disciple, master and servant, and so on, broken down. Where does it lead you? How do you relate to people? And how are you exposed? How can you understand yourself? And Peter, after all, is a symbol of authority in the church, actually. And he's the one who repels it. He says, no, you'll never wash my feet. Because Jesus says, unless I wash your feet, we don't have anything to do with one another. So he says, I'm going to wash my head and my hands and everything. The first thing he does is to break down the old order, the old paradigm, the domination paradigm. The second thing he does is to establish the new one, and the new one is communion. He says the communion paradigm. This is beautiful. It's a marvelous thing. He took a woman theologian, a woman philosopher, He's got an example. He breaks the old thing and he establishes the new one. And the old thing is a very masculine thing, too. It's sort of that order of distinction, of difference, of definition by difference and by superiority and inferiority, rank and order, hierarchy, and so on, and pecking order.

[35:53]

The new thing is relationship by union, relationship by communion. This is the feminine mode, in other words. The mode of Sophia. We've gone from the revelation of God, which is in front of you and which comes from outside of you, like the law. Remember the law which came from outside and told you what to do. What do they call it? Heteronomy, I think. Getting, being ruled by a principle from outside yourself. We're moving from that to relationship by unity, by con-naturality, by sympathy, by empathy. Not only that, but something deeper, which is doing one being, actually. So this is, see, this is an interpretation of the Eucharist without even talking about the Eucharist. He's giving you the Eucharist in other terms, in layer after layer of symbolism and depth and implication and influence. That's a separate thing. And because he's talking about fundamental things, central things, with this deep knowledge of them, which is in the knowledge of the Word,

[36:54]

he talks about some inner symbolism which has no end of depth, which goes right down into the bottom, right down through the earth, as it were, to the core. The symbols go right down to the reality. You don't find any point at which they fall short. Just like you don't find any point at which bread is an inadequate analogy for the Eucharist. Because the one who establishes that symbol of bread is the one by whom the universe is created, and who puts himself into that. There's a continuity between the creator and the creation, and the symbolism that relates those two flows right out of the creator. The symbolism comes from the same place the creation does, so the two are in continuity all the way down. What is it? Turtles all the way down. That's the old picture of the universe. Everything was covered by turtles. The symbols are flowing right out of the same source as the reality. And what is expressed by the symbols, ultimately, is the source of the reality,

[37:55]

which is the Word, which is Jesus. So, here at the Supper, we're having a movement, as it were, from the masculine mode to the feminine mode. That's very interesting. We've got a string of three banquets, in some way, in John. At least, it's the way the Mandala works here. The first one is the anointing by Mary of Bethany of Jesus' feet. This is in the narrative order. Remember when she held down and she poured that fragrance on Jesus' feet, and the fragrance filled the whole house? Just about the next chapter, that's in chapter 12 of John. Chapter 13, Jesus kneels down and does the same thing. He washes the feet of his disciples. He's imitating a woman, if it were. It's just Sophia, just like Athena. Sophia is flowing into his actions, and he's beginning to move his mode over, as it were, from the masculine role of teacher to something else.

[38:57]

So, the breaking of the old paradigm by the gesture of washing the feet is also a movement from masculine to feminine, or a movement into the mode of Sophia. We'll talk, maybe, a little bit about that episode before we quit. Then, afterwards, we're going to run into Athena, because what follows the Passion narrative, actually, in the order of the Mandala, is the way people can. It's the next thing you run into as you move up the scale. The Passion of Jesus, the last episode is the fifth stage in the Mandala. The first episode is the sixth stage. You go back down to the bottom. I forget what number it is. And that's the Wedding Feast of Athena. We could wrestle a little more with that relationship with Baptism and Eucharist and John, but nothing more comes to mind right now,

[39:59]

except this transformation of water into wine, which happens at Cana. And that has more than one meaning, because it's both the movement from the old to the new, from the old creation to the new creation, and it's also the movement from one part of the new creation to another, from Baptism to the Eucharist. So, it's somewhat subtle. Before we go to the sixth day, and we can't spend long on that either, let's take just a quick look at the Crucifixion episode, which is the end of the fifth stage of creation in God. Remember, the fifth stage is the Day of Light, the day in which Jesus disrupted light, and that light was received by other people. This is John, Chapter 19. The Crucifixion episode is very rich in symbolism. And probably you've noticed that when you've heard it. We have the Passion of John read to us on one or another of the Days of Holy Week.

[41:03]

And John's introduced a number of things in there, but John thinks that he observed and others didn't, or things which enrich the symbolism. John 19. So, they took Jesus, and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Sculpture. He's carrying the tree. He's carrying also this figure, which is the center of our whole scheme. And that tree is the Tree of Knowledge, and as it were, the Tree of Life, in its erect form, in its sort of murderous form, almost. But you know, they say now that what Jesus carried was not actually the whole cross, not actually the whole tree, but just the cross part. And if you think about that, it's very rich, actually. He picks up the cross part and affixes it to the vertical pole. I'll just leave that one for you to think about a little bit. But what is it that Jesus carries to the cross, and what happens when that's attached to the vertical pole of the cross? It's as if the figure is constructed in a way, isn't it? It's as if the whole human burden is attached to the worship of God,

[42:11]

and made identical with it. So the two commandments become one. So that to love your brother and sister is to love God. So that the worship of God has become incarnate in human life. That's one way of looking at it, okay? There are many ways. It's very rich. This is one place where historical scholarship contributes a lot, I think, to the depth of our understanding of the Gospel. It doesn't always work that way, but in this case it does. That historical evidence, the discovery, that it's not the whole cross that Jesus carries, but the cross part. It's as if he carries the human burden and affixes it to that pole which is always in the ground. Almost like ancient vertical religion. That's just one way of looking at it. Okay, there's the inscription, and they go. Verse 23.

[43:13]

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. This symbolism, fourfold symbolism, is merciless here. It extends to every point. They also took his tunic. Now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. We have a symbol of unity here, and this tearing at the same time, into the four dimensions, into the four pieces. So they cast lots for that. Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Corpus, and Mary Magdalene. There are three women standing there, all named Mary, at this point, near the cross. And then there's the disciple whom Jesus loved. He's the fourth at the cross. There are four soldiers, and there are four bystanders who were disciples here, standing around the cross. Three of them are women, and the other one is the disciple whom Jesus loved. He's also the witness to this. When he saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her,

[44:15]

he said to his mother, Woman, here is your son. Then he said to the disciple, Here is your mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own home. What is it that's happening here? There seems to be a conceiving or a begetting happening here, maybe, or a coming to birth, something like that. And there's also a union that's happening here, in some way. Remember Jesus said, Athena, woman, what's this got to do with us? My hour has come now. Now his hour has come. This is his hour, Jesus. Then he asks for a drink. He says, I'm thirsty. They give him the drink. And he drinks, and he says, It is finished. And he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Then they come and they pierce his side, and the blood and the water flow out. The blood and the water are interpreted by the Fathers as signifying many things, you know, but particularly the two sacraments of baptism in the Eucharist.

[45:16]

We're used to thinking of seven sacraments in the Catholic Church, but there's two basic sacraments, two sacraments that are really rooted right in the New Testament and other baptism in the Eucharist, and the two somehow are one at their root, at their source, the water and the blood. And there's a deep connection with that, with what happens in the succeeding days, in the sixth day, the wine of Cana and so on. That too is flowing from the side of Jesus. Because it's that transformation of water into wine, which happens at his hour, happens on the cross too. That's where that wine comes from. Okay, now, I'm going to take you to the rock tonight. Take a look at Cana. This is John chapter 2, verses 1 through 12. This is the first episode of the sixth day.

[46:21]

On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Now, that on the third day, there's two things in John's Gospel. First of all, there's a kind of week at the beginning of the narrative of John, the first and second chapters. He'll tell you, on the next day, on the next day, on the next day, on the third day, and then finally, on the third day, that makes seven days. And the first day is the day of John the Baptist, the day that we're at the baptism of Jesus. The seventh day is the day of Cana, the day of the wine, and the day of the water to the day of the wine. Once again, we have a progression from baptism to Eucharist. That's one thing that it means, okay? But the third day means something else, doesn't it? The third day always has a... What kind of meaning is this one? It has a paschal meaning, a pastoral meaning, a Easter meaning. So this is what happens right after the death on the cross, this wedding feast of Cana. According to the scheme of the seven days of creation, this is the sixth day of creation, the beginning of it, which immediately follows the fifth day. The resurrection, John's first expression of the resurrection,

[47:24]

is not the appearance of Jesus, but the wedding feast of Cana, according to this scheme. It may seem far-fetched, but if you stay with it long enough, it may grow on you. The mother of Jesus is there. She's the first one to be mentioned, so it's most important that she's there. Now, why is it so important that she's there? We're in the sixth day, and this is the... The key of this day is man and woman, is the fullness of humanity, and it moves over into a feminine key. If we're talking about man and woman, now we're talking about woman and man, really. It's moved over into this key of femininity. The whole of the sixth day is dominated by the symbol of the feminine, of woman. And also by various liquids that happen. There's the wine, there's the living water of Samaria, the Jesus in Samaria, and there's the fragrance, the ointment that Mary of Bethany pours on his feet. You know, the tears of Magdalene. Woman and some kind of life-related liquid. The wine gave out as a poor wedding eminence,

[48:25]

and the mother of Jesus said to him, they have no wine, they're simple words, just, as it were, put in the reality before. It's as if she's the sensitivity, she's the healer of despair, of what has to happen, and Jesus is the power who makes it happen. Makes it happen out of the weakness of his crucifixion. Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? They've translated that in various ways, but this is close to the original, close to the new. What is that to you and to me? What business is that of ours? My hour has not yet come. Now, this is in chapter two of John, but now his hour has come. See, what's happening here is the fulfillment of what was predicted in the narrative order. If you read it according to this, my double reading, the second reading according to the days of creation, so now his hour has come, and what was predicted in the miracle, in the sign of pain, is actually going to happen. That is, the real wine is going to be made. She said to the servants,

[49:28]

do whatever he tells you. Now, there are six water jars for the purifications of the Jews, as he said here, which is beautiful, you know, because six immediately reminds you of the six days of labor, the six days of creation. Now we've arrived at the seventh day. We're only on the sixth day of labor. What happens? A woman's always the anticipator here in John. A woman always brings things forth before they're supposed to happen, just like the wine of famine. My hour has not come, and yet he does the miracle, or his revelation to the Samaritan woman, which is his driver. But he tells her he's the Messiah before he tells anybody else. These six stone water jars represent the whole Old Testament, for one thing, but they also represent the six days of human life. The stone refers immediately to the law, which is written on tablets of stone. The fathers like to interpret the transformation of the water into wine, from law into wisdom. From the law, which is this external,

[50:30]

this harsh external word carved in stone, to the wisdom, which is the living spirit of God, the living law of God, carved in their heart, or pulsating in their heart, illuminating their heart. From an exterior word to an interior word, from a word which is alien to you, which you carry on your back, sort of, to a word which is living inside of you, which becomes the center, the light of your own life. From exterior to interior, from, as it were, what do you call it, domination to communion or naturalness. It's a new nature, so it's natural to this new creation. So fill the jars with water, and they fill them up to the brim. Then he tells them to draw some out and take it to the steward. And the water turns into wine. John says, Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, when he healed his glory and his disciples believed in him. First things are very important in the Bible. For his first sign, somehow,

[51:32]

expresses the whole of what Jesus is doing. And that's why it fits precisely here at the moment of resurrection, right after the crashing of Jesus. In other words, this is the fruit of the crashing of Jesus, the turning of the water into wine. And you can interpret that water in a hundred ways, a hundred different facets, different aspects, different threads of the transformation that happens in the death and resurrection of Jesus. You can think of it as law and wisdom. You can also think of it as human life. You can think of it as humanity. You can think of it as the first creation and the second creation. You can think of it as human effort and divine grace. You can think of it in many, many ways. But it's this movement from the first to the second. And basically, from the first creation to the second, the law was still part of the first creation, the Jewish law. This is a moment in John, a scene in John, that is well worth cherishing and going over again and again and again. Just going back and looking at it again to see if you see any further glint from that line in the vessel.

[52:33]

Because there's no end of depth to it. The wine is the perfect symbol for expressing what Jesus is doing. And notice the kind of departure from grimness at this moment. You just had this absolutely grim moment at the crucifixion, and now you find something, you're given something a thousand miles away from it, this outburst of joy, which is the wedding, and the water turned into wine, sorrow turned into joy at this point, complete transformation, complete turn around, no continuity between the wine and the wine. You don't hear anything about the bride and the groom, except that the chief steward speaks to the bride and the bridegroom, so usually they save the good wine, they use the good wine up close, and they save the good till then. Save the good till then. The poor wine takes transformation from water to wine, and you've got the poor wine, the old wine, and the new wine, which is terrible. And you can pour out of it as much as you want. It seems that the poor wine always represents at least the

[53:35]

low covenant, the law, that exterior religion has contrast with the interior religion, which becomes your own life, whether or not you're in it. Religion is no longer something different from you. It's your being, it's your life, it's your humanity. Like that fixing of the cross beam to the cross in the crucifixion episode. You don't hear anything about the bride and groom. Who are they? Fathers have a lot of fun with this. Because in the Old Testament, the bridegroom is Yahweh, and the bridegroom is God, and the bride is Israel. So for the fathers, the bridegroom is Jesus, the Word, the Divine Word, and the bride is the Church. But also the bride is the individual soul, and also the bride is Mary, who is somehow wedded to the Divine in a unique way. Mary, the individual soul, and the Church. One of the Cessation writers, Brother Homily, was all three, associating all three

[54:37]

to the bride here at Pentecost. Can we even take a further step? As we've talked about this movement, as it were, of the Divine gift from the revelation, the masculine revelation, as it were, of the Word, which speaks to you from outside and shows its activity from outside, to a revelation which is imminent, which is interior, and which we associate with the feminine, and which, in the Old Testament, is called Sophia. The wisdom that comes inside you and makes you a friend of God and prophets. Is it possible that the bride is also the Divine Sophia, also the Divine Wisdom? Is it possible that the bride, that is, is not only created, is not only the Church, but is the one who comes inside the Church and makes the Church the bride? Is it possible that the created bride is made bride by the uncreated bride? Is it possible that the Church becomes the bride of the Word because the bride of the Word already comes inside the Church,

[55:39]

the bride of the Word being the Spirit, or being Sophia, being the Divine Feminine, which you hardly hear anything about. And this is the historical development, you see, this emergence of the feminine. It's like the secret of history, not only the history of the Church, but the history of humanity. The emergence of the feminine into, as it were, the flowering of humanity, the sixth day of creation, as it were, which is happening in our time. And so now we begin to be able to read John's Gospel also in this way, and to see the feminine not only as being the created, but also as being the consummating, the Divine, that comes into the created and renders it Divine. We begin to interpret the Holy Spirit as being the Divine Femininity. Notice, in the Old Testament, notice the progression from, let's say, the law, the Torah, which comes down from Mount Sinai with thunder and lightning and is carved into stone, carved into granite, okay? And you better believe it, you better do it. And then you get the prophets, who sort of begin to introduce another element,

[56:41]

an element of dualism, and so on. And then you get another state, which is wisdom, and this feminine figure is able to emerge, reconciling, as it were, the Divine revelation of creation once again. The feminine is not the first. The feminine comes somehow close to the end. And the feminine in the Old Testament just proceeds and sets the stage for what? For the New Testament, for the emergence of the child, who comes and visits, for the real birth, the new birth. So first the masculine, first the patriarchal, and then the feminine, and then the birth of the child. Whether you call it the second coming of Jesus, or you call that the flowering of the United, or whatever. Okay, so that seems to be the progression. Now, can you conceive, therefore, even in Christian history, you find the same thing. You find a very harshly dualistic period after the first unitive period, because the first explosion

[57:42]

of the grace of Christ in the New Testament, everything is inside that. Prophecy and wisdom and everything else, and gradually it gets sorted out. And gradually all kinds of strictures and structures get imposed on it, you know, so it gets squeezed into very narrow channels which disturb it. But there's a progression in Christianity so that gradually the feminine dimension is able to emerge. And for the harshness and dualism of a certain first period, you have a tenderness and a unitive kind of knowledge. Now, this is coming out once again, coming out of the Church once again. It's coming out in our understanding, instinctively, in which to be expressed. First the exterior, then the interior. First the masculine, then the feminine. Is it possible that if we even think of God's Word as having a masculine exterior and a feminine interior, that if we think of God's self as having, just picturing God that way,

[58:43]

as having a masculine shell and a feminine core, or maybe the core is a child, I don't know, but masculine outside, feminine inside. See, the point of reading John is to break through the shell and get into the inside, get into, find the communicative and unitive, the sack, the wine that's inside John's Gospel. So you break the vessel in order to get into the Spirit, which is inside, which is this unitive. Now, that's the hardest thing of all to talk about. But suppose that there's this center of God, this pure unitive, knows no alienation, knows no otherness. Suppose there's inside which knows no outside. Suppose that vulnerable substance, whatever it is, is inside God, just to picture it that way. That's this divine feminine I'm trying to talk about. It has to have a vessel around it, because otherwise it has to be contained in some way. It also has to be concealed in some way. It has to be a mystery in some way. And suppose that inside us there's basically the same thing. Suppose we have the same structure. Remember, male and female are created in his own image.

[59:45]

Imagine, male and female. Male and female in image. So suppose we're made the same way. Suppose we have a unitive point at our center, a unitive feminine dimension in us, and that that's where the Divine Institute meets our being and becomes one with it. That's where the wine pours into us, and we're born over again. I think that's what it's about, actually. That point in our heart where our interior feminine is, and that point within the Word, as it were, and within God, if we picture it that way, which is the Divine Feminine, coming together and finding that there are one thing somehow. We don't know outsideness. Neither one of them knows alienation, knows difference, knows outsideness. It takes the masculine, takes this other kind of understanding, this other way of being, no otherness. And so they simply want. So there's the unitive point, I have to think. That's what the wine is about. The wine, the bride, and the wedding are all one thing. They're all one thing. The wine of Cana is also the bride of Cana, and it's also the banquet itself.

[60:47]

It's also the wedding itself. It's the union, and it's the feminine partner of the union. Not the first to appear, but the second to appear. And it's also the wine. It's also that which is poured out. It's the product of the transformation, that which is created. This is important for historical reasons, because we're in a time when it's kind of dawning once again. It's very important that we understand that the emergence of the feminine and so on in our time is not a threat to Christianity. It's a promise, perhaps, of a deeper revelation of Christianity, at least that we can remember for a long, long time. Let's leave it there for tonight, and we'll do our final thing tomorrow morning with that fourth poll, which concerns the child, which, if anything, is harder than all the rest we've been talking about. But we'll see what we can do with that. Okay, thanks very much. Sorry to keep you so long. Thank you.

[61:52]

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