Saturday, 3 June 2017

Easter Week 7 Saturday

Readings: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31; Psalm 11; John 21:20-25

The world continues to fill with books about Jesus. As I write this, for example, there are thousands of people around the world reading or even writing new books about Jesus. All aspects of the mystery of Christ are studied, prayed over, and written about: the doctrine He taught as well as the doctrines about Him which the Church later formulated; His spiritual and moral teaching; the parables, miracles and sayings; His passion, death, resurrection, glorification and sending of the Spirit; His grace in the life of Mary and in the thousands of saints whose lives we can read; the writings of preachers, teachers, bishops, monks, nuns, mystics, pilgrims, historians, artists, poets, musicians; the living books which are the individual lives of millions of believers in every century since then, each one a 'fifth gospel'.

The world cannot contain the Word even though it is but one, simple, Word, the Word eternally uttered by the Father, the Word that heals human souls and re-creates them, the Word that breathes Love.

Likewise as I write, there are thousands of people around the world preaching and teaching as we see Paul doing at the end of Acts. Like him, their subject is Christ the Lord, the Kingdom of God which is established in Christ, the fulfillment of the hope of Israel. This writing, reading, preaching and teaching will continue as long as human history lasts.

Long before he arrived in Rome and was able to speak with the Jewish leaders there face to face, Paul had written to the Christians of Rome and concluded his meditation on Christ and the hope of Israel by saying, 'O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways' (Romans 11:33). The gift of the Spirit, however, reveals the depths of God to us so that Paul can elsewhere pray 'that you may have the power to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fulness of God' (Ephesians 3:18-19).

St John of the Cross writes that 'there are depths to be fathomed in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many recesses containing treasures, and no matter how people try to fathom them the end is never reached. Rather, in each recess, people keep on finding here and there new veins of new riches'.

So the year continues to run on, and year succeeds to year, and even the course of a long life is not enough to explore fully the riches of Christ. It is not enough even for reading all the books already written about Him. But we continue to mine those depths, to savour one rich seam after another - in deepening love, in growing wonder, in endless, nay, eternal, joy.

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