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Sunday, 16 september 2012
(Isa 33:13-16, Phi 2:5-11, Mat 4:18-23)
First a remark: Yes, I changed the translation. I was using the Bible of Jerusalem now it is the New King James Bible. On the one Hand: the "out-fashioned" language appeals to me, even I would be hard pressed to read it aloud, on the other hand: in the last few weeks the English version of the Bible of Jerusalem disappointed me with little incorrect translations. The last "incident" that led me to the change, was that on in the story about the encounter on the way to Emmaus it says "two whole days have now gone by" and the greek text says "it is now the third day since it all happened". Well in the ruleset of translation the simplest rule is: Never change something that is positively written. Grammar might differ or expressions, but in no way three days can become two in an other language... More over this third day is remembered more than once throughout the Bible and in our credo and in hundreds of important texts. Why prefer logic to the written Text? Reading the Bible we are to discover the logic of the Lord not the logic of the translator; although -in this world- the translator is right only two days have past.. but the texts says three, because the resurrection happens when the third day starts. It is true that no translation is faithful.
This and other, much smaller and tolerable little incorrectnesses, have prompted me to try this translation. I take this for an opportunity to ask you for a critical attitude toward such impressing books of 2000 pages. Please check sometimes! Today we have easy access to the texts and many websites and programs offer tools which help to compare the translations. It is for us important to try to come close to the experience of the community that wrote and kept the Sacred Texts. For these texts are, together with the living tradition of prayer of the community of the believers, the door to participate on the events that indicate to the Lord, the last Judgement and to the events of His live. With their indications combined with our Faith we can justify our hope for the Kingdom with our intelligence.
St. Matthew is telling us the event of vocation of the first disciples. This is vocation as we like it: Jesus points at us and we can leave with good conscience.
Alas, it would be nice that would it be always that simple. However normally it is not. Normally it is a fine nudge inside of the heard and often we need somebody to help us to interpret or even to discover this nudge. St. Ignatius de Loyola, who designed his Spiritual Exercises specially for those seeking clearness about their proper vocation knows this very good. Compared to the direct and indisputable divine proposal he sees even great merit for those who face big troubles because the faintness of the evidence of their vocation. These persons, and that are the majority of us, do have to work themselves slowly through the different sympathies and antipathies, advantages and disadvantages of their possible choices. The merit in this is the effort that this person is investing in his research for God who values very much such fatigue. An important side-effect is the obtaining and sharpening of the ability of discernment. Discernment is in fact one of the very important elements of spiritual live.
The Fathers are always asking themselves: is this the way Jesus Christ wants me to walk? St. Ignatius puts the question even more urgent: "What is the best for me to do for preparing the Kingdom of God?" As Jesus Christ did nothing that was not the will of his Father so the spiritual Master Ignatius wants us to follow the example of the Lord. How is this done? First by knowing ourselves. He asks us analyze deeply the proper motivations of our deeds and to find where corruption has caught them. There is mostly some corruption in our choices. And to confess.
This done we might search for our mission of live. For some this might be a radical change of life, but often we might discover that we are already there where we ought to be. However a conversion of intent as putting our activities in the right frame, that of the specific preparation of the Holy Kingdom, will give us a new perspective and new motivation. Through this our example will make us "fishers of men". Important is, I think, that what ever we do we try to give a glimpse of the humbleness of the Lord. For it was the washing of the feets that enabled the disciples, later, to see His godhead.
The battle which is described in the Spiritual Exercises is fought on a field, that is: in normal life. In English "field-experience" means reality-experience and that is exactly what christian vocation is about: the every day choice of Faith, the every day response to the proper vocation, that is rewarded with the "daily bread" of the Lords-prayer and of Isiah: The being in Him.
13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
(Isa 33:13-16 KJV)
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Phi 2:5-11 KJV)
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
(Mat 4:18-23 KJV)
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