The Gospel of John makes it clear there is a difference between the knowledge that Jesus possesses and that which John the Baptizer has. John’s knowledge is grounded on the earth. Jesus’ knowledge has its source in the Divine. Jesus witnesses to the Truth of God and God witnesses to Jesus. Jesus message that God is Truth, is the very heart of John’s Gospel. Unless one accepts Jesus as being from God, one will never be able to grasp who Jesus is.
This section on the Gospel of John reminds me of the saying: “We live half by faith and half by axioms!” Here are a few axioms that help me get through the day sometimes.
St. Pope John Paul II use to say that believers have two wings “Faith and Reason.”
Einstein said: “Religion without science is lame. Science without religion is blind!” The theologian Johannes Metz said: “Contemplation without politics is sentimentality. Politics without contemplation is tyranny.”
A few years ago, Edward Clark published a book entitled: “Five Great Catholic Ideas!” These are the five ideas Clark postulates as the “greatest.” 1. God respects our freedom. 2. Sacred Scripture needs to be interpreted with the whole Church. 3. The reign of God begins here on earth. 4. We are saved by our community. and 5. Great ideas develop over time.
Harriett Tubman, the abolitionist, who risked her life to win freedom for her people tells us of the following episode. Once while working in the fields, a team of mules collapsed. The foreman, instructed his men to put two of the field hands in harness and let them continue the plowing of the field. The men were unable to make the plow move. The foreman proceeded to scourge the men. Harriet Tubman stepped forward that the men were not animals. The foreman instructed his men to put the harness on her and to use the whip. She collapsed. The foreman instructed his men to throw her in a ditch and let her die. Those working the field rescued her body and cared for her in her comma for several days. All the time they whispered to her. “Tell what you see.” “Tell us what they say.” Eventually she regained consciousness and her health. When asked about what she saw and what they said she replied. “She saw several sets of hand reaching out to her. And they were saying: “We are more we are spirit.”
Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., is the local superior at Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.