1 Samuel 10-12; John 7

John 7:3-10 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. No one works in secret if he wants to be known publicly. If you do these things, manifest yourself to the world.” For his brothers did not believe in him. So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but the time is always right for you. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I testify to it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, because my time has not yet been fulfilled.” After he had said this, he stayed on in Galilee. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but [as it were] in secret.

Hello dear friends.  Things have been a bit hectic the past ten days: working 60+ hours, family up from Florida for my birthday (the big 6-0, I’m officially an old man now.  It’s OK to sing that Neil Young song to me “Old man look at my life….”  On second thought don’t, I might punch you).  Suffering some spiritual aridity: hard to keep your joy with all the evil rampaging going on, like a couple of demons masquerading as human beings slitting the throat of an elderly French priest as he’s about to say Mass.  But I’ll give it my best shot.  Romping with my grandson this past weekend and holding his 3 month-old brother in my arms – the milk vampire – helped restore me greatly.

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me…”  I was particularly drawn to this passage, because in John 15 Jesus says the world will hate those who love him.  This passage also has caused me considerable angst, making me ask myself the question “Who am I – stupid monkey me – to dare comment on Scripture?”  I am about 60% done with Robert Cardinal Sarah’s God or Nothing – which I highly recommend – and he described the tremendous amount of study that went into his formative years as a cleric in getting a grasp on the Word.  Truthfully, I haven’t studied Greek or Hebrew.  Other than a 3-month seminar of the Gospel of John with Bible Study Fellowship, anything I know about the Bible has been through my own reading and listening.  But I pray every day that the Holy Spirit grants me its gifts, and my scribblings have some measure of resonance, while having the fullness of truth.  But I digress…

Who are Jesus’ “brothers”?  As a Roman Catholic I believe – in accordance to the Magisterium of the Church – that Jesus was an only child.  The explanation is they were male relatives of Jesus, cousins and uncles.  There apparently there are no words in Aramaic for cousins and uncles – every male relative in the clan is a “brother”.  And they did not believe in him, harkening back to when the crowd in Nazareth wanted to throw him off a cliff.  Jesus seems a little duplicitous here telling them he’s not going, but coming later “in secret”.  Apparently the Apostles had already gone ahead to the feast.  Upon reflection it seems reasonable to me that Jesus didn’t want to show up in Jerusalem with a crowd that really didn’t have his back.  Also it is perfectly reasonable that Jesus originally didn’t intend to go to the feast, but changed his mind later.  If you want to make people squirm, openly reflect on the statement “Jesus was fully God and fully man”, especially the “fully man” part.  Being “fully man” might mean that Jesus didn’t have perfect digestion, that there may have been consequences to his indulgence in Mary’s goat cheese and fava bean casserole…see, you are starting to squirm.  At ease men…..and women.  Not going there any further.

GOD’S ANSWER: I give everyone points for trying when they read Scripture with a humble open heart.  The fullness of truth will be completely revealed in due time.


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