Daily Prayers

Prayer is Love, I want to Love

Understanding Scripture

Dear People, I am home with you again and very happy. I have been given wonderful care and kindness, received wonderful messages from many of you and I am so grateful. It seems that God wants me to stay with you for a longer period and how grateful I am that you want me to and that I can.

I returned home from hospital late on Tuesday evening and on the following day Pope Francis opened the General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, a moment in history for our Church reminiscent of the coming together at Vatican II in 1962. There is so much participants need to discuss and we pray that those involved are guided by the Holy Spirit to find solutions together to build a Church that reflects the challenges of the world in which we live.

So much is going on in our wonderful but suffering world and I want us together to all hear God’s beautiful call to love one another and in that love to make a new world together. Scripture holds many answers, but interpreting and sharing the message they offer needs guidance and I thought that in my letter today I could offer new ways at looking at familiar passages in the Gospel. God has given me so much through many good people and I want to share as much as I can with you. I select some biblical moments to show you a new way of understanding and I hope you will enjoy the challenge.

  1. Mary did not visit Elizabeth. Such a visit would have meant a five or six day walk along Roman soldier patrolled roads and bandit-controlled hill country. Joseph and Mary’s family would not have allowed such a dangerous journey. It did not happen. The Visitation is gospel, not history.
  2. Mary’s sister, Salome, was married to Zebedee. Their sons, James and John, were Jesus’ first cousins and their fishing business partners were Simon and Andrew. Those four were the first disciples Jesus invited when he began his ministry in his mid-thirties.
  3. Mary, Salome, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene were at the cross when Jesus was dying.
  4. Jesus’ body was wrapped in a shroud late on the Friday afternoon (Matthew, Mark, Luke). Joseph, Nicodemus, Mary and John gave Jesus’ body full burial rites on Saturday evening, at the end of the sabbath. The undisturbed cloths (othnia) and headband (sudarium) are in John’s gospel on the Sunday morning. “He saw and he believed” (20.8). The excellent Collegeville Liturgical Press resolved that question in the 1970’s. The othnia and sudarium had not been unwrapped. There had been resurrection and John knew.
  5. Mary Magdalene was not the apostle to the apostles. John was. Three texts in John’s gospel make that clear.
  6. The first three chapters of the Bible are about man and woman, a universal story. Eve and Adam appear later in a family story (Cain, Abel, Seth). Sin is personal, not inherited. A sin of Adam and Eve does not exist. Sin is personal. We all commit our own original sin.
  7. Pope St Damasus (feast day 11th December) was a murderous thug, part of a papal control of the Church since the 4th century. The suffering Mystical Body of Christ is witness to that control by powerful families and their private mercenary armies.
  8. The papal states should belong to Italy, not to the Papacy or Church, whose claims are based on the fraudulent ‘Donation of Constantine’ written in the mid-8th century. A brave Antonio Rosmini told Pius IX as the separate Italian states moved towards a longed-for unity. Rosmini suffered what those who speak truth to power suffer, condemnation.

We pray together in God’s blessing of “love one another”, making the world new.

God blesses us,

Fr John

(8th October 2023)

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