- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

April 27, 2017

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO [1]

Thursday 2nd Week of Easter

The gospel passage is part of the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus conducted at night. The Church puts it before us during this season of resurrection light. So that what was obscure then is now clear with in the light of the resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is the Spirit Master. The Father does not ration the Spirit when it comes to Jesus. So Jesus speaks the words of God. And if we are to hear the words of God then we too must be spiritual persons. Only if we believe Jesus can the gates of perception be opened to us. St Paul says’ this God has revealed to us through the Spirit’ To the natural man, it all appears foolish mumbo jumbo but St Paul says that there are words taught by the Spirit and Paul very boldly is telling us that he speaks those words and these words describe spiritual realities in spiritual terms. So that the words gives us are icons. To the natural man they are opaque and burdensome but to the spiritual person, there is a penetration through the letter and the appearances to spiritual realities. The Spirit who inspires the exterior word, inspires us from within so that the exterior word becomes the personalized  interior word.

St Bernard in his very first sermon on the Song of Songs will again make the bold claim that he too, like St Paul, teaches spiritual things spiritually. And he expects his monks to understand spiritually too because they have lived and worked with the word for long. He says quoting Paul, “We have a wisdom to offer those who have reached maturity,” in whose company, I feel assured, you are to be found, unless in vain have you prolonged your study of divine teaching, mortified your senses, and meditated day and night on God’s law. Be ready then to feed on bread rather than milk.’

How can we feed o bread like adults instead of milk like children? We are called to be true hearers of the word believing they are the words of God. Only then can the gates of spiritual perception be opened to us. Jesus says Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.