A Reflection on the Readings for Saturday of the Eighth Week of Easter
I recently read the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification that was put together by a body of Catholic and Lutheran scholars. It was an enlightening little read about where Catholics and Lutherans can find common ground. This document does not downplay or dismiss real differences, but these theologians found a way to have true dialogue, and that bears fruit.
The theme of dialogue also appears in today’s Gospel as we see Christ attempt to engage the high priests, Pharisees, and others. They had asked Jesus a question about where He gets the authority to do and teach what He does. Jesus, in stride, asked them a return question and offers a trade, an answer for an answer. The Jewish leaders don’t like His question though, because, as I see it, they are too worried about winning the encounter. Jesus, then, doesn’t enter into dialogue with them because in their attempt to win they failed to be true.
This diversion from truth to wining is essential to understanding where Christ gets His authority. His authority derives from the fact that He is the Truth. He has all authority. However, even though Christ is the Truth and possess all truth He chooses to attempt to dialogue with the Jewish leaders. This fact made me stop and ask “Why?” Then it hit me. It is in Christ’s very nature to invite us into dialogue, because He is the Dialogue between God and humanity. The Gospel of John tells us that He is the Word of God – the Logos (ring a bell?). Dialogue derives from dialogos, which comes from Greek, meaning: to converse with. The Incarnate Word is the conversation between God and humanity.
Thus, as Disciples of Christ we are Disciples of the Word. In turn this makes us followers of the dialogue. Doubt it? Look to the Mass. Every Mass is a dialogos. We give bread and wine which God gives back as Jesus Christ, the Word of God, which we then offer back to the Father, and then He is given to all of us gathered. It becomes a most fruitful dialogue as we are made one in the Body of Christ by the Body of Christ.
So if we are disciples of the Dialogue and partakers of the Dialogue, how can we not become instruments of dialogue? Why do we so easily fall into “I’m right and you’re wrong” bickering? I’m not saying we are not confident that we are right about certain revealed truths, but that doesn’t mean the burden of dialogue is lifted. God, who is all-knowing, chose to dialogue with us through His only begotten Son. That dialogue required so much humility that the King of Kings was hung from a cross as a usurper. The fruit of this dialogue was the resurrection and our salvation. Can we then swallow our pride? Can we die to our desire to win all the time? Can that death lead us to the resurrection of unified families, friendships, parishes, dioceses, and even a unified Christianity? Lord, I pray that it can. Through Your Logos, Amen.
– Spencer Hargadon
Originally Posted on May 30, 2015 at Ite Missa Est