Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jaki on Easter and the Papacy

Alleluia! He is risen as He said! Alleluia!

After all: "...our God knows the way out of the grave..." [cf. GKC The Everlasting Man CW2:382]

Let us hear about the connection from the Pasch to the Papacy...

[Peter] boasted that even if all the others were to desert Jesus, he would stand by no matter what. But a little later he could not resist the urge to sleep. In spite of Christ's explicit words he did not suspect the difference between a ready spirit and a weak flesh. On seeing the enemy come, he acted as man of outbursts. He drew his sword and drew blood. His Master was not impressed: he healed the bleeding ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant, on the spot.

But Jesus was very much interested when Peter, the boasting and sword-rattling leader of the Twelve, was forced into a triple betrayal triggered by the wagging tongue of a servant girl. As a self-centered enthusiast, Peter needed an outside reminder to perceive his true predicament. It came when Jesus turned around and looked at him as the cock crowed. Peter wept bitterly as he went out of the courtyard where he had just seen the Messiah passing through, rejected and humiliated by his own.

Convulsive tears could be produced by a deep love which did not turn into disillusion when the beloved Master utterly failed by all human standards. His dead body was now the last link Peter had with him. A strong link it was. When told on early Easter morning that the tomb was empty, he rushed there with John who, although first in the race, deferred to him in the moment of victory. Peter entered the tomb first, a possible deference to his leadership. Since he did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead, he must have felt heartbroken on seeing that the dead body of his Master, his last link with him, had vanished. Being by nature an intense lover, he could only go outside the tomb and weep.

Legend has it that Peter often wept for the rest of his life and that the tears made deep furrows in his cheeks. But a few, hardly visible, sincere tears were enough to turn Peter into a rock through which the marvel of grace made living waters flow, as was the case with the rock in the desert struck by Moses. That rock, as Saint Paul emphatically remarked, prefigured Christ, who when hanging on the cross let the Church be born in the water and blood that flowed from his pierced heart. The rock, which was to be the continuation of Christ, also had to be a source of the water of life-giving suffering.

In order to assure that continuity, Jesus, through some heartrending questions, caused Peter to cry. When Peter rushed through the water after spotting Jesus on the shore, he did not realize what was in store for him. A rock-like stability was to be grafted on his nature, which had been shaken by outbursts of emotions. Grafts always extract some moisture, and there must have been some tears in Peter's eyes when his Master asked him for the third time: "Do you love me more than these?" The proof of the tears is Peter's answer, given as he trembled in pain, "Lord, you know everything. You know well that I love you," the kind of answer that can hardly be made without tears in one's eyes. In reply Jesus let him hear for the third time, the biblical symbol of consummation, his great assignment: "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep." He already had the keys of the kingdom; he now received the staff of the supreme shepherd.

[Jaki, And On This Rock 83-4]

Update (Easter afternoon)
When I wrote this early this morning, I felt something nagging at me - some link to the liturgy - but I could not get the link to come. Then I went to Mass and of course it glared out at me from the Introit - and I nearly laughed aloud:
...mirabilis facta est scientia tua... [Ps138:6]
Which to a scientist of little Latin will sound like "Your science has been made wonderful" (hee hee) Of course I know scientia means "knowledge" but I knew there was another link to be had here. And as GKC said about the way out of the grave, our knowledge of the Resurrection is the best and indeed most wonderful science of all!


At 12 April, 2009 11:37, Blogger Willa said...

Thank you for the Fr Jaki quote -- very timely!

At 12 April, 2009 14:58, Blogger Dr. Thursday said...

Certainly. Happy Easter!

There will be more, as time permits, and be sure to check The Duhem Society blogg for further material about Fr. Jaki and Pierre Duhem.


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