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Thoughts from the Early Church
The First Scrutiny
RCIA: March 4, 2018

The water that I shall give will turn into a spring of eternal life.

  “Wearied by his journey, Jesus sat down beside a well. It was about the sixth hour.” Already divine mysteries begin. Not for nothing is Jesus wearied; not for nothing does the Power of God suffer fatigue. Not for nothing does he who refreshes the weary endure weariness. Not for nothing is he wearied, whose absence makes us weary, whose presence gives us strength.

Jesus is tired, tired out by his journey. He sits down. On the edge of a well he seats himself. It is midday, and he sits there exhausted. All these details have meaning. They are meant to signify something. They capture our attention, persuading us to knock and investigate further. We have Christ’s own exhortation to do so, for he said: “Knock and it will be opened to you.” May he, then, open up the meaning of this text to us as well as to you.

And would you know Christ in his weakness?
It was for your sake that Jesus was wearied by his journey. In Jesus we encounter divine power together with weakness. He is strong and weak at one and the same time: strong, because “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. present with God from the beginning.” Would you know how strong the Son of God is? “All things were made through him, and apart from him nothing came into being.” The whole universe was made without effort. Could any greater power exist than the power of one who was able effortlessly to construct the entire universe?

And would you know him in his weakness? “The Word was made flesh, and lived among us.” The power of Christ created you; the weakness of Christ recreated you. Christ’s power caused what did not exist to come into being; Christ’s weakness saved existing things from destruction. In his might he fashioned us; in his weakness he came in search of us.

Jesus, then, is weak, tired out after his journey. Now that journey of his, undertaken for our sake, was his incarnation. How could he otherwise journey when he is present everywhere, and absent from nowhere? To what place or from what place could he travel? In only one way could he come to us, and that was by assuming our visible human flesh. Since then he condescended to come to us in that way, and to appear in the condition of a servant by taking to himself a human nature, that assumption of our nature was his journey.

The fatigue caused by his journey, therefore, was the weariness Jesus experienced in our human nature. In his human body he was weak, but you must not be weak. You must be strong in his weakness, for “there is more power in divine weakness than in human strength.”

(Homilies on the Gospel of John 15, 6-7:
CCL 36,152-153)

Augustine (354-430) was born at Thagaste in Africa and received a Christian education, although he was not baptized until 387. In 391 he was ordained priest and in 395 he became coadjutor bishop to Valerius of Hippo, whom he succeeded in 396. Augustine’s theology was formulated in the course of his struggle with three heresies: Manichaeism, Donatism, and Pelagianism. His writings are voluminous and his influence on subsequent theology immense. He molded the thought of the Middle Ages down to the thirteenth century. Yet he was above all a pastor and a great spiritual writer.

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Edith Barnecut, OSB. was a consultant for the International Committee for English in the Liturgy, Sr. Edith was responsible for the final version of many of the readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Journey with the Fathers
Commentaries on the Sunday Gospels
- Year B, pp. 38-39.
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Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C).
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