Friday, January 23, 2015

Changed Water in Jars Symbolize Changed Nature in Womb


You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.
Psalms 77: 14 - 16

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
John 2: 11

Ⲕⲁⲛⲁ ⲛ̀ⲧⲉ ϯⲄⲁⲗⲓⲗⲉⲁ̀


Why then did our Lord change the nature [of water] in the first of his signs? Was it not to show that the divinity, which had changed nature in the depths of the jars, was that same [divinity] that had changed nature in the womb of the Virgin? At the completion of his signs he opened the tomb to show that the greed of death had no hold over him. He sealed and confirmed these two uncertainties, that of his birth and of his death. For these waters, with regard to their nature, were transformed into the [fruit of the] vine, but without the stone jars [themselves] undergoing change in their nature inwardly. This was a symbol of his body, which was wondrously conceived in a woman, and, without a man, miraculously formed within the Virgin.

He made wine from water, therefore, in order to give proof concerning how his conception and his birth took place. He summoned "six water jars" as witness to the unique virgin who had given birth to him. The water jars conceived in a novel way, not in keeping with their custom, and gave birth to wine. But they did not continue to give birth. Similarly the Virgin conceived and gave birth to Emmanuel, and she did not give birth again. The giving birth by the jars was from smallness to greatness and from paucity to abundance; from water indeed to good wine. In her case, however, it was from greatness to weakness and from glory to ignominy. Those jars were for the purification of the Jews, but our Lord poured his teaching into them, so that he might make it known that he was coming through the path of the Law and the Prophets to transform all things by his teaching, just as he had [transformed] water into wine.

St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373) 


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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas Reflection







St. Ephrem the Syrian writes, “The Lord of David and Son of David hid His glory in swaddling clothes. His swaddling clothes gave a robe of glory to human beings.” This week we celebrate this most incredible event where God becomes man and yet is still God. He came in a most humble way delivered in a stable and wrapped in simple clothing. Yet as Saint Ephrem says, this simple beginning gave to all mankind robe of glory. What is this robe of glory?

In today's world it is hard to focus on the true meaning of this mystical event with all the parties and the mad gift giving, the coming of Santa Clause and the unending football games on TV. We are distracted even more now by our cell phones, iPads and instant movies. We no longer complain about not having a television but not having one that is big enough. How do we make this event relevant this week?

When we think of this robe of glory that He gave us we must first think back to His nature and the way He was brought into the world. He came in humility and left this world in humility. His robe was not made of golden threads. His birth and subsequent life had noting to do with material well being. He lived with a pure heart, one that glorified God, one that shone for all to see.

We must begin our reflection on this day with total humility. We must admit our weaknesses, our ways that deviate from what He taught and demonstrated to us. We must acknowledge our pride and our desire to hide our dirty inner clothing with fancy outer clothing. We must admit that we do not have this robe of glory that He brought for all humankind. We must make ourselves feel His humility.

With this reflection we must also remember the unending and limitless love He has for all His children. Acknowledging His love for us we can be joyful that we are held in His loving and merciful arms. We can be joyful that we are so important to God and in our knowledge that He will do anything to guide us towards His perfection.  He holds for us a robe of glory.

Let us rejoice in this glory that awaits us. Let us recognize Jesus for Who He really is, God Incarnate. Let's lay aside all our doubts about God and His Church. Let us for a short moment try on that robe of glory. Let us experience His peace and love of all humankind.

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