20200329 Jesus wept

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INTRODUCTION

Tomorrow Sunday March 29 we read Gv 11,1-45 (Italian).

I am very skeptical about the many miracles told about in the Gospels. As you maybe know, I prefer to focus on the Kerygma of Jesus.

Only when Jesus himself talk about a miracle I look closer at it. 
He talked about the miracle with Lazarus.

I presume God helped Jesus to get Lazarus body travel back in time to when he still lived. You know that time is relative. God is able to do anything and this was a good time to have Jesus get attention from the miracle hungy people.

But the most remarkable thing in this story, is said that Jesus wept.

Jesus teached and teaches us that weeping, like turning our other cheek and loving our enemy, is not a sign of weakness. We show weakness by bragging, shouting out stupidities and nonsense and seeking revenge.

INDEX

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The text

Here is Gv 11,1-45 in English
( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )

11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. It was that Mary who
had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.”
11:4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When therefore he
heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”
11:8 The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”
11:9 Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.” He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may  qwake him out of sleep.”
11:12 The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”
11:13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead. I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so
that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”
11:16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, that we may die with him.”
11:17 So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already.
11:18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away.  Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 11:20Then when Martha
heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
11:24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
11:27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”
11:28 When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here, and is calling you.”
11:29 When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him. 11:30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in
the place where Martha met him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to
the tomb to weep there.” Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was
troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

11:36 The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!” Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?”
11:38 Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
11:40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”
11:41 So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank
you that you listened to me. 11:42I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried
with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

11:44 He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.
Jesus said to them, “Free him, and let him go.”
11:45 Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said,  What are we doing? For this man does many signs. If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, andthat the whole nation not perish.” Now he didn’t say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day forward they took counsel that they might put him to death.

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The message

I wrote about Lazarus time ago in http://www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2018/01/24/life-afterlife/#Biocentrism

11:4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” 

od?John is repeating himself here. He wrote about the blind man miracle in John,9,3
‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be revealed in him.

I am in doubt however that Jesus used the words God’s Son talking about himself.

s this a fill out to support to the other Gospel authors story about Jesus getting  his male chromosomes from God?
As I said before in a previous post, Jesus was not a bragger and he didn’t want to offend Jews.  You may remember about Jesus saying “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen” in Matthew 17:9
And after all, aren’t we all, Sons of God?

11:9 Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.” He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may  wake him out of sleep.”
11:12 The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”
11:13-22 ….

11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?

Probably again, a fill out, making again Jesus a bragger.

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11:35  Jesus wept.

Jesus is said to have wept approaching Jerusalem as told by Luke 19:41-45:
19:41 When he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, …

Curt Harlow talking about the Luke case in this video:

As jesus weeped, so I also think that God weep its own day, looking  at the suffering happening on Earth now,  at the pain of so many humans hit by Corona.

God does not want us to suffer but this is part of the Creation. Humans because of its nature, must suffer to get EQ,  emotional  intelligence.

As said in my introduction,Jesus teached us that weeping, like turning our other cheek and loving our enemy, is not a sign of weakness. We show weakness by bragging, shouting stupidities and nonsense and seeking revenge.

This reminds me about Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 where Jesus cried out the mysterious words “Eloi lama sabachthani” (I prefer the interpretation used by Aramaic Christians “My God, my God,  for this I was spared” instead of the rhetoric question “God, why have your forsaken/spared me?” that was copied from psalm 22:1. Listen to Leslie Hale about this. )
Jesus did not talk there about himself. he did not regard himself to be God.
And most important of all, he did not hide his feelings.

11:38 Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” 

11:39: Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
11:40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”

11:41 So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank
you that you listened to me. 11:42 I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” …

11:45 Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him.

At that time, like today peoples needed divine interfering to listen carefully bus as we know and see how many are really following Jesus kerygma?

11:46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done…

I wonder here how the author of John’s Gospel could know about this dialog. Caiaphas is said to have written a report about Jesus but I have not seen any recording of this council dialog.

the pharisees certainly did not share their talking to outsiders.
This part may be a fill out with a nice speculation about the doings and talkings of the priests.

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conclusion

The text been read tomorrow has made me focus on a different view of Jesus, many forget. Many remember how Jesus got angry in the temple. Everyone knows however that Jesus never wept on the cross except having cried out according to Matthew 27:46, the words “Eloi lama sabachthani”, as I said above. most probably translated wrongly as “God, why have your forsaken me?.

God does not forsake anyone. God maybe weep also seeing what humans has gone and is going through.

Have you ever wept? Do it and you will have a new experience, a experience of relief.

It has been good to meditate over the weeping Jesus and the meaning of and the underlying message of this.

 

 


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Hypatia – famous woman in antiquity

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INTRODUCTION

I my learning about math history, I discovered a  very special woman. I describe her with the help of texts taken from en.wikipedia.org. I reedited the text removing links that are required in Wiki, to make the text  easier to read.

As you can see bleow there is a French book about her. I have not read it yet.

Because of her background and tragic end, I added this article in the main menu under Learning -Phislosophy as she was well known among philosopher. I added this article also  under Theology – Christianity.as she is part of the early (and bad) history of Christianity, accused of being a whitch.

You will find all sources and references in wiki if you want to know more.

INDEX

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Presentation of Hypathia

Hypatia, was born c. 350–370 and  died 415). She was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer,  mathematician and teacher, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. Her father was her teacher and became later, her cooperator.

At her time, Egypt was part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy.

 She is the first female mathematician and philosopher whose life is reasonably well recorded.

Hypatia was the daughter of the mathematician Theon of Alexandria (c. 335 – c. 405 AD).

Nothing is known about Hypatia’s mother, who is never mentioned in any of the extant sources.

Hypatia was renowned in her own lifetime as a great teacher and a wise counselor. 

Tollerant pagan

Although she herself was a pagan, she was tolerant towards Christians and taught many Christian students, including Synesius, the future bishop of Ptolemais. Ancient sources record that Hypatia was widely beloved by pagans and Christians alike and that she established great influence with the political elite in Alexandria. 

A virgin

Damascius states that Hypatia remained a lifelong virgin and that, when one of the men who came to her lectures tried to court her, she tried to sooth his lust by playing the lyre. When he refused to abandon his pursuit, she rejected him outright displaying her bloody menstrual rags and declaring

“This is what you really love, my young man,
but you do not love beauty for its own sake.”

 

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Career and works

Hypatia was a Neoplatonist, but, like her father, she rejected the teachings of biographer Lamblichus and instead embraced the original Neoplatonism formulated by Plotinus. (In Plotinus  philosophy, described in his Enneads, there are three principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul.)
 The Alexandrian school was renowned at the time for its philosophy, and Alexandria was regarded as second only to Athens as the philosophical capital of the Greco-Roman world. Hypatia taught students from all over the Mediterranean. According to Damascius, she lectured on the writings of Plato and Aristotle. He also states that she walked through Alexandria in a tribon, a kind of cloak associated with philosophers, giving impromptu public lectures.

The Christian historian Socrates of Constantinople, a contemporary of Hypatia, describes her in his Ecclesiastical History:[21]

“There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not infrequently appeared in public in the presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more.”

Works

She is known to have written a commentary on Diophantus‘s thirteen-volume Arithmetica, which may survive in part, having been interpolated into Diophantus’s original text, and another commentary on Apollonius of Perga’s treatise on conic sections, which has not survived. Many modern scholars also believe that Hypatia may have edited the surviving text of Ptolemy’s Almagest, based on the title of her father Theon’s commentary on Book III of the Almagest.

Hypatia is known to have constructed astrolabes and hydrometers, but did not invent either of these, which were both in use long before she was born. 

Hypatia has been described as a universal genius, but she was probably more of a teacher and commentator than an innovator. No evidence has been found that Hypatia ever published any independent works on philosophy and she does not appear to have made any groundbreaking mathematical discoveries.

During Hypatia’s time period, scholars preserved classical mathematical works and commented on them to develop their arguments, rather than publishing original works. It has also been suggested that the closure of the Mouseion and the destruction of the Serapeum may have led Hypatia and her father to focus their efforts on preserving seminal mathematical books and making them accessible to their students.

The Suda mistakenly states that all of Hypatia’s writings have been lost,but modern scholarship has identified several works by her as extant.

This kind of authorial uncertainty is typical of female philosophers from antiquity.

Hypatia wrote in Greek, which was the language spoken by most educated people in the Eastern Mediterranean at the time. In classical antiquity, astronomy was seen as being essentially mathematical in character Furthermore, no distinction was made between mathematics and numerology or astronomy and astrology.

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Towards the end, murder and aftermath

Towards the end of her life, Hypatia advised Orestes, the Roman prefect of Alexandria, who was in the midst of a political feud with Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria. Rumors spread accusing her of preventing Orestes from reconciling with Cyril. Despite Hypatia’s popularity, Cyril and his allies attempted to discredit her and undermine her reputation. 

Socrates Scholasticus mentions rumors accusing Hypatia of preventing Orestes from reconciling with Cyril. Traces of other rumors that spread among the Christian populace of Alexandria may be found in the writings of the seventh-century Egyptian Coptic bishop John of Nikiû, who alleges in his Chronicle that Hypatia had engaged in satanic practices and had intentionally hampered the church’s influence over Orestes. He wrote:

“And in those days there appeared in Alexandria a female philosopher, a pagan named Hypatia, and she was devoted at all times to magic, astrolabes and instruments of music, and she beguiled many people through her Satanic wiles. And the governor of the city honoured her exceedingly; for she had beguiled him through her magic. And he ceased attending church as had been his custom… And he not only did this, but he drew many believers to her, and he himself received the unbelievers at his house.”

Murder

According to Socrates Scholasticus, during the Christian season of Lent in March 415, a mob of Christians under the leadership of a lector named Peter, raided Hypatia’s carriage as she was travelling home.

They dragged her into a building known as the Kaisarion, a former pagan temple and center of the Roman imperial cult in Alexandria that had been converted into a Christian church.

There, the mob stripped Hypatia naked and murdered her using ostraka (which can either be translated as “roof tiles” or “oyster shells).Damascius adds that they also cut out her eyeballs.

They tore her body into pieces and dragged her mangled limbs through the town to a place called Cinarion, where they set them on fire.

According to Watts, this was in line with the traditional manner in which Alexandrians carried the bodies of the “vilest criminals” outside the city limits to cremate them as a way of symbolically purifying the city.

Although Socrates Scholasticus never explicitly identifies Hypatia’s murderers, they are commonly assumed to have been members of the parabalani. Christopher Haas disputes this identification, arguing that the murderers were more likely “a crowd of Alexandrian laymen”.

Why?

Socrates Scholasticus presents Hypatia’s murder as entirely politically motivated and makes no mention of any role that Hypatia’s paganism might have played in her death. Instead, he reasons that “she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously report ed among the Christian populace that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop.”

Socrates Scholasticus unequivocally condemns the actions of the mob, declaring, “Surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort.”

Aftermath

Hypatia’s murder shocked the empire and transformed her into a “martyr for philosophy”, leading future Neoplatonists such as Damascius to become increasingly fervent in their opposition to Christianity.

During the Middle Ages, Hypatia was co-opted as a symbol of Christian virtue and scholars believe she was part of the basis for the legend of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

During the Age of Enlightenment, she became a symbol of opposition to Catholicism.

In the nineteenth century, European literature, especially Charles Kingsley’s 1853 novel Hypatia, romanticized her as “the last of the Hellenes”.

In the twentieth century, Hypatia became seen as an icon for women’s rights and a precursor to the feminist movement. Since the late twentieth century, some portrayals have associated Hypatia’s death with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, despite the historical fact that the library no longer existed during Hypatia’s lifetime.

read more in en.wikipedia.org where you find all the sources used to know more about Hypathia.

Some modern scholars consider that the legend of Saint Ctherine_of_Alexandria martyred 18 year old 305 under Emperor Maxentius, was probably based on the life and murder of the Hypatia.

 

There is a  film in Italian shared in Italian television 6-7 years ago. There is  a Youtube with the film 

Yo may also enjoy this youtube that also describes neoplatonism.

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conclusion

A extraordinary woman. Maybe she is the first woman to have been sacrificed by Christians because of political reasons. Many women have died after her but noone I have found had this remarkable history. Read more about these women in myarticle about witchhunt-in-europe. Hypatia’s history reminds me of that of Jeanne d’Arc who also died for political reasons.


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Sicily has suffered enough

As I wrote before, Sicily has been invaded several times from all kind of people, Arabs, Cartaginese, Normands, Spaniards, Greece and then abandoned by the Italian government to criminals and mafia to please Italian politicians. Now , for some reason, the Italian government let Sicily be invaded by Corona virus.

Is it maybe again a way to help the badly hit mafia? As Saviano wrote a few days ago, the mafia always find ways to earn money and eliminate enemies, now the Sicilians themselves,  where many have risked their lives and some died.

March 23 2020

March 29 2020

As you can see from this map from March 23, the East of Sicily with Messina and Catania is already the most hit by Corona.

I translated a article from Live 24.it for you to read:

The decrees of the Government and the Region ordinances do not hinder the continuous exodus to Sicily of people without thinking of the consequences seeking to return the island.
Last night, after the president of the Calabria Region has ordered the closure of the entrances in the provinces of Calabria, Villa San Giovanni the Calabrian ferry harbour were besieged with people coming from north Iraly,  only a few ferries depart daily, destined mostly to commuters working in the health sector that need to reach hospitals.
The Sivcilian Region president  Musumeci denounced yet another flaw in the system of control and accountability to the people asked: “You can not – he said in a post on Facebook – and I do not accept that to happen.
I asked the prefect to intervene immediately. There is a decree of the Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Health that prevents it.
he continued” I request that order is respected and that further checks are carried out on departure. The national government intervenes because we Sicilians are not cannon fodder!
In the light of the national measure, only commuters who perform public service such as health, armed forces and police can travel. That’s enough.
We are making huge sacrifices and we must give certainty to all citizens that this is followed with commitment. ” as health, armed forces and police.
That’s enough. We are making huge sacrifices and we must give certainty to all citizens that this phase is followed with commitment. “
Last night the same Musumeci had been at Messina for a Coronavirus on emergency summit, which was attended by the Prefect Maria Carmela Librizzi, the mayor Cateno De Luca, the heads of law enforcement and health Peloritane area agencies .In the seat of the prefecture, the governor explained all the measures already taken in the hospitals of the capital and the province of Messina to meet emergency and ongoing initiatives to counter a possible epidemic peak.read more at Live 24.it .Italian state railways continue to sell train tickets to Sicily. This must be stopped. Sicily can not afford more Corona cases.Please share. The world must know what the Italian government is doing with Sicily.Thank you for your attention

This is not the time to fight each other

BBC Hardtalk 10.30 interviewed Antonio Guterres secretary General of United Nations,

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3csy9fx

He says that the Covid-19 crisis is “a threat to the whole of humanity”

  1. We have had global terrorism
  2. We have had and still have a global climate challenge
  3. Now we have a global covid-19 crisis

This is not the time to fight each other
We need a concerted actions against global crisis

Only with solidarity we can fight global crisis

Antonio Guterres has just launched  a humanitarian appeal to raise fonds focused mainly on helping the 40 most vulnerable countries.

The global health system is as strong as the weakest health system in the world.

 

 

 

Sicily – a angry island.

I wrote some time ago about the Italian revolution. I will in this post set focus on Sicily.
Sicily has been invaded and controlled by Greece, Arabs, Cartago, Normands, Spain as documented by John Julius Norwich in his book “Sicily – a short history” and was later abandoned to criminals and mafia by the Italian State. John Julius Norwich wrote in his preface that the Sicilians are a sad people. I maybe understand why.
Now Sicily is under attack from Corona taken with people who thought Sicily is a good place to live in now.
We got a corona case on my neighbor island Salina, one with a young girl that couldn’t resist Sicilian nostalgy and remain in North Italy. Sicily has got several more corona cases, recently in nearby Milazzo and Barcellona.
 
 
The Mayor of MessinaC, has done and is having a strong fight to protect Sicily from Corona. Many illegals are taking the Ferry in Calabria to come to Messina and Sicily
The Italian ministry of interior said that all the cars embarking on the ferry are commuters that are allowed to come to Messina.
The mayor has documented several cases of people not allowed to take the ferry and that people are able to buy train tickets in Italy to come to Sicily.

The Mayor of Messina Cateno De Luca invited mayors form nearby municipalities to go to Villa San Giovanni (the Calabrian ferry harbour) to check were the people come from and why they want to go to Sicily.

 

Now 40 cars are blocked in Villa as not being allowed to take the Ferry. They have obviously been allowed to pass the Autostrada checkpoints in other northern  regions, Campania and others.

 

Now these 40 cars block trucks who deliver to Sicilian supermarkets food, water and other merchandise that Sicily needs.
It is not the best option to be a beautiful island in these pandemia days.
or
 
The Sicilian region president Musumeci said days ago, “we have won over mafiosi, we will also win over corona”. But this can not be done with a Italy that does not care about Sicily and apply laws and ordinances.
The Messina MayorCateno De Luca represents for me the Sicilian spirit, a angry Sicily rather than a sad one.
You may share my post to news or friends if you want.
Greetings from Lipari,
0 cases so far on our island, thanks among others to our good and caring Mayor Marco Giorgianni

20200322 Jesus about the blind man

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INTRODUCTION

Today at Catholic mass Gv 9,1-41 (it) is read.

As you know I try to not get blinded by the miracles, documented in the Gospels. Jesus kerygma is miracle enough and shows that Jesus was a prophet conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Look e..g at his commandment “Love your enemy” and “turn the other cheek” that completely revolutionized the thinking of his time that was led by the revenge mantra and animal instinct.

But this miracle story is special. As told by John it sounds like a metaphore about human blindness.

I will in this post try to analize the miracle and message Jesus gave according to John 9,1-41

INDEX

  • introduction
  • The text
  • The message
    • blindness
    • “revealed with him”
    • “the works of God”
    • “revealed in him”
      • blind prophets
      • temple of God
      • Distracted by sight
      • Inner voice
      • meditation
      • Talking with God
      • The blind man – a metaphore
      • Jesus was not the first prophet
      • The value of silence
  • Conclusion

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The text

Most of the text has focus on the miracle of open the vision of a man born blind. I share here the message of Jesus in this passage:

John,9,1-5; 39-41;  says:

1 As he went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.

2 His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should have been born blind?’

3 ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered, ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be revealed in him.

4 ‘As long as day lasts we must carry out the work of the one who sent me; the night will soon be here when no one can work.

5 As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.’

6-38 The Pharisees talk with the the blind man and his parents about the miracle

39 Jesus said: It is for judgement that I have come into this world, so that those without sight may see and those with sight may become blind.

40 Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, ‘So we are blind, are we?’

41 Jesus replied: If you were blind, you would not be guilty, but since you say, ‘We can see,’ your guilt remains.

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The message

 

The story is about a man born blind

Blindeness

I studied and wrote previously about consciousness and neuroscience. let us look at blindness. healthline says:

“Blindness is the inability to see anything, including light. If you’re partially blind, you have limited vision. For example, you may have blurry vision or the inability to distinguish the shapes of objects. Complete blindness means you can’t see at all. …”

Blind people have auditory dreams

Department of Physics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign writes:

“blind people do dream. What they see in their dreams depends on how much they could ever see. If someone has been totally blind since birth, they only have auditory dreams.”

About  He was born blind so that the works of God might be revealed in (ed. greek: ἐν) him

or “Revealed with him”?

It is to be noted that Jesus said: 
“The works of God might be revealed in him ”
He did not say:
“The works of God might be revealed with him” 

As this phrase is said after Jesus made a blind man see it leads easily to read revealed with him” . This leads to the simplicistic and common interpretation  that there are blind humans so God and Jesus with blind people can show the humans “the works of God.”as the miracles of God and Jesus.

WHO says that “The estimated number of people visually impaired in the world is 285 million, 39 million blind and 246 million having low vision; 65 % of people visually impaired and 82% of all blind are 50 years and older (Table 2)”

It sounds for me absurd that millions of people are to be born blind by God so God can show its power to heal.

the works of God

works  is written in Greek as ἔργα (erga)

erga is seen also in Matthew 23:3 translated as deed
“but do not be guided by what (ed. the work) they do, since they do not practise what they preach.”

So the works of God may also refer to the Creation of God as revealed in the Genesis. But as Genesis was already revealed to Moses, this interpretation should be excluded.

So let us look closer at 

“revealed in him”

So, I wonder what may a blind man get revealed “in him” that seing man isn’t?

Does it says that blind are destined to become prophets to share the messages of God?

Prophets are known to get words revealed

Blind prophets

Despite there are and have been many humans born blind, I found only a few who were regarded as blind prophets:

  1. Ahijah_the_Shilonite is one prophets that was blind according to the book of kings.
  2. Tiresias is another one.
  3. Baba_Vanga is the third I found.

I find that I have to abandon this path. I remenbered then that

We are the temple of God

We have read in the Corinthians 3:16 these interesting words of Paul:

Do you not know that you are a temple of God 
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Some prophets have got messages revealed in dreams. More or less like the woodworker Joseph about the danger for his son.

Being distracted by sight

A blind man is not distracted by vision signals sent from the eyes. Being Born blind they have  no inner vision nor visual dreams but having auditory dreams they may have a inner voice. 

Inner voice

In my experience and what I l read about, we all have a inner voice.

Look at this video about inner voice.

Inner voice may be pathological as it is for some killers.

However with meditation we can train ourselves to not get so distracted by impulses, in this case visual impulses.

The woman in this video says that according to fMRi studies, the auditory cortex is activated if you have a dialog with someone in your mind.

Talking with God

Maybe we can talk with God or anyone you know that has deceased?

The blind man a metaphore of darkness in our mind?

This second interpretation I have met in priest sermons, is more intelligent. It connects to Jesus saying “I am the light of the world.’” but I don’t think that Jesus really said that. He was not a bragger as I wrote about in another post.

As I said in my introduction Jesus has “completely revolutionized the thinking of his time that was led by the revenge mantra and animal instinct.”

Jesus has with his words opened the mind of many, mine too.

But Jesus was not the first prophet to “open our minds”.

Jesus was  preceded by the Zoroastrians Gathas in the Iranian region were the main message and the ethical goals of Zoroastrianism was “good thoughts, good words, good deeds” (See the “Threefold Path of Asha: Humata, Huxta, Huvarshta“) 
Buddhism came before the Zoroastriam ethical goals in India with the Eightfold_Path of Enlightment.

Jesus as it is known in matthew/15-24.htm, was sent only “to the lost sheep of Israel.” a people who seldom had relations with the people in Iran and India and followed their own path of “eye for an eye”.

So like Christian say that Jesus is the light, is not correct for all humans around the world. I would rather say 

Jesus was the light for “the lost sheep of Israel.”

and is still today for the lost humans caught by their animal instincts

I have been helped by the words of Jesus several times, when I ended up in “mind blindness”.

But Buddhist meditation like prayer has also helped me to see light during dark moments of my life.

It is interesting to read hindu Mahatma Gandhi writing that:

(Image source: pastorlesterbentley.com/ )

The value of silence

Elisabeth of trinity has teached us about the value of Silence for this inner dialog.

And as Rumi said

 .

conclusion

As said in my introduction I normally omit all miracle stories to focus on Jesus words, kerygma.

But this miracle is special one.

True or not, as told by the great author of John, this miracle story  is a metaphor about the human kind.

A human kind that has been “blind” since its birth (in Africa) but can see again with the light, a metaphor of the words of prophets, starting with Adam that maybe was incarnated in a human body after his spirit had to leave Eden in Heaven to come down to earth. See my post about this yet indeterminable hypothesis )

We don’t have the words of Adam but of Moses, several other prophets and the last 2000 years, the words of Jesus shared in the Gospels and the words Muhammad heard in the cave above Mecca and then shared in the Quran. We have plenty of light (words) around us.

You understand or are reminded, I am interreligious. I believe that God did not discriminate. God talked to many, to Siddhartha in India who teached us how to live well with our body and mind, to Zoroaster in Iran who shared his Gathas, to Christians with the voice of Jesus shared in  the Gospels and to Muhammad who shared what he heard in the cave over Mecca in the Quran.

Like the pope Francis, said today, we should also become light by sharing the words and of course, being examples of good humans.

This part of the Gospel of John has led me into a nice voyage in my mind, ending up in thinking about my own iinner dialog

He was born blind so that the works of God might be revealed in him

We are all “blind” at birth with a great curiosity. In our inner blindness we want to learn and understand. In our search, we may later find our inner temple and a voice talking to us and guiding us. Our brain is prepared for this dialog. But question is if we are able to listen. 

Find a quiet and peaceful place (may it be in the wood, in a church or on a balcony) where you feel good. Sit down in a comfortable chair and start listen to your inner voice. Ask God and God listen to the answer.

please buy “Made in Italy”

Buy “made in Italy”.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs di Maio said one good thing tonight. I want to forward his message to you who are my friends here.

You know that many Italians who sell products and services that are not food, medicine etc, respect the safety restrictions closing their activities, to stay home.

As a example, Lipari and the Aeolian islands, depends 99% on tourism. The islands are suffering especially hard this pandemia as no tourists are allowed to come to the islands. Bars, restaurants and hotels are closed and empty.

For reasons you probably know, Italy had before this pandemia, a poor economy, reasons that many Italians are fighting, even risking their lives.

Italians take care of their elders, keeping them with their families. Italian families have paid hard for this love with a high mortality rate among elders. Life has been cruel to these now suffering families.

If you want to show solidarity with Italy, buy “Made in Italy” wherever you are. This will help to alleviate the economical damages for a badly hit country.

I kindly ask you to share my message.
Thank you.

Stellan, at home a week now.

Greeting from Lipari, Aeolian Islands

20200315 Jesus and the Samaritan woman

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INTRODUCTION

Today March 15 is the second Sunday where Italian mus stay home and can not attend Mass at Church, regarded as a  epidemic risc for contagieing others. The Mass is a important for many Italians and especially for those in prisons who know can not have visits from their relatives.

But fortunately, the mass is sent by Rai1 at 11.00 from a empty mass in Rome. I have looked at Rai1 mass for a long time as I for my post stroke mental fatigue sleep badly sometimes and have difficulties to go to mass at 9.00 as it is celebrated here.

Today at Catholic mass Gv 4,5-42 John tells about Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman that gives a nice example of Jesus respect for a people that was bullied as dogs by the Jews at his time for historical reasons.

I wrote about Jesus and the Samaritans July 2019 in a historical view at www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2019/07/14/jesus-and-the-samaritans/.

In that post I refered to Luke 10:25-37

 

INDEX

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The text

John 4,5-45 says:

Jesus comes to Sychar

4:05 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well.

At the well alone, with the Samaritan woman

It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

4:09 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” 
4:10 Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

04:11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where then have you that living water? Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?”

The Living water metaphore

04:13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
04:15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.”
04:16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
04:17 The woman answered, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.”
04:19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
04:21 Jesus said to her,Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
04:25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes,”  “When he has come, he will declare to us all things.”
04:26 Jesus said to her, I am he, the one who speaks to you.
At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”

Inhabitants of Sychar comes to Jesus

04:30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
04:32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.”
04:33 The disciples therefore said one to another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”

Jesus food

04:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to  do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.  Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Jesus staid with The Sychar Samaritans 

04:39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of his word.
04:42 They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

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The message again – text with thoughts

As John 4:1 tells

At the well alone, with the Samaritan woman

It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

4:09 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” 

Jesus a a stranger for the woman

The woman saw that Jesus was a jew probably because of his appearance but she did not recognize that it was Jesus

The  lonely woman that did not run back to the home.

A that time like today, it was not allowed nor recommendable for a woman to be alone near a stranger.
The woman must have got a good feeling of this Jew (Jesus) as she did not run away but remained starting her work at the well.

The attitude of Jesus

Reading Jesus saying “Give me a drink.”  you may interpret this as being said with severe voice and face expression as a command.

you must be aware that words alone does not say much. John does not share any visual nor sound information.

Because of Jesus emphasizing love and love your enemy,
I presume his voice and face expression was not signaling a severe military order. Nor must he have signaled the Jews view about Samaritans.

So let us go back to the text:

The Living water metaphore

4:10 “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

The woman obviously did not understand this stranger, so she answered respectfully with:

4.11 “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where then have you that living water? Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?”

Jesus answered her about the living water,

4:13 “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Obsiously this woman felt respect in Jesus so she said to him:

4:15 “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.”

Now we begin to understand the purposes Jesus had

Jesus tests the woman by saying:

04:16 Go, call your husband, and come here.

As a good practicing Samaritan woman reading the Pentatheuch, the woman did follow the law “Do no lie” like many Jews did not.

04:17 The woman answered, I have no husband.”

So the Samaritans obviously are not the “lost people” as Jesus called them.

Jesus said to her, You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have, is not your husband. This you have said truly.”

Thisfact may reveal why the Jews regard Samaritans as eretic

04:19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

About the Samaritan holy mountain Mount Gerizim

04:21 Jesus said to her,

“Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father.
You worship that which you don’t know.
We worship that 
which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. (ed. Jesus and his disciples)
But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers
. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

04:25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes,”  “When he has come, he will declare to us all things.”

04:26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.

At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?”

The Samaritan woman left Jesus to let him talk with his disciples.

So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”

Inhabitants of Sychar comes to Jesus

04:30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

The food metaphore

04:32 But he said to them,

I have food to eat that you don’t know about.”

04:33 The disciples therefore said one to another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”

04:34 Jesus said to them,

“My food is to  do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.  Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Jesus stayed with The Sychar Samaritans  

04:39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Jesus said later in Galilee,

“Unless you see signs and wonders,
you will in no way believe.”

The samaritans did not need any miracle to believe in him. His words and kerygma was enough.

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conclusion

I think that this part of John shares a important part of Jesus Kerygma.

it tells about

  • Jesus respect for women. As shown elsewhere.
  • Jesus’ good relation with the Samaritans
  • Jesus respecting the Samaritans despite being regarded as eretics at his time
  • where you pray (In Jerusalem our on mount Gerezim) that has no importance
  • God as spirit and praying in spirit
  • Jesus message about living water and food.
  • the Samaritans  that did not ask for signs.
  • a Samaritan women that for some reason had  several husbands
  • Ta samaritan women who were allowed to stay near jews men
  • Samaritan men who listened to women.
  • Samaritans becoming Christians.

Matthew 10:5-6 tells that Jesus said:

5 ‘Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town6 go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”

Jesus  obviously did order to avoid Samaria  because it was dangerous. I presume that it was because it was a waste of time as he wanted to convert Sinners and the Lost sheep of the House of Israel.” And he regarded the Samaritans to be good people as he referred to when talking about the good samaritan to a lawyer as described by Luke 10:25-37

Why Jew disciples?

I wonder why Jesus choosed Jews as disciples.  I presume it was because he was only  interested in talking with the “lost people of Israel”, the  Jews.

I he have had choosen Samaritan disciples

If he he had choosen Samaritans as disciples, his kerygma would maybe not have had the spreading it had. The Jews were at power in Israel and had a quite good relation with the Romans.

It is a pity because with the Samaritans we would not have had such  discrimination of women around in the world.

For humanity (men) to mature, the women had to suffer until today.

At the end, the Jews still today do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. And that may have contributed to the widespread antisemitism and maybe also to the holocaust.

 

 

 

A agnostic pluralist seeker

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