The Minding Scripture Podcast
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

"intrinsically alive"

Today's Gospel reading is the story of Lazarus. The daily meditation in Magnificat is a couple of paragraphs from Romano Guardini's The Lord in which he comments on this incident. This in particular struck me:

Jesus stands alone with all that he is, the only one intrinsically alive among so many mortals.... [my emphasis]

You could say that that is the essential fact about Jesus. I only say "could say," not that it certainly is, because one could probably make that claim for other formulations, other declarations about his nature as God and man. But it strikes me as especially decisive. No one else who has ever walked on earth has had life as an intrinsic attribute. Only God does. 

You should be able to read the whole meditation at this link. I heartily recommend the book.

This month's Magnificat cover is Rembrandt's depiction of the raising of Lazarus. Or rather a detail thereof: the cover "zooms in" on Jesus, and does not include the figure of Lazarus, which is visible in the painting.



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There were a few things that struck me about today's gospel.

I have always thought that this is the gospel that should be read on the feast of St. Thomas--not the reading about his weakness and lack of faith, but the one where he says, "Let us go down to die with him." But, today I noticed that Martha, who goes out to meet Jesus while Mary stays behind, makes that statement of belief, "I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God...." I may be wrong (because I can't remember much nowadays) but I don't remember anyone else but Peter making such a clear declaration of who Jesus really is. So we have two people in this gospel that appear in a negative way in other places in the scripture, but who have their best moments here.

I also noticed that both sisters say the exact same thing to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

And then, and this is probably very dull of me, but I never before picked up on that foreshadowing of Christ's resurrection in the rolling away of the stone.



Yes! I think I may have been aware of Martha's declaration, but I was startled by Thomas's. As many times as I've heard that passage...I never read along at Mass, but of course was reading today, so that's the only explanation I can think of. Doesn't speak well of my attentiveness at Mass. Anyway, it's a wonderful note that Thomas hits.

Martha sometimes gets sort of a bad press, because of the "one thing needful" episode, so this is good to keep in mind.

Jeff Woodward

That great phrase of Msgr. Guardini's makes a nice counterpoint to a line I remember from Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ. Somewhere in that book, Bp. Sheen says that Jesus was the only person in history born for the purpose of dying. Strange to think that the one human being who, by his very nature, couldn't not live, also couldn't not die.


Yes, a nice counterpoint. And he willingly participated in the purpose. The only immortal chose to be mortal. This is why the image on the shroud is my Personal Jesus.

Jeff Woodward

Yes..."willingly participated." That's the whole point, isn't it.

Maybe the only thing I miss about the now-superseded English translation of the Mass is one line -- immediately preceding the words of Consecration in Eucharistic Prayer #2: "Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted...." I can still hear Fr. Lynch, the saintly old Irish priest who instructed and received me into the Faith in Philadelphia back in 1972, saying those words as he celebrated Mass. "A death he freely accepted." He always spoke them portentously, with just a momentary dramatic pause beforehand, and a bit of extra emphasis on the word "freely," as if they expressed the most astounding fact he had ever heard. And I'm not sure but what they did.


I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't notice it was gone. As I noted above, my attentiveness at Mass leaves something to be desired.

(I wrote that last night and never clicked 'post'.)

I'm trying to remember whether that's in the Ordinariate Mass. Seems like it is but then maybe I'm just remembering it from the Novus Ordo.

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