The glass on the left or the glass on the right

The other day, I was in a class for two students that are studying to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist this April. We were talking about prayer, and I asked them if they knew any prayers …. after some thought they said “no”.

“Really, you don’t know any prayers?” They thought about it for a minute and then said, “well we say a prayer before we go to bed”. So, I asked that they say it for me. They started “now I lay me down to sleep …” Not bad, that’s one now how about another?” Again, they thought about it and said that they knew of another. This time they started without my prodding, “over the lips and past the gums. Look out stomach here it comes …. Yeah God!” Hmmmm, I guess that the “yeah God” at the end counted for something. But I asked for another, this time I had to offer them some clues, like; “you say it every time that you walk into church”. One said that his dad usually says to slide over, sit down and be quiet, “did that count?” “No, that didn’t count”. So, I asked again and one said “you mean when we say the sign of the cross?”

Think about it, from our childhood, all Catholics learn to pray the sign of the cross: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Slow it down and think of the gestures that go with it; In the name of the father, and we touch our head. The father, the head, the repository of all knowledge. And the Son, and we touch our body, our chest, our heart. The son, the body of our eternal sacrifice, the humanity through which Christ humbled himself to become. And the Holy spirit, and we touch our two arms, our hands, the tools with which we do the work of God. Those appendages with which we used to hug, and lift up, and carry those in need.

It is a really beautiful prayer. And the neatest part of all is that all three natures of God exist in the single body. In Trinitarian doctrine, God exists as three persons but is one being, having a single divine nature. The members of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will.

In today’s gospel we hear Jesus talk a little bit about this separate nature.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

So, let me get this straight, it was the Holy Spirit that anointed Jesus? And yet all of His actions are “to proclaim a year that is acceptable to the Lord”. So, God the father is responsible?

Let me try a description that a friend once shared. Imagine a tall drinking glass. It is clear, tall, slender and has one purpose …. to hold water. That is its sole purpose for being, to hold water. Now, imagine two tall drinking glasses. Both the same size, both clear, both cylindrical and both with a single purpose …. to hold water. One of them, let’s say the one on the left, is filled with water. It is fulfilling its purpose but the one of the right is empty. So, the glass on the left pours himself out into the glass on the right. Now the one on the right is full of water and the one on the left is empty. So, naturally the one on the right pours himself out into the one on the left.

In Philippians 2:7 Saint Paul tells us that Christ “emptied Himself,” when he humbled himself before the Father.

In the beginning of time John says that there was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. At this point the dance between the Father and the Son began. The Father emptied Himself into the son so that He could remain God and become man. And per Paul the Son turned right around and emptied himself right back into the Father.

So, when you think of these two water glasses emptying themselves into each other, the act of giving and receiving is the Holy Spirit.

Granted, this might be a little deep for 7:30 on a cold and snowy morning. Perhaps I will have to put this one on the shelf and bring it back out on a warmer, sunnier morning. But while this analogy is an interesting explanation of the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit it might be a more interesting explanation of the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and us.

The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to the captives.

Does that make me the glass on the left or the glass on the right?

LK 4:14-22

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

January 4, 2022

January 4, 2022

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