04-The Deep Word of the Lord, Sept 25, 2016 (with audio)

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II Corinthians 1:21 – 2:4

Luke 5:1-11

The Word of Faith that we preach, says St Paul (Rom 10:8), is the Word that Moses preached, the Word that is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” (Dt 30:14) The WORD of the apostles’ preaching is the same WORD of the prophets. This WORD of the LORD comes to the prophets. It is not their word. It is the WORD of the LORD that is not of this world, and it comes to them, or rather happens (egeneto) to them from the LORD.  

Your English bibles consistently have this WORD coming to the prophets but this translation fails to convey the force of the matter. This WORD comes to the prophet not as an idea or possibility but in such a way that it enters into the history of Israel and becomes a determining historical event – as, e.g., when it comes, or rather happens to Abram (Gn 15:1ff) in the form of a promise of an heir, i.e., of life; and that promise becomes Isaac.

But, Isaac is not this WORD of God itself. He and therefore the whole nation of Israel is the embodiment of that WORD’s promise but not of the WORD itself. The WORD itself is the Son of God, the WORD of God who was in the beginning and through whom all things came to be (egeneto). And that WORD Himself came to be flesh in order to become one of us and to dwell among us.

Do you see that this WORD of the LORD is by nature God, that this WORD is a “who”, not a “what”, that He is all-powerful and life-creating, and that, according to the testimony of Scripture, all that He creates is very good; and, do you see that this WORD of the LORD is the Truth that stands underneath all things and is the Meaning of all things – which would mean that the “really real” is not a “what” but the mystery of the “who”; and, if this is the WORD that is in you, it means that you exist in the Meaning that this WORD of the LORD is, but that the Meaning in whom you exist is not in you but outside of you in this WORD of the LORD who is the Truth that stands underneath you and all things. It means that in this WORD that is in you as the true meaning of your existence and your being you come to be your true self. It means that in this WORD, you are cleansed of all that is false and dark and dead. Aligned with the principle of your being, you come to be healed of all your infirmities of body, soul and mind.

Therefore, when St Luke says, “And it came to be that when the crowd was pressing upon Him to hear the WORD of God,” one catches a hidden meaning. They were wanting to hear the word or the teaching of God that came directly from the Mouth of the WORD of God Himself, the WORD who Himself had “come” to the prophets with a divine word that always came to be a determining event in the history of Israel – determining because it was itself an event that showed forth the event that was yet to come, when the WORD of God would Himself come to be flesh and dwell among us in order to become one of us, even to the point of sharing with us in our death, in order to raise us up from our grave – as the prophets foretold (e.g., Eze 37:12ff.) – and bring us into the inheritance of Israel, which, as the WORD of the LORD said to Moses, is the LORD Jesus Christ Himself (Num 18:20).

We begin to see why the crowd was pressing upon Him to hear the WORD of His teaching as He stood on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The WORD of His teaching is this WORD of Faith that is in your mouth and in your heart as the deepest truth or principle of who and what you are. It is the WORD by whom the Father spoke the world into being (Ps 33:9) and made it very good. It is the WORD whose glory the heavens declare, whose handiwork the sky (firmament) proclaims, given to Israel as testimonies that make even infants wise (such as the Theotokos, and St JnBapt) and gladden the heart, as a commandment that is brilliant with light and illumines the eyes (Ps 18 LXX), as judgments that are true and which are more desirable than gold and precious stone. This is the WORD who was given to the prophet Isaiah as a cleansing and sanctifying fiery coal, to Ezekiel as a scroll and which he was given to eat, and which was sweeter than honey to his taste. This WORD of God the crowd was pressing to hear was a teaching that healed, a healing of soul and body that taught and made wise, for it was from the WORD Himself directly, the WORD who was in the beginning with the Father and through whom all things came to be.

It says that He, the WORD of God, was standing by the shore of the Sea of Galilee, teaching the people. One sees very clearly that this WORD of the LORD has come to the people, the laity (laos), directly in the same way He came, for example, or rather happened to the prophet, Ezekiel (Eze 1:1-3). That is to say, the WORD of the LORD cameto Ezekiel and the prophets as an event; but here He comes to the people, “standing” before them in the flesh, “by the shore of the Sea of Galilee,” in the event of His Incarnation, the event that all the events of the WORD of the LORD that happened to the prophets were all about, the event wherein He becomes perfectly one with us that we might become perfectly one with Him. And, when He steps into the boat, one sees clearly Ezekiel’s vision of the LORD coming on a “sweeping wind, with a great cloud (or chariot) on it, with brightness all around it and gleaming with fire,” (Eze 1:4), i.e., one sees the mystery of the Virgin Birth when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, just as He had overshadowed the temple several times in the OT, and the WORD of God was conceived in her womb to become flesh, showing her to be the Temple of God that the worship of the OT was all about, and her Son, the Son of God, to be the WORD of God that the WORD of the prophets was all about.

One therefore now sees the “back” story of this WORD of God the word of whose teaching the crowd was pressing to hear, how this WORD of God, in His Holy Spirit,
“emptied Himself,” or “let Himself down” into the world to live among men in order to draw them up out of their graves and lead them to the shore of the desired haven of the Kingdom of Heaven (Ps 106:30 LXX). And one now begins to see how His command to Simon Peter, to put out into the deep and let down his nets (now cleansed, by the way – cf. v. 2) for a catch is the same movement of the mystery of His own blessed Incarnation.

Do you see how the WORD of the LORD is happening to Simon in the same way it happened to the prophets, not as an idea but as an event that “shows forth” an inner, heavenly meaning. And, we know what this inner meaning is not just from the LORD’s word this morning --- henceforth, you shall become “fishers of men” – but also from the hymn of the Church on Holy Pentecost: “Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise. For sending down upon them Thy Holy Spirit (as Simon lets down his net), Thou didst draw the whole world into Thy net!” Do you see that the LORD is calling Simon, James and John just as He called the prophets. Even St Peter’s “Depart from me,” reminds us of Isaiah’s “Woe is me” when the WORD of the LORD called Him (Isa 6:5); but these will not be preachers of the WORD of the LORD who is to come, but of the WORD of the LORD who has come to be in the flesh, and has penetrated down into the depths of our heart (Heb 4:12)to raise us up from death to life in the divine net of His Holy Spirit through the WORD of the LORD that is the WORD of Faith that the apostles preach!

This WORD of the apostles’ preaching is the prophets’ WORD of the LORD Who became flesh like us, so that we can become Spirit like Him. This WORD of the apostles’ preaching is the WORD of Christ’s Holy Church that is His Body, the crowd (laos) of the faithful pressing upon Him, worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth, in the WORD that was in the Beginning, the WORD that is in us as our true meaning, the WORD Who raises us to life, the WORD Who cleanses us and heals us. We can become the fish in this morning’s Gospel being raised up by the net of the Holy Spirit into the boat in order to be brought to the shore of Heaven if we would but join the crowd pressing upon the LORD to receive the life-creating and healing WORD of His teaching into our mouth and into our heart, and to do it so that it, He, comes to be our life. Amen!