Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jesus: The Next Step on this Earthly Pilgrimage

The ancient theologian Origen had a word for Jesus: autobasilia: he was the walking, talking kingdom, realm, or reign of God in the flesh, walking and talking among us, beginning in Capernaum, a city on the edge of the Sea of Galilee In other words, in Jesus we had, in the flesh not merely the coming of the kingdom, but the very kingdom or commonwealth of God! And Matthew borrows the metaphor of Isaiah's reference to light, and the light that never sets, is what has come to us in Jesus. Repentance is not called forth from us because darkness is descending, but because the light of God has broken the darkness of night.

On the pilgrimage to Santiago, some people liked to take off as early as possible for the next place. I saw many little lights on people's headbands (and LL Bean gift idea) bouncing along like little drops of sunshine, as they would leave the Alburgues before the sun rose, feeling their way up gravel and dirt paths. Time and again I would meet these very same people later in the day with bumps and bruises, scratches and red patches, if not bandages, because they fell along some of the more uneven paths because they were walking in the darkness of early morning. As some of my compadres would tell me, there was an eerie stillness and beauty of walking in the darkness--not in the shadows, unless there was a full moon, but darkness--but there were far fewer falls, bumps, and bruises when walking in the light of the day.

Walk in light, to love and serve God! For the companion of our journey is the autobasilia! Not a bad admonition for pilgrims!