Friday, May 02, 2014

Listen, learn and exercise

I’m not really an exercise enthusiast, but since developing bursitis in December, I can’t do much walking, so I’m using my Gold’s Gym Power Spin 210 U—or an exercycle.  It keeps track of heart activity, speed, distance and calories.  I’ve figured out if I ride my power spin for 10 minutes at 3 levels of difficulty I burn about 40 calories; 4 times a day would be 160 calories, or one cookie with no chocolate chips. Sigh.


              Photo predates our new carpet and flat screen TV.

Since exercising this way is boring, I’m trying to finish the audio of Jesus of Nazareth, the infancy narratives by Pope Benedict XVI, and have learned a lot, although I could probably learn more if I were reading.  For instance, today I learned that “King of the Jews” which is the title the Magi used, was not known to the Jews, and wasn’t used again in scripture until Pilot said it.  So it is a prefiguring in the infancy stories of the crucifixion.  Also the Magi brought myrrh, an expensive spice used for perfume, spice and anointing the dead. Because of the coming holy day, the women were not able to use myrrh on the body of Jesus and by they time they got to the tomb after the crucifixion, he was already gone, so the myrrh was not used—he was alive, not dead. Benedict uses a lot of Old Testament background and early church fathers.  Very interesting comments about the star made by believers even in the first and second century. It is not at all dogmatic—just provides the research and teaching over the years, even that which isn’t popular today.

“While he was interrogating Jesus, Pilate unexpectedly put this question to the accused: "Where are you from?" Jesus' accusers had called for him to receive the death penalty by dramatically declaring that this Jesus had made himself the Son of God-a capital offense under the law. The "enlight­ened" Roman judge, who had already expressed skepticism regarding the question of truth (cf. Jn 18:38), could easily have found this claim by the accused laughable. And yet he was frightened. The accused had indicated that he was a king, but that his kingdom was "not of this world" ( Jn 18:36).

And then he had alluded to a mysterious origin and purpose, say­ing: "For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth" ( Jn 18:37).All this must have seemed like madness to the Roman judge. And yet he could not shake off the mysterious impres­sion left by this man, so different from those he had met before who resisted Roman domination and fought for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. The Roman judge asks where Jesus is from in order to understand who he really is and what he wants.

The question about Jesus' provenance, as an inquiry after his deeper origin and hence his true being, is also found in other key passages of Saint John's Gospel, and it plays an equally important role in the Synoptic Gospels. For John, as for the Synoptics, it raises a singular paradox. On the one hand, counting against Jesus and his claim to a divine mission, is the fact that people knew exactly where he was from: he does not come from heaven, from "the Father," from "above," as he purports to ( Jn 8:23). No: "Is not this Jesus, whose fa­ther and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" ( Jn 6:42). “

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