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A Real Man Cries For His Loved Ones

Say, Just got back from church. Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent. The First Reading is from Ezekiel 37:12-14; Second Reading from Romans 8:8-11 and Gospel Reading from John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45. Normally, when I write my discourse, I read the Sunday Gospel Reading, then take into account what was preached in the homily at church, and in recent times what Father Michael may have written in his 'Your Grace is Sufficient' and then just spontaneously type away. I was going to do just that today but then decided, what is the rush?, I am now retired! I do not have to rush something out because I have to prepare to go to work the next day. I am no longer working! As a retiree, I have all the time in the world! I write, when I want to write, what I want to write and how I want to write. It is like I am on 'holidays'! Recently I wrote a note of advice about seeing beyond 'worldly' seeing. I also wrote about seeing God in, through and beyond everything. I also advised that just as the 'worldly' cannot see the 'spirit'; that God, the Spirit Father cannot see the 'worldly'! Normally, therefore, when I write my spiritual discourses I see beyond the 'worldly' i.e. 'beyond the beyond' i.e. I have to rise above my worldly self, worldly sight and worldly knowledge. But that is writing spontaneously in the spirit! Now that I have the time, I should be writing 'beyond the beyond the beyond'! I do not have to write spontaneously. I draw my gun but I do not have to shoot. I go through the pretext of shooting but am not actually shooting and then draw back my gun and say to myself - the point is made but there are more important things in life than the initial answer or immediate reflex. Sometimes what is not said is probably more poignantly spiritual. I shall illustrate what I mean in my discourse today. So I will first go 'beyond the beyond'; followed by going 'beyond the beyond the beyond'! You will note that all three readings today relate to making the dead come alive. The basic problem with this is the inherent or natural tendency for the worldly-minded who fear death or mortality to want to stay alive or wish that when and if they should die, they might bodily or physically come alive again. It would be trite for me to simply say that the obvious answer or solution is to dispel the fear of mortality or death or alternatively in plain terms to accept that we are sure to die and that we will never live again, at least not as if we were before our death. You see, people caught in this trap or time or 'being' warp, cannot see what is in front of them. They 'worldly' see but are 'spiritually' blind! Take the First Reading for example. It is misconceived when you take it out of context. One should also read the earlier paragraphs 1-11 of Chapter 37 of Ezekiel relating to the prophesy of 'The Valley of Dry Bones'. Do not be turned off by the macabre Frankenstein-like context however. 1 The hand of Yahweh was on me; he carried me away by the spirit of Yahweh and set me down in the middle of the valley, a valley full of bones. 2 He made me walk up and down and all around among them. There were vast quantities of these bones on the floor of the valley; and they were completely dry. 3 He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I said, 'You know, Lord Yahweh.' 4 He said, 'Prophesy over these bones. Say, "Dry bones, hear the word of Yahweh. 5 The Lord Yahweh says this to these bones: I am now going to make breath enter you, and you will live. 6 I shall put sinews on you, I shall make flesh grow on you, I shall cover you with skin and give you breath, and you will live; and you will know that I am Yahweh." ' 7 I prophesied as I had been ordered. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a clattering sound; it was the bones coming together. 8 And as I looked, they were covered with sinews; flesh was growing on them and skin was covering them, yet there was no breath in them. 9 He said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man. Say to the breath, "The Lord Yahweh says this: Come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead, so that they come to life!" ' 10 I prophesied as he had ordered me,

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and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army. 11 Then he said, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They keep saying, "Our bones are dry, our hope has gone; we are done for." 12 So, prophesy. Say to them, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I am now going to open your graves; I shall raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. 13 And you will know that I am Yahweh, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people, 14 and put my spirit in you, and you revive, and I resettle you on your own soil. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken and done this -- declares the Lord Yahweh." ' Now, you cannot get more dead than dry bones! But there are many layers or levels of death just as there are many layers or levels of life. Everything is relative! Everything is figurative! I mean it also as a pun, that you have to 'figure' it out. Some people are more dead than alive and others are more alive than dead. Metaphorically, in times of 'eternity' we are already the 'living' dead! When you study this passage, looking 'beyond the beyond', you will see that the dead at its deadest, as 'dry bones' were brought back to life, firstly as 'flesh' but comatose (Ezekiel 37:8), then as 'worldly' life (Ezekiel 37:10), but it was not 'eternal' (as in the New Jerusalem) until it had the 'spirit' (Ezekiel 37:14). Take time to ponder the difference between 'immortality' and 'eternity'. An 'immortal' 'worldly' being is a different thing from an 'eternal' 'spirit' being. If you are looking for the former, go and study Taoism and about the Eight Immortals of Taoism! But looking 'beyond the beyond the beyond' the prophesy has nothing to do with graduated forms of life; for as Jesus said flesh is flesh and spirit is spirit (John 3:6) and render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what belongs to God (Matthew 22:21). The spiritual prophesy is instead about the quality, the strength and fortitude in seeing beyond worldly form and time and other worldly concepts or perceptions, and definitely beyond the constraint of self-ego or selfconsciousness, to spiritually or having the kind of eternal spirit that sees hope in hopelessness! God's covenant to "put my spirit in you" in Ezekiel 37:13 was in relation to the cry for help in despair of - "Our bones are dry, our hope has gone; we are done for." in Ezekiel 37:11. In the worldly life of total despair and suffering, there is no greater hopelessness than death! Resurrection is just a spiritual metaphor for seeing hope in hopelessness. It is just a code name for seeing eternity beyond mortality. Now to the Second Reading in Romans 8:8-11:8 and those who live by their natural [worldly unspiritual] inclinations can never be pleasing to God. 9 You, however, (should) live not by your natural [worldly unspiritual] inclinations, but by the Spirit, since the Spirit of God has made a home in you. Indeed, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But when Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is alive because you have been justified; 11 and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead has made his home in you, then he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you. Looking at this passage 'beyond the beyond', you can see that we are already 'walking' dead in our worldly being. We are already 'dead' in our mortal sins, in a figurative sense. We will reap what we sow and will continue 'ascending and descending' Jacob's Ladder! We can only be 'justified' if we turn ourselves around. Our salvation lies in 'rising' above our worldly selves. That is what is meant by being raised from the dead when the spirit is in you. The spirit son of God is however already in you, just that you are lost to its existence, because you 'the sheep' are lost in your alter ego of 'the goat'. God has not made a home there despite St. Paul's odd choice of words, but even though you are 'lost sheep', God the Spirt Father will not desert you, he is with you always, in the 'spirit'! We are 'justified' when we make the journey hone of the Lost Prodigal Son. Looking at the passage 'beyond the beyond the beyond', the 'sheep' has nothing to do with the 'goats'; and somehow St Paul has lost sight of this vital fact; for how can God 'give life to our mortal bodies'? For, how can 'goats' be eternally 'saved'? If resurrection is of the 'goat', as in the resurrection of Lazarus, which we will come to later, then if we as goats were to live again we will

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only have to die again! That is not eternal salvation! But more importantly, how can the 'lost sheep', the eternal spirit be or need to be resurrected? Before the Fall of Adam, he was already an eternal spirit son of God! His exile as a mortal being is in spiritual terms only him lost as in a 'lost sheep' or as in the 'Lost Prodigal Son'. If we go to heaven we are actually returning home; it is not as if we are going to a strange new place! Jesus died as incarnate Son of Man. But as eternal Son of God how could He die? Why would He require resurrection? Why did He need to be resurrected in the Spirit? He is already the Eternal Spirit! Before Abraham He was and is! There is no concept of 'death' in 'eternity'! Now to the Gospel Reading. I will not spend too much time on it, as I had recently sent you my writing on reading the Gospel of John as if it were the Gospel of Lazarus. Looking at the passage 'beyond the beyond', we need only focus on John 11:25-26, where Jesus said:- "I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Please read this again and again, like a refrain, until you commit it to memory. One hint. Read it and listen to the words as if you were Martha and Jesus was talking directly to you. Imagine the future did not come or will ever exist; that Jesus did not die later on the Cross at Calvary Hill, nor need we trouble ourselves with whether Jesus died on the Cross and was later resurrected. Let me put it in simple English. Jesus is as if saying here in the present tense - 'I am here before you right now as a mortal man, but I am the eternal Spirit Son of God incarnated as Son of Man. Note that I am Eternal Life in the Spirit. In the Spirit, before Abraham I am. I am therefore the Resurrection and the Life! If you believe that like me you are also an eternal spirit son of man, then when you die as a mortal son of man, nevertheless as the eternal spirit son of God you will live forever, you will never die! When you go back to the Spirit Father, you will all be 'resurrected' in our eternal spirit' It was like a comedy of errors! Martha was speaking in worldly terms and Jesus was however talking in spiritual terms. They were talking at cross purposes, at different frequencies. Martha was talking of the resurrection of the human body, as was the Jewish belief, of dead bodies coming back to life (refer back to the misconception of the First Reading about the Valley of Dry Bones). Jesus was talking in terms of asking Martha to believe in him as the Eternal Spirit through understanding first that she is also a spirit. Jesus was more or less saying to her that her spirit is eternal life itself! But you must admit, you could not have greater faith in God than Martha! She said to Jesus at John 11:21-22 :- 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.' Later when Jesus encountered the weeping Mary at the tomb, she fell down at her feet saying to him the same thing 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.' (John 11:32). It looked like fait accompli. It had to be done. Jesus just had to perform a miracle and bring Lazarus back to mortal life! Looking at the passage 'beyond the beyond the beyond' what stood out for me was how Jesus was so much a man, a real man, a real human being. Yes, he was not just incarnate Son of Man; he was also Son of God; he was also the Eternal Spirit. But more important from our human perspective seeking God in our imperfect spiritual understanding, is the fact that he was like us. He was just a man after all! That epitomises his true humanity! He was just a man! Remember the musical 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and the song 'I don't know how to love him' sung by Mary Magdelene in the show. Remember the lines - 'He's a man; He's just a man'? It is stated in John 11:5 - 'Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus.' Earlier I cited what Mary Magdelene said at John 11:32. Let us continue on at and from John 11:33-36 'Therefore, when Jesu saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. ... Jesus wept. Then the Jews said said, 'See how He loved him!' ' Can you imagine Jesus crying and weeping? If anything, for this simple fact alone, we should all become Christians! As spirit 'Lost Prodigal Sons', we see how loving and compassionate and forgiving the Christian God, our Spirit Father is; when we know and see Jesus in this gospel passage crying for Lazarus, his beloved companion ('See how He loved him!'), crying because

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Mary is crying, crying because he feels the grief in the congregation crying. If God can cry for love and grief, it is alright for us to cry for love and grief. It is alright for a man to cry. It is alright to laugh and be happy. It is alright to make (viz - Wedding at Canna) and drink wine (viz - Last Supper)! It is alright to get angry if someone upsets your father - refer Luke 19:45-46 - when Jesus chased away the moneylenders and merchants from the temple. While we are at this point in Luke Gospel, refer to Luke 19 at the earlier paragraphs 41-42. That passage is about Jesus coming down from the Mount of Olives and when he came within sight of Jerusalem he shed tears over it as he said to his disciples - "If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace! But alas, it is hidden from your eyes!" That is or was the only other occasion in the Gospels that Jesus cried. Those were tears of sadness of disharmony and discord that Jesus shed for Jerusalem, not tears of love and grief like he did out of love and grief for Lazarus. It has not changed! The situation is the same today! The Jews still do not know the 'message of peace'. When you think of the Jews and the trouble in the Middle East remember that Jesus shed tears when he looked into the future of Jerusalem! But more, when you look 'beyond the beyond the beyond', at the minor details, you wonder why as to the 'fait accompli'! It is like as if it were that all these biblical characters, St. John the Baptist and Mother Mary, then Martha, Mary Magdalene and Lazarus, and by extension, all the thirteen disciples (including Judas) were all pre-destined to play their respective roles, in the divine mission of Jesus on Earth. Why did Jesus say (when Martha and Mary sent him the message - 'Lord, behold he whom You love is sick' (John 11:3)) - "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." Further, why did Jesus, when he received the message, why did he stay two more days in the place where He was (John 11:6)? Then when he decided to leave for Bethany why did he understate the urgency to the disciples "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up" (John 11:11); which prompted this response from his disciples - 'Lord, if he sleeps he will get well' (John 11:12). It was then that Jesus got serious and said plainly - "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him." (John 11:14-15). Does that sound cryptical or more like that things were preplanned? And what exactly did Thomas meant or was he being sarcastic when he retorted - 'Let us go, that we may die with him.' (John 11:16). And before Jesus performed the resurrection of Lazarus, he lifted his eyes (to heaven) and said "Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I knew indeed that you always hear me. But I speak for the sake of all these who stand round me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me." (John 11;41-42). If this is not part of God's divine plan, how else would you interpret it? If it was not, it could have ended up a pantomime or pandemonium! But nonetheless, we have to come down to Earth; or should I say, the Son of Man has to come down to Earth! He is just a man! He must show worldly feelings of the flesh! Not because as a man he is or might be imperfect. But that what is perfect in man, in the spirit son of God, that will last eternally is in fact eternal love! God is eternal love! Love that is eternal is love that you feel for the people you love; that sort of love that moves you to tears for the people you love. That is the sort of love that moves the 'eternal spirit' in you! So, when Jesus called out to dead Lazarus - "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:43), he was doing so and calling so in the 'spirit'. Why do I think so? This is clearly discerned in his next instruction in John 11:44 :- "Take off his grave clothes, and let him go." To be resurrected you have to come out in your eternal 'spirit' but to set the 'spirit' free the worldly has has to untie the worldly bonds that bind the 'sheep' in the 'goat', that binds the eternally alive in mortal death, that keeps the eternal angels of God 'ascending and descending' Jacob's Ladder. Love and God Bless! Chuan 6/4/14

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