Tag Archive for 'John the Baptist'

Christmas 2 January 3, 2010

Jeremiah 31:7-13                                                                               

Ephesians 1:3-14                                                                

John 1:1-18

Theaters in Elizabethan times, in which Shakespeare produced his plays for instance, were multi-storied affairs. The stages were like doll’s houses, with two or three stories, each open to the audience. Seating for the audience was also banked in tiers, like a stadium or opera house today. The richer people sat up in the boxes; the poor people – known as groundlings – stood on the ground level. Shakespearean plays also tend to have stories or tiers of action: the high drama – royal battles, Hamlet’s soliloquies – took place on an upper story of the stage; but even Shakespeare’s most serious plays had scenes between “lowlife” characters, which took place at the ground level of the stage and were designed to entertain the groundlings in the audience.

 I thought of all this as I read again the gospel for today, which is the prologue to St. John’s gospel. John doesn’t start out with accounts of shepherds and wise men. Instead he gives us this high drama philosophy: Christ is the Logos, the Word, the structure of meaning through which God the Father created the universe. He was “from the beginning” and “all things were made through him.” He “came into the world” bringing life and light.

Like a Shakespeare play, however, this high drama is interwoven with a lowlife drama for the groundlings. Continue reading ‘Christmas 2 January 3, 2010’

Advent 2 December 6, 2009

Baruch 5:1-9                                                                       

Philippians 1:3-11                                                              

Luke 3:1-16

I had a John the Baptist in my life. His name was Grant Gallup, and he died this past Thanksgiving evening. Grant was a priest who spent his entire active career, as he liked to say “in a fit of absent mindedness,” as vicar of a tiny African American mission in the slums on the West Side of Chicago. In retirement, he went to Managua, Nicaragua, as a representative of the Diocese of Chicago, which had a companion relationship with the Diocese of Nicaragua. There he ran Casa Ave Maria, a house of “pilgrimage and mission” or, as he would sometimes put it, a “halfway house for recovering capitalists.” Continue reading ‘Advent 2 December 6, 2009’