Fr. Donald Senior, C.P.
Bill Gaventa and David Morstad are discussing. Toggle Comments
I was struck by the imagery presented. Access and inclusion. Reaching out and drawing in. Breathing out and breathing in – what a marvelous metaphor for the life of the church in the world. Thank you Father Don.
Fr. Senior could not be present for an afternoon discussion group. Below is the handout shared by Dr.Candida Moss, Notre Dame, who came to lead the discussion group.New Testament Studies and Disability
Candida R. Moss
University of Notre Dame
Approaches to Disability in NT Scholarship
Demonic Possession and Epilepsy
2. Theological 1- Soteriology
Relationship between Sin and Disability
Metaphors of Healing – Jesus the Physician
3. Theological 2 – Analogical
Outsiders, Aliens, Sinners
4. Functional / Historically Diagnostic
(A) Matt. 13:15-16
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
(B) Mark 5:25-33
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
(C) John 9:1-11
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
(D) 2 Cor. 12:1-10
It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Rev. 21:1-3 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
Avalos, Hector. Healthcare and the Rise of Christianity. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999. Here Avalos offers an alternative vision of the spread of Christianity predicated on the free healthcare that it offered to the poor.
Avalos, Hector, Jeremy Schipper, and Sarah Melcher, eds. This Abled Body: Rethinking Disabilities in Biblical Studies. Semeia Studies 55. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007. The first collection of essays on disability in the Bible, this volume focuses more on the Old Testament than the New.
Capps, Donald. Jesus the Village Psychiatrist. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. A pastoral analysis of the gospels which argues that Jesus’ healing stories are akin to the work of modern day psychiatrists. Employs a diagnostic model.
Kelley, Nicole. “The Deformed Child in Ancient Christianity” in Children in Ancient Christianity. Edited by Cornelia B. Horn and Robert R. Phenix. STAC 58. Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen, 2009.
Lawrence, Louise, “Exploring the Sense-scape of the Gospel of Mark.” Journal for the Study of New Testament 33:4 (2011): 387-397. Sensory-critical analysis of Mark which argues that the focus on audition is a deliberate effort to reject imperial values.
Moss, Candida R. “The Man with the Flow of Power: Porous Bodies in Mark 5:25-34.” Journal of Biblical Literature 129:3 (2010): 507-519. Uses ancient medical theories of disease to argue that the body of Jesus is fundamentally weak.
——“Heavenly Healing: Eschatological Cleansing and the Resurrection of the Dead in the Early Church.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 79: 3 (2011) 1-27. Discusses the eradication of disability in early Christian constructions of resurrected bodies.
——“Blurred Vision and Ethical Confusion: The Rhetorical Function of Matt 6:22-23,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73:4 (2011): 757-76. Examines the rhetorical function of imagery of blindness and medical conceptions of blindness in the ancient world.
Moss, Candida R. and Jeremy Schipper. Disability Studies and Biblical Studies. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011. This collection of essays is a dialogue between disability studies and feminism, queer theory, Foucault, reception history, source criticism and ancient medicine.
Parsons, Mikeal. Body and Character in Luke and Acts: The Subversion of Physiognomy in Early Christianity. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006. Uses Greek Physiognomical treatises to analyze the healing miracles in the Luke-Acts.
Pilch, John J. “Healing in Mark: A Social Science Analysis.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 15 (1985): 142-50.
——“The Health Care System in Matthew: A Social Science Analysis.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 16 (1986): 102-6.
——“Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts.” Pages 181-209 in Jerome H. Neyrey, editor, The Social World of Luke-Acts: A Handbook of Models for Interpretation. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991.
Rose, Martha A. The Staff of Oedipus: Transforming Disability in Ancient Greece. Corporealities. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003. One of the standard treatments of diability in classical literature, Rose uses blindness as her entrée into the positive and negative connotations of disability in the ancient world.
Notes of Fr.Senior’s talk taken by Bill Gaventa
Included, something included, encased in something….
Access leans towards perspective of person on the outside. Inclusion the vantage point of the person on the inside..
“Dancing as fast as I can.” Woman whose life fell apart, into depression. Doctor, “You do know how to breathe in and breathe out.” Later she saw that as a turning point. Image to use for this week.
Ministry is something like breathing, extending of life to the farthest limits, and a drawing in. Reaching out and drawing in. Breathing out and drawing in. Wide embrace and drawing in the whole community, washed and unwashed. Outreach beyond the boundaries. Drawing in. Extraordinary rapport with those on the margins. Importance of the healing stories of people on the margins. Healing was physical transformation but also the dissolving of psychological isolation. Boundary breaking nature of the healing stories in the NT. Reach across the boundaries of life and death.
Distinction between cure and healing. Healing more profound in psychological, social justice perspective.
Lost sheep, son, coin…radical joy over the embrace of those on the outside. In many more stories, draws people in to community, and calls community to embrace. Defended their rights to belong. Those devalued by others were capable. Saw primary mission as “restoring Israel,” but when confronted with a Gentile, he showed compassion. Community later took that on as its mission.
Drawing In, Breathing In
Did not come to found a church. Saw vocation as restoration. Ragtag 12, will sit on the thrones of the House of Israel. “You can eat your way through the Gospels.” Evocative of meals in dessert with manna and quail. All signs of the communion, the gathering of everyone, Isaiah 25, set a banquet for Israel.
Mission of breathing out and breathe in would lead to his death. Crossed many boundaries. Died because of the way he lived. A transcendent God. Ground of being and foundation of his mission.
An intuition of the mission…God embodies the mission, love surging out into creation, into the life of the people and their history, and intent is draw all creation into God’s vitality and being. Ultimate life act. Divine rhythm of life. God of Israel, but also God of the nations. Stand over against in terms of purity, at other times absorbing parts of the nations, or their use in cleansing the nation of Israel. Jonah, gets depressed when the outcast, when they repent.
Be careful and don’t try to make people happier than they want to be. Tension between identity and community, election as special people and yet the call to the nations, the children of Abraham. Election and call to mission.
Paul: Practiced exclusion in a violent way at the beginning. Transformed by the vision. You do to them, you do to me. Blinded by love, he sees truth. Acute embarrassment of his early role in his letters. His account of the transformation is different than what Luke says. God had set him apart from his birth. Jeremiah, “the Lord called me from birth, to be a light to the nations.” All people, Jews and Gentiles, all embraced. God identified not only with the center but also those on the margins. Defining memories and symbols of the Bible, Paul saw anew in Jesus Christ.
Paul had some physical disability, rejected by the leaders of his own community, held faith in a “fragile, earthen vessel.” Urge communities to avoid factions and divisions. I Corinthians 1:31. From the center of God’s love at the center, body of Christ would give its greatest honor to its weakest members. Christ is our peace, broken down the wall of enmity, create one new person in place of two, establishing peace, preaching peace to you far off and those near, where we both have access.”
Breathing out, breathing in…Reaching out, drawing in, fundamental mission of the church. Reach out to include. Not optional views or choices, but the fundamental parts of the Christian mission.
Experience of exclusion of so many people also illumines and provides wisdom for so many challenges of our time. Poor, ideology, social and religious prejudice, Islamophobia, anti-semiticism, abuse of children vs protection of power and role, Ability and strength that gives people strength to cross boundaries.
We are human beings first, before Christian, Jewish, Islam.
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