Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The winnowing shovel

Last Sunday our celebrant preached and celebrated at a combination Eucharist and clothing of our new candidate: Sr. Gerry Joseph. Everyone from both convents was here... a rare (and therefore precious) occurence for us these days. Our celebrant is a rare and precious person in herself, always giving more than we anticipate in looking at the scriptures from a different focus and point of view.

Her homily Sunday was no exception. She spoke of a scholar she knows who explains the Gospels from an understanding of the early Greek. The famous words of John the Baptist "His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor..." have apparently been mistranslated. The Greek does not have an adequate counterpart in English for the tool used in the harvesting of grain, but winnowing fork is not it. The closest we could come would be to call it a winnowing shovel (which isn't exactly right either).

Her point was that as John points to the future and to Christ as the one who will follow him, he is not speaking of Jesus the judge so much as Jesus the gatherer... the annointed One who will bring all of the harvest (Israel) back into the barn.

Jesus certainly lived up to this new (for me) interpretation of that passage.


Zanne said...

Works for me too! ;)

Pat said...

I've always struggled with the idea of a loving God/brother being a judge. It might inspire good behavior, but it doesn't inspire love.