Photo (c) Dayroro Boulus
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity [Continues in Jerusalem till Jan. 30], the Thirteenth Day – Jan. 30, 2022.
Times of hardships. Difficult situations all over the world. The pandemic evolves, creeps invisibly along the coasts and lands, cities. Rich and poor, still dire conditions. After two years of changes, the virus sweeps rampantly and kills one, leaves another one and mutates to new threats. Storms, tsunamis, hurricanes, tempests sway from skies to grounds. Floods inundate and destroy. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will end a bit randomly as Jerusalem is covered with snow. It stops all activities in the City of Eternity.
The Magi certainly passed by nowaday’s Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem. It was a small city at that time, and we can dream or consider that they walked there on their way to Bethlehem. The guiding Star was bowing up there among the stars and heavenly constellation. Flickering or reflecting the Divine project to lead the Magi to the birthplace of the Messiah.
This Sunday, the Byzantine tradition following the Julian calendar proposed to read the Gospel of Saint John ch. 18:35-43. Jesus arrived in Jericho. A blind man was begging on the way. A lot of people were parading around him as Jesus was there. The blind man asked who was there and then started screaming: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus heard him and asked the people to take the blind man to Him.
It is quite intriguing. Yeriho/Jericho, in Hebrew and the local dialects, refers to two interesting roots that could explain the scenery. a) It means “fragrant”, i.e. perfume, sweet odorant, which is good for blind people. It can help them to locate a place. b) It is linked to Yarih, an ancient local deity that describes the Moon. Indeed, the sky can be so bright in Jericho, the 10 000-year-old city. The influence of the constellation is natural in the area… Then, a blind man meets with a “stranger”, Jesus Whom he cannot see. This is also significant. In Hebrew, “river = blind” and is written with the same consonants as “or/עור a]skin” and “or/אור b] light”. The one who normally should see the light is overshadowed by darkness, as covered by skin, the element used to clothe Adam and Eve when they had transgressed the directions given by God. Thus, the man is blind, c] iver/עור.
Is he only a sort of nudnik, a man who can only sit put and beg? No, it appears that he could smell the fragrance of Jesus Who can heal and save. It means a lot of intuition, instinctive discernment and a sense of what revelation implies. Jesus understood: “What do you want me to do for you?” – Master, that I see! (Mâr dehze/ܡܳܪܝ ܕ݁ܶܐܚܙܶܐ, that I recover my sight, that you lift up the darkness that closed my eyes). Jesus answered: “Receive your sight, your faith has saved you” (John 18:42).
We end this Week of Prayer (Jerusalem cycle) with the sight of the Lord, we can see the Lord, from the Manger to the Anastasis (resurrection), the Ascension because He brought a unique fragrance of total freedom and release to the world. As he accompanied the Magi and now maybe, we shall feel that faith can save us. O Lord, save!
(photo: Syriac Prayer of the Lord)