Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jesus and the wild beasts

Francis X. Clooney SJ has a post at America magazine's blog - With Jesus in the Desert: It's Simple. Here's some of it ....

On this first Sunday of Lent, February 26, we heard a remarkably brief version of Jesus’ time in the desert: “And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” (Mark 1:12-13) No mention of fasting; no detailing of three temptations by Satan. Just the desert, the beasts, Satan, angels .... Mark does not mention fasting, nor does he play up the rigors of the desert, the heat and cold, the dryness, etc. All he says is that Jesus was “with the wild beasts.” While this might be an oblique reference to Psalm 91, the simple words do us well: to be where the wild beasts are, outside civilization, beyond the bounds of what we ordinarily do and ordinarily expect ...

I like to imagine that Jesus wasn't threatened by the wild animals but instead kept them company, preached to them, like in this poem ...

In The Wilderness
- Robert Graves

CHRIST of His gentleness
Thirsting and hungering
Walked in the wilderness;
Soft words of grace He spoke
Unto lost desert-folk
That listened wondering.
He heard the bitterns call
From the ruined palace-wall,
Answered them brotherly.
He held communion
With the she-pelican
Of lonely piety.
Basilisk, cockatrice,
Flocked to his homilies,
With mail of dread device,
With monstrous barbed slings,
With eager dragon-eyes;
Great rats on leather wings,
And poor blind broken things,
Foul in their miseries.
And ever with Him went,
Of all His wanderings
Comrade, with ragged coat,
Gaunt ribs--poor innocent--
Bleeding foot, burning throat,
The guileless old scape-goat;
For forty nights and days
Followed in Jesus' ways,
Sure guard behing Him kept,
Tears like a lover wept.

- Christ in the Wilderness, Moretto da Brescia


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