From Tom Cornell
- This is from Deacon Tom Cornell, of Peter Maurin Farm in New York
state. Robert Waldrop, OKC
3 Lent A #28
Ex 17, 3-7 + Ps 95 + Rom 5, 1-2. 5-8
The Sign of Peace Vol. I, No. 1
Three months until planting, time for the rain we need. Our
Catholic Worker Farm is really a garden and a house of hospitality on
the land. Our fields lie between two ridges in a watershed, with a
creek passing through to the Hudson River. Beavers expand its
flooding with each dam they build, five of them now. More than half
our fifty acres are wetlands, part of natures purification system.
The water heals the land and the land heals the water. Today there is
no water, no sound of water but fear in a handful of dust.
Drought. Tomorrow it may rain, all day, and the next, we pray.
Water flowed from the rock at Massa and Meribah because the
Lord relented and heard the complaint of an ungrateful and
stiff-necked people. At Jacobs well Jesus spoke to a Samaritan
woman of living water. What do you suppose she thought he meant by
living water? What do you suppose he meant?
On the Cross, blood and water flowed from Jesus side, not
alone, but blood and water. At the altar in a few minutes the deacon
prepare the cup for consecration. First the wine, and then a drop of
The water symbolizes you and me. He prays: By the mystery of this
water and wine may we share in Christs divinity who humbled himself
to share in our humanity. The drop of water disappears into the
darkness of the wine, blood red.
All the monuments of Europe are not worth the life of one
human being, an early Catholic Peace Fellowship activist once said.
They are worth mine, I had to say to myself in rebuttal. I hope I
would not hesitate to die to save, let us say, the Sistine Chapel or
the last copy of Bachs cantatas. It s a sin to kill, not to die.
A generation ago, at the height of the civil rights movement,
terror and death, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther Kings right hand man,
Bayard, a man not known for his piety, stood in meeting to say these
few words: Only the blood of Christ can save the world. I knew
Bayard well, worked with him for years. His words, unexpected, struck
me to the core. Only the blood of Christ....
Bayards inspired words come back to me often. By save the
world, he did not mean an eschatological healing of the Fall. By the
blood of Christ, he may not have meant all that we mean by it. We
believe in Jesus, the Christ, Gods only begotten son, who has broken
the wall between time and eternity, space and utter otherness. We
believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to
come, after the planet we stand on is a cinder or a chunk of ice.
And that we have a part to play in salvation history because, by the
waters of Baptism, we have been incorporated into Christs death and
resurrection. History is long, and we can not see even a few minutes
into the future. But we have a part to play. We know that.
We can water the fields with our own tears or we can water the
fields with the tears of others, called enemies. We can wield the
spear that pierces the side of Christ, or we can turn the spear aside,
or we can receive the wound ourselves. What is it that can save the
world? Armies? Bombs? Nuclear missile shields? Deterrence? Mutual
Assured Destruction? We hear it on all sides. The best people, the
most powerful people tell us. But its not true. Only the blood of
It was not over that afternoon on Calvary. Jesus sacrificial
has atoned once and for all, yes. But the moment the Word took flesh,
time and eternity were wed. Time cracked. At the altar we
recapitulate in an unbloody manner the sacrifice of the Cross. We
go about our daily lives either building the Body of Christ or nailing
it to a cross.
As we leave the sacred place of worship, walk in his
as he did, go where he went. Have no fear, little flock. Set out,
deep waters. There is healing there. Only there.
The Catholic Worker
Peter Maurin Farm
Marlboro, NY 12542-5134