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  • Robert Waldrop
    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 Tom Cornell
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2002
      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

      Tom Cornell
      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 nature’s 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 Jacob’s 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 Christ’s 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 Bach’s 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 King’s 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....”

      Bayard’s 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, God’s 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 Christ’s 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 it’s 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
      footsteps, do
      as he did, go where he went. Have no fear, little flock. Set out,
      into the
      deep waters. There is healing there. Only there.

      The Catholic Worker
      Peter Maurin Farm
      Marlboro, NY 12542-5134
      (845) 236.2542
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