Pondering for Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Readings for John Wycliffe Priest and Prophetic Witness, 1384

 Sirach 43:26-33   Psalm 33:4-11 Hebrews 4:12-16 Mark 4:13-20

“And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20)

This is a different Gospel from yesterday but the same words about the good soil.  It just so happens that this is the Gospel reading for John Wycliffe.  And, for the record he did clear his mind for the purpose of receiving divine enlightenment as we all can to make us good soil.   “Born in Yorkshire, England, around 1330, Wycliffe was educated at Oxford. Although he served as a parish priest, he spent most of his vocation teaching theology and philosophy at Oxford and was celebrated for his academic achievements. (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 30)

I think I too share much of Wycliffe’s theological and church ideas. “A number of Wycliffe’s radical ideas got worked out in the centuries that followed, as the movement toward reformation gained momentum. Wycliffe believed that believers could have a direct, unmediated relationship with God, not requiring the intervention of the Church or its priesthood.  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 30) I preach this all the time. I tell my parishioners that when I tell them that God wants to talk with them, my job is done.  They can go direct.

Like Holy Water, water that has been blessed, it contains the essence of the Holy Spirit. So it is also with the Sacraments in Consubstantiation. “The tables turned dramatically when Wycliffe questioned the Eucharistic doctrine of transubstantiation. He believed that the underlying philosophy was problematic and that the popular piety flowing from it led inevitably to superstitious behaviors. He was condemned for his Eucharistic views in 1381. Although Wycliffe had nothing to do with inciting the Peasants’ Revolt of the same year, he was an easy target for blame.  He retired, left Oxford, and died three years later in Leicestershire. (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 30)  I also like the Trinitarian presence of the burning bush, (Exodus 3) it was bush, it was fire and it was voice. It never stopped being any of the 3 but were all present. This is another example of Consubstantiation, God’s Way of being with us regardless of the so called laws of physics.

“Later reformers John Hus (July 6) and Martin Luther (February 18) acknowledged their debt to Wycliffe.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 30)

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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