Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jesus and Othniel

Many times I hear in homilies, "Come Judgment Day, if Jesus asks you..." If Jesus asks me anything, I must hang my head, speechless. I have wondered why the Book of Judges was given its name. Why wasn't it called something else, e.g. Book of Leaders, or something. Why "Judges"? This brought to mind that Christ is the true Judge. What if He being Judge is something that causes rejoicing instead of fearing? Therefore, I thought I would do some studying of the judges.

“From there they went against the inhabitants of De'bir. The name of Debir was formerly Kir'iath-se'pher. And Caleb said, ‘He who attacks Kir'iath-se'pher and takes it, I will give him Ach'sah my daughter as wife.’ And Oth'ni-el the son of Ke'naz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; and he gave him Ach'sah his daughter as wife. When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field; and she alighted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to him, Give me a present; since you have set me in the land of the Neg'eb, give me also springs of water.’ And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.” (Judges 1:11-15).

This brings to mind Isaiah 6, where the Lord asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Here, we have Othniel (lion of God) answering, “Here am I; send me.” He conquers the “city of letters or books,” which is worldly wisdom. For his success, Othniel, the lion of God, is given Achsah, Caleb’s daughter, as his wife. As a reward for His work on the cross, Jesus was also given a bride, the Church. “Achsah” means “anklet or adorned.” The Catholic Church is the adornment of Christ. Those baptized into the Church no longer are in the city of worldly wisdom, but are now “Debir,” the sanctuary, the temple of God.

Now, when Achsah came unto Othniel to be his wife, she urged him to ask her father for a field. The Church asks of its Father a field, the world. Ascah alights from her ass, and asks her father to also give her springs due to the land being dry. This brings to remembrance the wedding feast at Cana when the Mother of the Church goes to Jesus, saying, “They have no wine.” The real wine Jesus gives is His blood, on Calvary, upon the cross. The “upper springs” is His blood pouring from His side when His side is pierced, pouring into the chalice, the “nether springs.”

“And the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, forgetting the LORD their God, and serving the Ba'als and the Ashe'roth. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cu'shan-rishatha'im king of Mesopota'mia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. But when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel, who delivered them, Oth'ni-el the son of Ke'naz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel; he went out to war, and the LORD gave Cu'shan-rishatha'im king of Mesopota'mia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. So the land had rest forty years.” (Judges 3:7-10). In the Sacraments of Baptism, Penance, and the Eucharist, God has raised up Jesus to deliver us. Especially in the Eucharist, we see Jesus going to war on the cross, on the altar. We see His victory in His resurrection, when the priest takes Christ’s body and mingling it with the wine, His blood. The Body and Blood are together again, proving Life. So, the land, the Church rests “forty years.”  --TT