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How Does One “Konek Konek”? III

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The series of articles on this blog about “konek-konek” arose from a question regarding how certain pastors/popular preachers relate one passage of the Scriptures with another one. This phenomenon has its “Catholic” origins from the Fathers of the Church who sought to explain Scriptures using Scriptures. I have written an article about this with regards to Augustine of Hippo and Guy the Carthusian entitled “Parallel Texts, Textual Resonances and the Liturgy”. My point in that article is that through the free association of ideas, one can — like Guy the Carthusian — link scripture passages with similar ones, and that these “links” are created through the combination of biblical texts heard in the liturgy, especially at Mass and the liturgy of the hours. One can also consciously create those “links” when one — like a St. Augustine — makes a concordantic study of the scriptures and associates one text with another by way of comparison and contrast. Not all can be Augustine however; he had a prodigious memory that allowed him to quote lists of passages even at a time when the Scriptures had no chapters and verses yet!

Nowadays, those who appear to explain the Bible using the Bible are fundamentalists who use tools like “the Chain Reference Bible” and/or lists of biblical passages that are pre-arranged and memorized for the “exposition” of a particular “biblical” topic. There are also preachers — both Catholic and non-Catholic — who make use of the marginal notes and footnotes of the modern translations of the Bible. With regard to this latter, the Jerusalem Bibel, the NAB and the NIV have been for a long time used for facilitating a study of the Scriptures that allows one to understand Scriptures within the whole of salvation history. This is true especially for Catholics who are told that to understand Scriptures they should pay attention to the intention of the human author as well as read the Scriptures “in the same Spirit in which they were written.”

I have also personally made use of the footnotes and marginal notes of the Jerusalem Bible and the New American Bible at one time. But I find it more natural to keep my “biblical associations” either:
(a) with passages in the same book; or
(b) with passages in the Old Testament especially when these are quoted in the passage being read; or
(c) with a passage that was liturgically associated with the passage being read; or
(d) with passages I’ve seen the Fathers of the Church associate with the passage being read.

Such associations were built up in my mind over time — over more than thirty years of reading the Scriptures both as an amateur and a professional. I have tried using the Chain Reference Bible, but I found it “forced” at times. Marginal notes and footnotes still help, but I no longer use the Jerusalem Bible and the New American Bible as often as I did before. The best way to get such associations is through the Sunday eucharitic liturgy. But one will have to pay attention to all the readings, not just on the Gospel, and do an occassional lectio cursiva of the books of Scriptures to make such associations “stick.”

An example of what I call the free association of ideas in the Scriptures through the liturgy is Mark 10:35-45. This is Mark’s account of Jesus’ lesson about “sitting at his right and left” as given to the disciples on the occassion of the request of John and James to sit by him in his glory. The first part of the account is about the request of the sons of Thunder and Jesus’ response to it. The second part is the lesson given by Jesus to the disciples who were offended at the request of the brothers. In the first part of the story, Jesus mentions the cup he is to drink and the baptism he is to undergo. The “cup” that Jesus mentions is readily associated with the “cup” he prays the Father to let pass from him in the garden of Gethsemane. The “baptism” he mentions should make one recall the baptism he receives from the Baptist. In that baptism, something happened that announces the suffering he is to undergo: the Voice from heaven presenting him as the Suffering Servant. Thus both the “cup” and “the baptism” are associated with texts that anticipate the passion and death of Jesus.

The second part of the story has Jesus explaining to the disciples that they should not allow the Gentile model of power and authority to prevail in their group. Rather, the example that they should have is that of the Servant.

whoever would

be great among you
                 must be your servant,

and whoever would be

               first among you
                             must be slave of all.

Note the parallels “great/first” and “servant/slave”. The passage readily evokes the example given by Jesus when he washes the feet of his disciples.

3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. 5 Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.

12 When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Note that the associations are based on keywords. Further study can still yield a more fruitful result, but for now, such associations already helps one see Mark 10:35-45 in its relationship to the passion and death of Jesus and its consequence for the life of the disciples.

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Originally posted 2009-09-22 01:14:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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