In John 21 we read of a third
appearance of the risen Jesus to his disciples--this time at the Sea of Tiberias. The seven disciples are in a boat, and they have
caught no fish that night. Standing on the shore, Jesus says something to them
that may seem enigmatic: "Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something" (John 21:6). We are told that "they cast it, and
were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish" (John 21:6). One may
wonder, "What is significant about the right side?" In TheBook of
the Prophet Ezekiel (47:1,2), we read:
"The facade of the
temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the southern side of the
temple south of the altar...I saw water trickling from the southern side..."
vision, the Prophet Ezekiel describes water as flowing out of the right side
of the temple. The Church understands this vision as having its fulfillment
in the piercing of the crucified-resurrected Lamb, Jesus Christ. St. Thomas a
"Enter then, enter
thou, my soul into the right side of thy crucified Lord, pass through
the holy wound into the most loving Heart of Jesus, which out of love was
pierced by the lance..."(Thomas a Kempis, cited
in Heart of the Redeemer, p.113)
There are ample examples from Church
art over the centuries (depictingSt.
Thomas standing at the right side of Jesus pointing to the wound on the right
side of Jesus' chest; the Roman soldier standing on the right side of Jesus
piercing his side with a lance; paintings depicting Jesus on the cross with his
heart piercedon the right side of his chest,etc.), implying that the Church sees a significance
in the wounded right side of the "Pierced One".Here on the right side we find the source of
apostolic vitality and fruitfulness. Intercessors choose to live close to this
"wound of Love"--"close to the Shepherd's camps" (Songs 1:8) within our hearts.
Through an intentional lifestyle of obedient, sacrificial, merciful love, contemplative
prayer, and a willful "victim-hood" (identifying intimately with the Lamb who
was slain), intercessors "live close" to the source of the "crystal clear
spring", pleading on behalf of others.
Here at the "gate" of Jesus' wounded
side we "draw water at the fountain of salvation" (Is. 12:3), and are drawn
further inward to offer wholeheartedly in union with the Lamb for the life of
the world. "This is the Lord's own gate" (Ps. 118:20). This is the gate to the
sanctuary of his love, the gateway of love--the true "Beautiful Gate" of the
Temple of his Body. In John 10:9, Jesus states plainly, "I am the
gate."Intercessors are led by the Spirit through the "breached wall of the
Temple"--the wounded side of the Lamb--into the sanctuary of his love, to the Altar
of his pierced heart. Here we pray and offer on behalf of others: "That they
might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).Here, heavenly grace for the world flows from
him who is the fountain of love.
Jesus is the one Mediator between God
andhumanity. He is the unique access to
the Heart of the Father. The pierced side of Jesus is the new and living way of
"Through the blood of
Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and
living way He opened for us"(Heb. 10:19-20A).
of Christ occupies a central position, as the focal point, through which
everything passes to the ultimate center in the Father" (Heart of the
Redeemer, p. 21). As Jesus says in John 14:6, "No one comes to the Father
except through me.
are some of the intentional lifestyle choices that I make to identify more
closely with the pierced Lamb of God?
am I currently placing on the "Altar" of Jesus' pierced heart in my