The Readings: Judges 14:20––15:20; Acts 7:17-29; John 4:43-54
The foxes and the torches: for one stretch of the story’s history we were invited to enjoy the trickster Samson pulling another one on the Philistines. Now, impossible to escape the sadness of it all. The Timnite and his daughter (Samson’s betrothed): what were their names? The moral logic of the protagonists (15:3, 7, 10, 11), fitting for the playground (“he hit me first”)—but they are no longer children. Samson calls on the LORD for water, and receives it. The LORD can give Samson what he asks for, but how to give him what he has no idea that he needs?
Re Stephen’s speech, recall William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past” (Requiem for a Nun). So giving a truthful account of our past…
John’s narrative contains two apparent non sequiturs, both attributed to Jesus (vv.44, 48 [in which ‘you’ is plural in both occurrences]), and commentators have long sought to make sense of them—without apparent success. But, bottom line, Jesus’ word (“your son will live”) is reliable, and the royal official believes. ‘Believe’—another word important to this Gospel. Michael Gorman, focusing on Paul, offers this definition of faith: “Faith is that response to God’s initiative that opens the gates of self to God’s transforming power” (Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross).