January 24, 2015

3rd Sunday - B


Commentary

“This is the Time of Fulfillment”

This passage begins with two time markers in verse 14.   First, John’s arrest indicates the end of the time of preparation that he preached (Mark 1: 2-3) [1].  Second, Jesus arrives in Galilee and begins his preaching.  

A new time has begun.

The word for time used here by Mark is kairos, a special word referring to “a time measured by God’s design.” [2].

God has prepared for this moment.  It has now begun.  “This is the time of fulfillment.”

Like the first disciples, we, as a community, are called and privileged to live in this time.

The following three Sundays (the remainder of Mark, Chapter 1) will give us a blueprint to live in this God’s time of fulfillment.  That blueprint is Jesus, who preaches the Kingdom with a sense of urgency, who defeats evils and brings people to wholeness, who establishes God’s new people in the community he forms, and in the way he lives and serves.

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[1] Mark 1: 2 – 3:  “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.   A voice of one crying out in the desert:  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”

[2] Francis Moloney, The Gospel of Mark, A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 49.

3rd Sunday - B (January 26, 2015)


Readings



January 17, 2015

2nd Sunday - B

Commentary

Who Found Whom?

“We have found the Messiah,” said Andrew to Peter.  Not exactly. [1]   It was John who pointed out the Messiah to Andrew and the other disciple.  They did not actually find him.

Here, at their first meeting, Jesus invited the two disciples to “come, and you will see.”  They followed him.   Then, they stayed with him that day.  

Later, during the last supper, Jesus would invite them again to “remain in him,” and to “remain in his love.”  (15:4, 9).  (In the original Greek text, it is the same verb often translated into English as “to stay,” “to remain,” or “to abide.”) [2]

It is the Lord who finds us, and invites us to be with him.  [3]

And Simon, upon meeting Jesus, receives the name Peter.  This is the name with which he would be known in Jesus’ family.

It is the Lord who gives us our new and true identity – his followers, members of his family. [4]

It is in following and remaining with Jesus that we find ourselves.
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[1] & [3] Francis J. Moloney, SDB. The Gospel of John.  Sacra Pagina Series.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 54.
[2] www.blueletterbible.org
[3]  John Petty, “Progressive Involvement.” Internet address:  www.progressiveinvolvement.com.  Posted on January 13, 2014.

2nd Sunday - B (January 18, 2015)


Readings

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January 11, 2015

Baptism of the Lord - B


Commentary

Beloved Son of God

This short passage from Mark’s Gospel gives two identifications for Jesus.  Together, they teach us a great lesson of God’s way.

Jesus “comes from Nazareth of Galilee,” which in the words of Ched Myers, “Jesus is from Nowheresville.” [1] 

Nazareth is not even mentioned in the Old Testament [2].   At the time of Jesus, some scholars believe the town had no more than 30 people, overshadowed by nearby Sepphoris, Herod Antipas’ capital. [2]

There, in “obscure and tiny” Nazareth [3] Jesus lived and worked as a carpenter.  In the opinions of those who knew him, he was no more than the carpenter.  And his neighbors, the people of Nazareth did not appear to be people of faith (Mark  6: 3-6). [4]

Nazareth is so insignificant that Mark needs to identify it with Galilee.  But Galilee is not much better.  It was an area of a mixed population and mixed religions.  Galilee during the time of the New Testament was “at least half Gentile in population, half pagan in [religion], and bilingual.” [5]  For sure, devout Jews and their religious leaders in Jerusalem looked down upon Galilee and its residents with contempt. 

Yet this man Jesus, who is from “Nazareth of Galilee,” is identified by God as God’s beloved Son, “with whom I am well pleased.”

It is so for us.  The only identification that matters comes from God:  that we are God’s beloved sons and daughters.

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[1] Ched Myers, Binding the Strong Man, 128, quoted by Francis Moloney, The Gospel of Mark, A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 36. 
[2] Raymond Brown, Joseph Fitzmyer, and Roland Murphy, Eds.  The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990; p. 636
[3] Ibid., p. 689.
[4] Ibid., p. 608
[5] Ibid., p. 638



Baptism of the Lord - B (January 11, 2015)


Readings

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January 3, 2015

The Epiphany of the Lord

Commentary

Big Deal and No Big Deal

This is not about the once popular TV gameshow.

It is about God’s way of making known God’s salvation.

It’s no big deal:  Bethlehem, not Jerusalem.  A house, not the king’s palace or the Temple.  Common people: an ordinary couple and their newborn son, not the king, the chief priests or the scribes.

But it’s a big deal.  In fact, it is the big deal:  the presence of God’s only Son is made known to the magi, who represent the gentiles.  The event marks the beginning of God’s salvation for all nations. 

A big star for that. 

With God, the simple and common things become a big deal. 

The light of God continues to shine in us and through us, broken, and insignificant.  Thus, we all become the light, God’s light, by which all nations walk (1st Reading, Isaiah 60: 3)