February 24, 2018

2nd Sunday of Lent - B (February 25, 2018)


“My Beloved Son”

We have completed exactly 10 days, which is a quarter, of Lent. 

Today’s Gospel offers us a chance to evaluate our Lenten journey.  It is not about how good a job we have been doing with our Lenten practices.  It is about how much we are becoming truer to our identity as children of God.

This identity is the gift that Jesus, the “beloved Son” of God shares with us by his death on the cross and his resurrection.  The vision of the transfiguration of Jesus calls us to be mindful of the same transformation God has begun in us with our baptism. 
  
At the end of this Lenten journey, as we celebrate the gift of the new and eternal life, may we become more like Jesus Christ, the “beloved Son” of God.    

 Image:  Carl Bloch, Transfiguration of Jesus www.wikipedia.org

February 17, 2018

First Sunday of Lent - B (February 18, 2018)


“The Kingdom of God is at hand”

While in the desert, Jesus confronted the power of Satan and of wild beasts. 

Then, “after John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand’.”

In this short and to-the-point style, Mark introduces the new age proclaimed by Jesus.

Here, Mark also presents a stark contrast of two authorities.   One authority relied on control and power that unjustly arrested John who was sent by God.  The other is the authority of God’s kingdom.  [1]

Lent gives us the time for self-examination – am I building and relying on anything that is not of God’s kingdom?  Then, Lent affords us the time to reorient ourselves to the way of God’s kingdom.  

Image source: www.agnusday.org

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[1] John Petty, www.progressiveinvolvement.com

February 11, 2018

6th Sunday - B (February 11, 2018)


 A Leper Who Breaks Protocols 

“A leper came to Jesus” and spoke to him.
He was breaking social and religious protocols. 

He must have heard of Jesus and his mercy.  What he heard about Jesus must be so consoling that it gave him enough courage to come to Jesus and speak to him.

And Jesus did not disappoint him.  He was “moved with pity” for the man.  Not only did Jesus speak to him, he even “stretched out his hands and touched him.”

We are the Body of Christ in our world today.  Who is the Jesus that we are presenting to people in our thoughts, attitudes, words, and action?  How powerful is Jesus’ mercy that others see in us?


February 3, 2018

5th Sunday - B (February 4, 2018)


Availability


Jesus is available to people, especially those who are in need.  He heals the sick even on the sabbath.  (Last week, we learned that it was a sabbath when he went to the synagogue, and now, he goes to the house of Simon and Andrew from the synagogue).

He makes himself available to God in prayer.  In this way, he also is available to himself and his needs.

And he is available to the mission that God has given him, not allowing success or popularity to tie him down.  Mark recognizes that in this way, Jesus has already accomplished so much while we are still in Chapter 1 of his Gospel. 

Jesus could be so available because of his singlemindedness about God-given mission.  “For this purpose have I come,” says Jesus.



Image source:  www.agnusday.orgwww.agnusday.org

January 27, 2018

4th Sunday - B (January 28, 2018)

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We Are The Presence of God’s Kingdom

The presence of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum is the presence of God’s Kingdom.  And that presence is intolerable for the evil spirit [1].  In fact, the evil spirit cries out on its own and thus betrays itself. 

The Kingdom of God is present in our midst.  With Jesus coming into the world, we now and will always live in that presence. 

Moreover, Jesus entered the synagogue with his disciples who he had just called (last week’s Gospel).  They become a part of God’s Kingdom when they are with Jesus.

It is still the case with us.  We are the presence of God’s Kingdom now.  The closer we are to Jesus the stronger we make present the Kingdom of God, and the more effective we are in dispelling the evil spirits in our world. 


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[1] Francis J. Moloney. The Gospel of Mark, A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 53.
Image source:  www.agnusday.org

January 20, 2018

3rd Sunday - B (January 21, 2018)



This is the Time of Fulfillment

Earlier in the same Chapter 1, Mark summarized the mission and message of John the Baptist.  “John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (1:10)

Now, exactly ten verses later, we learned that John had been arrested.

Guess what Jesus does now.  He arrives on the scene and continues exactly what John had prepared the people for.  He calls people to “Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Jesus also gives the reason for his mission and his message.  “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”

We are now living in this time of fulfillment.  We are living in God’s kingdom. 

Like John, Jesus gave his life for this mission.  He gave his life so that we might live in God’s kingdom

How do I treat his message?  Do I appreciate the gift of being in God’s kingdom that Jesus gave me by his death and resurrection?

 
Image source:  www.agnusday.org


January 14, 2018

2nd Sunday - B (January 14, 2018)

John 1: 35-42

“What are You Looking for?

Jesus asks the two disciples, “What are you looking for?”

He is asking us the same question today.  In fact, every day we need to reply to that question because the answer gives the direction to our lives.

We look for all kinds of things.  We also look for direction from all kinds of people.  We follow celebrities, athletes, writers, philosophers, political leaders….  Most of us also have followers, whether in our children, people who look up to us, or people who follow us on social media, etc.

But we know that only in following Jesus do we find life in its fullness, both in this life and in eternal life.  Thus, St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power” (2nd reading).

It is not what we should look for, but who. 

Let us strive to look for Jesus each day.  

 
Image source:  www.qumran2.net