October 3, 2015
“From the Beginning of Creation”
The setting of a Scripture passage can be a good tool for its understanding. The events in this passage of Mark 10: 2-16, as well as the conversations and Jesus' teachings we will hear next Sunday, take place as Jesus is journeying toward Jerusalem.
In the passage, Jesus brings up God's plan “from the beginning of creation.” The plan of God's love and goodness gives the guidelines and standards for human relationships and the order of all creation.
Our lives may not always reflect that plan, as a result of sins. So is the reality of our world.
Jesus is now on the way to Jerusalem. There, by his passion, crucifixion and resurrection, he will restore the original plan of God. Moreover, all creation is redeemed by his blood. We are no longer just God's creation. We are now God's children, brothers and sisters of Christ (2nd Reading, Hebrew 2:11)
Though we are not there yet, we know and believe that the fullness of God's Kingdom is the true fulfillment of God's plan of love. There, we will be with God forever.
Thus, Pope Francis reminded us, “Our life is not a pointless wandering. We have a sure goal: the house of the Father.” 
 Twitter, Pontifex, October 1, 2015.
September 26, 2015
In or Out
The disciples focus on separation, and distinguish who’s in and who’s out. Their criteria is self-centered, “He does not follow us.” One also wonders if the disciples are jealous or embarrassed. A few verses prior to this incident, they were “unable” to drive out a demon in a boy (v. 18). Yet, they then “were discussing among themselves who was the greatest” (v. 34, last week’s Gospel).
Jesus is about the universality of God’s Kingdom. There are rooms for those “who do mighty deeds in [his] name” as well as “the little ones.” In fact, he safeguards the little ones. And he rewards those who offer the smallest gesture of kindness to those who belongs to him.
What small gesture can I offer to invite and welcome people into God’s Family?
September 19, 2015
Some years ago, Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code with the premise that some people in the Catholic Church have a secret to hide in order to stay in power.
The disciples in this Gospel passage of Mark 9: 30-37 also have a secret that they want to keep from Jesus. Their secret is also about power.
Jesus himself has a secret. In this passage, he is journeying with his disciples, and he does “not want anyone to know about it.” To them alone, Jesus teaches the secret of who he is: the one who suffers and dies to give the whole humanity life when he rises again. That is his secret, the secret of loving service to the point of laying down his life for his friends.
The disciples did not understand it then when Jesus taught them the lesson by his words.
But once Jesus taught them the lesson by his action – his death on the cross and his resurrection, they then understood it.
And the disciples themselves would follow his example. They got the secret then.
How well do I know Jesus' secret? And am I ready to live it?
September 12, 2015
Having the Right Answer. Is It Enough?
The Gospel readings selected for the previous two Sundays prepared us for today's passage.
Two weeks ago, Mark portrayed Jesus as the great preacher. He outsmarted the Pharisees and scribes who questioned him.
Last week, Mark showed us Jesus' power in his miracles. The witnesses acclaimed, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
By human standards, Jesus is now at the height of his success and popularity.
This explains why people think he might be John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets.
Then the location where Jesus asks his disciples the question of who he is adds another twist to the conversation. This conversation takes place while they are on their way to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. The city was built by the ruler of the area to be his capital. He named it after Caesar Augustus, his political patron. But there was another city already named Caesarea. So to distinguish his new city, the ruler added a second name to it. And the ruler's name happened to be Philip. He in fact named the city after himself.
In the vicinity of this city of worldly political power and alliance, Jesus asks the disciples if they know who he is. Peter knows Jesus' title, “You are the Christ.” Yet, Peter does not understand what that means.
What is my answer if Jesus asks me today, “Who do you say that I am?” And do I know what my answer means? And am I ready for it?