August 29, 2015
Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
“Hear and Understand”
This Sunday, we return to the Gospel of Mark.
There are two possible approaches to the message of the passage selected for this Sunday.
First, to look at it from a wider context. Second, from this particular passage.
From the wider context, there is a general theme for what is proclaimed today and the next two Sunday. Today, Mark presents the power of Jesus in his teaching. Next Sunday, the power of Jesus is revealed through one of his miracles. Then, the third Sunday, after having witnessed the power of Jesus, the disciples will be asked who they think Jesus is. Afterwards, Jesus reveals to them his identity.
On the power of Jesus in his words, in this particular passage, Mark reminds us to “hear, and to understand” so that our hearts may never be far from the Lord and his teachings.
August 22, 2015
The Words of Eternal Life
For five weeks now we have listened to almost the whole Chapter 6 from the Gospel According to John.
The disciples have been present since the beginning of this chapter. Each of them must have had his own beginning in his following of Jesus. Nevertheless, they all have witnessed the power of Jesus as he multiplied the five loaves and two fish to feed the five thousand people. They also saw him walking on the sea (though we did not listen to this portion of Chapter 6).
Many may have followed Jesus because they have seen the signs he performed. But in John's understanding, the faith based on seeing signs is weak and superficial.
Earlier in this chapter, it was the crowd, then “the Jews” (referring to those Jews who opposed Jesus) who had a hard time accepting Jesus' words.
Now, it is some of the disciples who find Jesus' saying “hard,” and they no longer accompany him.
Peter and the Twelve, on the contrary, recognize Jesus' words are “the words of eternal life.”
These opposite reactions to Jesus' words bring us back to the words in the Prologue of John's Gospel, “to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.” (1:12)
August 15, 2015
To Believe, To Eat, and To Drink
At the beginning of this Gospel, in the Prologue, John tells us, “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (1: 11- 12, 14).
And now, Jesus tells us how he fulfills this mission that John introduced,
The Son of God has come in human flesh. Not all will accept that, particularly his own. But to those who believe, he gives the gift of himself. Those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have eternal life. And eternal life is being one with the Father and the Son.
The response on our part: to believe, to eat his flesh, and to drink his blood.
August 8, 2015
The One Who Is from God.
The people think they know who Jesus is, “the son of Joseph.” They also know “his father and mother.” What they think they know becomes their obstacle, “How can he say, 'I have come doenw from heaven'?”
They want to box Jesus in, according to their mindsets.
They are not ready to be taught by God.
This Gospel passage seems to challenge us to allow Jesus to teach us about God. That knowledge must be accepted on God's terms, not ours.
Jesus alone knows God because he “is from God, [and] he has seen the Father.”
If we believe in Jesus' words, then we will know God, and receive eternal life.