July 25, 2009


17th Sunday – B
John 6: 1-15

Does God fit my plan?

A large crowd follows Jesus “because they have seen the signs he was performing on the sick” (v.2). It seems that they follow Jesus either because they are curious or because they want to see more signs.

They come with their own agenda. Therefore, after witnessing Jesus multiplying the bread and fish to feed them, they want to make him king (v.15).

Their own agenda prevents them from seeing God’s agenda for them. Their own agenda blocks their ears to hear Jesus’ words that give life. Their own agenda blocks their eyes from seeing Jesus the true bread from heaven.

The crowd wants to fit God into their worldly agenda. Unfortunately, their own agenda prevents them from living in the reality of God’s reign that Jesus has brought them. They want more, but fail to appreciate the gift of God.

July 18, 2009


16th Sunday - B
Mark 6:30:34

Blindness of Worldly Success and False Pride

“Jesus appointed the Twelve that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:14-15). Then, at the beginning of chapter 6 of Mark, Jesus “summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits” (6:7; last week’s Gospel passage).

Mark makes it very clear that the Twelve were sent by Jesus; and that it was by Jesus’ authority that they preached and drove out unclean spirits.

Yet, here the Twelve returned, and “reported all they had done and taught” (6:30). They tell Jesus what they have done, as if it were by their own power.

Moreover, the New American translation uses “report,” a rather mild and neutral verb. In the Greek, the verb used here actually means “announce” or “proclaim.” It is the same verb used by Jesus after he freed the man once possessed by a legion of violent spirits. He said to him, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you" (Mark 5:19).[1]

The Twelve do not just simply report to Jesus. They announce to him what they have done and taught.

And while they think they have done it all, there is still a vast crowd of needy people who track Jesus down to hear him and receive his help. “They are like sheep without a shepherd” (6:34).

The Twelve have allowed temporary successes to blind their eyes to the needs of the people, and pride to blur their minds and hearts from their own need of being Jesus’ disciples.

[1] Moloney, Francis J., The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 128.

July 11, 2009


15th Sunday - B
Mk 6:6b-13

Who Is Qualified to Preach the Gospel?

In the previous weeks, the Gospel passages from Mark portray Jesus in his public ministry. Jesus is constantly on the move, preaching, teaching, and healing to both Jews and gentiles.

Jesus has called the Twelve to follow him in his ministry. Mark says in 3:14 - 15, “He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.” They have learned from what they hear and see, and now, they seem ready to be sent out.

Yet, if we look back over the events since their call to now, we see that the Twelve are not really ready yet. Three weeks ago, we learn of their lack of faith when their boat struggle in the storm. Jesus then reprimands them, “Do you not yet have faith?” (4:40). And even though they have witnessed the power of Jesus’ words and actions, they show no understanding when Jesus heals the woman with hemorrhages. They retort at Jesus, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'" (5:31)

They do not seem ready or qualified to preach, for sure not as Jesus does. And yet, he sends them out.

How about me? Jesus is sending me today. Do I wait until I am qualified or my faith is ready?