Tag Archives: Gospel of Mark

Gospel Reflection for February 18, 2018, 1st Sunday of Lent

15 Feb

Sunday Readings: Genesis 9.8-15; 1 Peter 3.18-22; Mark 1.12-15

“Immediately after the baptism the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert.” – Mark 1.15

The whole of Mark’s gospel unfolds what awakens in Jesus after living in harmony with God and all creation in the desert. “God’s reign has come near,” Jesus announces. God is near, within, and around us–the reality in which Jesus lived in the desert.

Jesus’ relationship with God mirrors the relationship to which he calls us. We are God’s beloved. The Spirit drives us, too.

What if Jesus’ time in the desert evokes in us the value of time alone and the heightening of our senses that comes from slowing down?

What if it is our affections that pull us more strongly to accomplish our commitments than the ascetic disciplines we undoubtedly consider each Lent?

What if our senses are not the problems, leading us into temptation at every side, but are doorways to community?

What if we need to fall in love again with those closest to us, giving them time and ear to re-engage? What if we make a point this Lent to do with family and friends what unfailingly brings us joy and recharges our batteries?

What if we need to fall in love again with Earth, its beauty, diversity, and unfailing burst each spring into new life?

With whom or what might you fall in love again this Lent?


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Gospel Reflection for February 11, 2018, 6th Sunday Ordinary Time

5 Feb

Scripture Readings: Leviticus 13.1-2, 44-46; 1 Corinthians 10.31-11.1; Mark 1.40-45

“A leper came to Jesus, imploring him urgently and kneeling as he spoke, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘I do choose. Be made clean.'”  – Mark 1.40-41
 
In Jesus’ time leprosy made its sufferers outsiders, obligated to stay away from others. Leprosy lumped together various skin conditions that like race, gender, age, and other realities show visibly on the body. Poverty can show in missing teeth and listless faces.

On the basis of appearance, we human beings start setting up boundaries between people like us and people like them, insiders and outsiders. We tend to stereotype and even demonize groups we don’t know. The voices of outsiders call for belonging among us, for equality and inclusion. The voices of those left out call us to widen our tents and lengthen our tables. In claiming justice and equality, people express their dignity as human begins made in God’s image and likeness. In healing the leper, Jesus gives voice to God’s intent for us all–wholeness and the communities love forms.

With who might you build a bridge from isolation to participation in economic life, parish life, neighborhood life, or family life?


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Gospel Reflection for February 4, 2018, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time

29 Jan

Scripture Readings: Job 7.1-4,6-7; 1 Corinthians 9.16-19,22-23; Mark 1.29-39

“On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. Jesus came, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her and she began to serve them.” – Mark 1.29-31

Peter’s mother-in-law survived in the oral traditions of the early Church and claims two verses in Mark’s gospel, the first to be written. We don’t know her name but she become the first woman disciple. The New American Bible, the translation Catholics hear in church, translates the Greek word diakonie as “began to wait on.” The word means serve, including providing for physical needs and serving the table. The word deacon, an office in the Church, comes from this same word. Jesus gives the word serve additional meaning when he equates serving with giving one’s life. He says of himself, “For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45). Peter’s mother-in-law responds to Jesus’ act of raising her up by serving him and his four new male disciples–Peter, Andrew, James, and John. She becomes a disciples who give herself to Jesus and his mission. Women disciples appear at Jesus’ crucifixion. Like Peter’s mother-in-law these women serve Jesus and follow him. They accompany him from Galilee to Jerusalem (Mark 15.40-41). Perhaps Peter’s mother-in-law is one of the many unnamed women who follow and serve Jesus to the end.

Who models a discipleship of service that you try to follow in your life?


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Gospel Reflection for January 28, 2018, 4th Sunday Ordinary Time

23 Jan

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 18.15-20; 1 Corinthians 7.32-35; Mark 1.28

“What is this?  A new teaching–with authority!” – Mark 1.27

An unholy spirit cries out in the synagogue where Jesus preaches in Sunday’s gospel. Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit, a word that also means to silence, muzzle, tie shut. The unclean spirit will not be Jesus’ herald. The unclean spirits are right to ask Jesus if he has come to destroy them. The answer is yes. The gospel challenges us to discern the spirits that drive us.

Ambition may drive us, the desire to achieve and advanced degree or a high-paying job. Desire for security can drive us, a willingness to do whatever a boss asks in order to pay the bills and provide health benefits for the family. Alcohol or chocolate can possess us, becoming a comfort in our stress or pain more perfect and pliant than any human friend. Fear can stifle our creative selves or choke our voices.

What clamors for attention in yourself? What erodes your wholeness or the wholeness you seek?


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or read samples. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

Gospel Reflection for January 21, 2018, 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Jan

Sunday Readings: Jonah 3.1-5, 10; 1 Corinthians 7.29-31; Mark 1.14-20

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of people.” – Mark 1.17

The gospel writer Mark includes few details in the spare story of Jesus calling four fishermen to follow him. Jesus’ call is direct; their responses, quick and decisive. They do not become full-fledged disciples as fast as this, however. Mark cares about how faith develops and matures. Jesus’ disciples leave their old lives behind quickly but their faith journeys twist and turn as they walk with Jesus through fear, flight, sleep, denial, and failure. They take up their work of fishing for people only after Jesus’ death and resurrection. In the end they give their lives for the gospel.

What is your vocation in life? What have you learned through persisting in a call?


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or request a free sample. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

Bible Study On Mark’s Gospel

4 Dec

Be ready for Mark in 2018!

The gospels at Sunday Eucharist in 2018 are from Mark. Sister Joan’s short book provides simple tools for active reading. She puts the excerpts we hear on Sundays in the content of Jesus’ whole story. Ideal for Bible study, RCIA, small Christian communities, bible study groups, and preachers of the Word.

Click here to see the table of contents and sample chapters.

Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call us at 800-232-5533. Only $10 per book.

Click here for Advent and Christmas publications and free resources.

Mark’s Gospel: The Whole Story

8 Nov

Mark’s Gospel is the first to be written and the shortest of the four Gospels. Sister Joan’s introduction to Mark is ideal for Bible study groups. The 11 short chapters and the questions in each chapter make this book ideal for small groups, RCIA candidates and sponsors, and parish staff involved in Sunday worship preparation.

We began reading from Mark’s Gospel at Sunday Eucharist during Advent and continue in all of 2018. You will enjoy seeing Jesus’ journey to the cross and resurrection through Mark’s eyes. Check out the table of contents, introduction, and a sample chapter.

All this for only $10.00 per copy. Order online or call 800-232-5533 today and get your group going with Mark.

Visit goodgroundpress.com for daily prayers, free online retreats, and Advent resources.

Image 18 Oct

Gospel Reflection for August 20, 2017, 20th Sunday Ordinary Time

14 Aug

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 56.1, 6-7; Romans 11.13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15.21-28

“It is not faith to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs,” Jesus said, but the Canaanite women said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” – Matthew 15.26-27

In both Matthew’s and Mark’s version of this gospel, Jesus refuses to help a Gentile mother who asks him to free her daughter from a demon. Both gospels preserve Jesus’ refusal, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” This saying insists Jesus’ mission is only to the Jewish people. In using the saying, Jesus not only refuses the woman’s request, his only refusal to help in the gospels, but he insults her. He uses an ethic slur. The saying makes her a dog.

How can Jesus, who everywhere else in the four gospels reaches out to sinners, lepers and crazy people, express such close-minded prejudice to this woman? This story reflects conflicts in Christian communities after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Some Christian must claim Jesus taught the saying, “Don’t throw the children’s food to the dogs.” In both Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels, the woman counters with the truth of her own experience. “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” At her house both messy children and hungry dogs eat. Her comeback makes space for children and dogs at the same table, for Jews and Gentiles. Her quick wit challenges the meaning of the saying and shows exclusion is not Jesus’ teaching.

What practices today exclude you or fail to nourish you? What experiences have broadened whom you accept into your house or parish community?

Urgent Love

8 Apr
Photo via Flickr user Tara Hunt

Photo via Flickr user Tara Hunt

In John Lewis’ Walking With the Wind, there is a great scene where the Big 6– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, A. Philip Randolph and Whitney Young– are discussing plans for the 1963 March on Washington. They are arguing about the word “patience” as it played out in one of the speeches.

John Lewis, the youngest leader by far, despised the word. He didn’t want to be strategic . He didn’t want to compromise or take the long view. He wanted the rights he deserved now. Today. Immediately. He was sick of waiting. The older men, who had been working for black rights for decades, warned against his urgency.

The more seasoned leaders won out. The word patience was used in the speeches. The scene is powerful in how it pits veteran experience with idealistic vision. Movements that bring about truth and justice at the policy level, changing heats, minds and laws, take both strategies. The civil rights movement needed Lewis’ drive. I have to respect Lewis’ young, energized, righteous impatience. There is a time and a place for urgent love.

Mark’s Gospel is written with a sense of urgency. The beginning is curt and brief:

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

So is the ending:

So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Mark portrays a Jesus that is constantly moving. The word “immediately” appears 40 times. Jesus moves from one act to the next with haste, humanizing those who feel abandoned and isolated. Their ailments, their sickness, their loneliness matters to Jesus. Mark’s writing style shows us Jesus’ unconditional, urgent love.

In a recent Easter reflection, my friend made the distinction between urgency and haste stating:

I will love with urgency, but not with haste. Urgency feels like saying, “You are important and I want to see this relationship progress and grow because I find you utterly fascinating.”

Haste is reckless, rushed, and stays on the surface. Haste makes mistakes. Urgency, conversely, is intentional. It honors, validates, moves, showers and shows passion. Who and what deserves our most urgent love? Today, how can we accept the urgent love of Jesus and use that love with others?

 

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