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Jumping off the plane without a parachute

A reflection for the 32th Sunday, Ordinary Time, B. The readings are 1 Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28 and Mark 12:28-44.

 

I don’t know about this widow in today’s Gospel. I don’t think she’s very responsible and I don’t think that she’s really making much of a sacrifice that’s an example for me.

See, if she really has nothing and has begged for these coins – which we understand to be worth a few cents – then, shouldn’t she be going to get a coffee and a donut or something? Especially if she is – like I’ve seen her depicted in many works of art – a young widow and a mother of a young child. If she had two bucks that someone gave her to buy food or milk for her baby, she shouldn’t put in the Temple offering. She should go buy milk. If she had $10, maybe she can put $5 in the basket and then go get some milk and food for her or her baby. But apparently she didn’t have $10, but a few cents… which leads me to conclude that she is actually not an example for me. If you have nothing, it’s not much of a sacrifice to give it all away.   It makes no difference to her whether she has 50 cents or nothing.

If you have $100,000 and you have to give it all away, that’s a sacrifice. When you have nothing much, it’s not a sacrifice to give it all away. Read more…

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The not-so-dangerous question….

Image from Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleimages.org. http://www.freebibleimages.org/

A reflection for the 29th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year B. The readings are Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33; Hebrews 4:14-16 and Mark 10:35-45.

Last week I asked myself the most dangerous question. Our pastor preached about this and recommended that we ask ourselves this question during the week: “God, what do you want me to do?” On Wednesday I asked myself another question; maybe the second most dangerous question: Is it sin to smoke marijuana?* which is what I think James and John must’ve been smoking when they asked, not the most dangerous question, but the dumbest question! What were they thinking and how old are they? The last time my kids asked me to say yes to whatever they were going to ask me was like in grade two!

That’s why I love the Gospel of Mark. Why does he write these things? Why does he continually make the disciples look like complete clowns? Seriously! Literally, the sentence before James and John approach Jesus to ask him if they could sit at his left and right in Heaven, Jesus has been telling them how the Son of Man will be betrayed, arrested and condemned. He will be mocked and spat on, flogged and killed (Mark 10:32-34). Two seconds later, they ask their question. If you wanted to attract people to Christianity, why would you portray the disciples like that? Probably because it really happened. And this whole “suffering and death; drink the cup that I am going to drink” business? How is that going to attract people to Christianity?

Mark writes it because it’s true. It’s true because it actually happened and it’s true because it’s Truth: If we follow Jesus Christ, that will lead us to the Cross; we will probably suffer.

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Ephphatha: See and Love as God Sees and Loves

“‘Ephphatha’ by Thomas Davidson, 1872

A reflection on the 23rd Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year B. The readings are Isaiah 35:4-7a; Psalm 146; James 2:1-5 and Mark 7:31-37.

There was once a wise sage, a native elder, who asked his students to tell him how they could know the exact moment when the dawn had arrived: When was that precise moment when it was no longer night and it was now day. A student put up her hand. “I know teacher! I know that the dawn has arrived when there’s just enough light that if I see an animal 100 feet away I can tell whether it’s a dog or a deer.” “That’s very good,” said the teacher, “but that’s not the answer I was looking for.” Another student put up his hand. “I know, teacher! We know that the dawn has arrived when there’s just enough light that if we see a tree 50 feet away, we can tell whether it’s a fir tree or a spruce tree.” “That’s also good,” said the teacher, “but it’s not the answer I am looking for.” And so, other students had different ideas as to how to know the precise moment that the dawn had arrived, but none had the answer the teacher was looking for. So they asked, “Tell us teacher, what’s your answer? How do you know that the dawn has arrived?”
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You are not sheep; You are shepherd


A reflection for the 16th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year B. The readings are: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:13-18 and Mark 6:30-34.

Psalm 23 is the most popular or well-known Psalm: The Lord is my Shepherd.

“The Lord is my Shepherd… there is nothing I shall want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. To restful waters He leads me… He refreshes my soul.”

It’s a beautiful Psalm. You should learn it. It’s a great prayer.

I just came back from Bolivia – from the 5th Missionary Congress of the Americas. It was great because there were missionaries from all over the continent, but also a lot of people who are not missionaries. That’s good because we are all called to be missionaries; to have missionary hearts. We are all called to go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

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