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11 hours ago
Lectio Divina: Mark 2:18-22Monday, January 20, 2020Ordinary Time1) Opening prayerFather of heaven and earth,hear our prayers,and show us the way to Your peace in the world.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 2) Gospel Reading – Mark 2:18-22The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, "Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."3) Reflection• The five conflicts between Jesus and the religious authority. In Mark 2:1-12 we have seen the first conflict. It was about the forgiveness of sins. In Mark 2:13-17, the second conflict is on communion around the same table, with sinners. Today’s Gospel presents the third conflict concerning fasting. Tomorrow we have the fourth conflict concerning the observance of the Sabbath (Mk 2:13-28). The day after tomorrow is the last conflict concerning the cure on the Sabbath (Mk 3:1-6). The conflict concerning fasting has a central place. For this reason, the words on sewing a piece of new cloth on an old cloak and the new wine into fresh skins (Mk 2:21-22) should be understood in the light which also radiates clearly on the other conflicts, two before and two after.• Jesus does not insist on the practice of fasting. Fasting is a very ancient practice, practiced by practically all religions. Jesus himself practiced it during forty days (Mt 4:2). But He does not insist with His disciples that they do the same thing. He leaves them free. This is why the disciples of John the Baptist and those of the Pharisees, who were obliged to fast, want to know why Jesus does not insist on fasting.• When the bridegroom is with them they do not have to fast. Jesus responds with a comparison. When the bridegroom is with the friends of the bridegroom, that is, during the wedding feast, they do not need to fast. Jesus considers himself the bridegroom. The disciples are the friends of the bridegroom During the time in which Jesus is with the disciples, there is the wedding feast. A day will come in which the bridegroom will be absent and then, if they wish, they can fast. Jesus refers to His death. He knows and feels that if He wishes to continue on this path of freedom, the religious authority will want to kill Him.• To sew a new piece of cloth on an old cloak, pour new wine in new skins. These two affirmations of Jesus, which Mark places here, clarify the critical attitude of Jesus before religious authority. One does not sew a piece of new cloth on an old cloak. When the cloak is washed, the new piece of cloth tears the cloak and the tear becomes bigger. Nobody puts new wine in old skins, because the fermentation of the new wine will tear the old skins. New wine in new skins! The religion defended by the authority was like an old cloak, like an old skin. It is not necessary to want to change what is new and brought by Jesus, for old customs. The concepts brought by Jesus cannot be reduced to fit the measure of Judaism. Either one or the other! The wine which Jesus brings tears the old skins. It is necessary to know how to separate things. Jesus is not against what is “old”. What He wants to avoid is that the old impose itself on the new, and thus, He begins to manifest it.4) Personal questions• Beginning with the profound experience of God which encouraged Him interiorly, Jesus had liberty concerning the norms and religious practices. Today, do we have this same liberty and the freedom of the mystics?• A new piece of cloth on an old cloak, new wine in old skins. Does this exist in my life?5) Concluding prayerWe have recognized for ourselves,and put our faith in, the love God has for us. (1Jn 4:16)stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_20122020 … See MoreSee Less
1 day ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:A Disciple of the Lamb of God 19 January 2020Second Sunday in Ordinary TimeJohn 1:29-34 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, who am I to receive such a gift as new life in you through baptism? Help me to renew my baptismal promises with a deeper conviction and commitment to discipleship.Encountering Christ:1. Behold the Lamb: John refers to Jesus the Lamb, giving allusions to the paschal lamb slaughtered on Passover (Exodus 12). The blood of the lamb, spread on the door lintels, was as a “pass” from the angel of death. They consumed the lamb as nourishment as they fled from their state of slavery under the Egyptians. The lamb could also conjure images of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 that was led to slaughter as an offering for the sins of the people. John’s reference makes clear that Jesus is the one who will bring a new freedom from sin through a baptism that only he can perform. That baptism will be one of fire. Thank you, Lord for being the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”2. Baptism of Fire: John points to Jesus as the one upon whom the Spirit came down. And he makes the distinction between his baptism with water and Jesus’s baptism with the Holy Spirit. In this passage, the Holy Spirit is manifest as a dove, a symbol of peace. True peace comes only from a life lived fully in God, which implies a turning away from sin and a turning to God. It is the path of repentance and purification. The Holy Spirit is also manifested as fire, reflecting the purifying power of God that sets our hearts ablaze with His love. It is no wonder that Jesus expresses his intention to bring fire upon the earth (Luke 12:49). But he would never put us through what he himself did not endure first. Hence he proclaims, “I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! (Luke 12:50).3. A True Disciple: John the Baptist reveals qualities of a true disciple: faith, humility, and witness. John testifies that he did not know Jesus, and yet his entire life was oriented towards preparing the way. He walked in the darkness, but for the conviction of his faith. His faith was strong because he knew who he was in relation to Jesus: the one “unfit to unstrap his sandals.” Humility was the foundation of all his other virtues, bearing fruit in a powerful witness to the Savior of the world, even to the point of death. We can pray for John’s kind of humility to live as a true disciple.Conversing with Christ: Jesus send your Spirit upon me. Renew my faith and deepen my love for you. How can I thank you for the gift of the baptism that you endured so that I might have eternal life in you, the Father, and the Holy Spirit?Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will renew my baptismal promises and make of them a prayer of thanksgiving.stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_19122020 … See MoreSee Less
He found out something which we can't still believe it is possible, that we are worthy of it – that Jesus Christ is not only Messiah, but this boy, he has played with and had a fun in the childhood with, He is is The True God, who became True Man, because He loves us so much. Even Devil, fallen Angel, could not believe that God really loves us so much…. I'm preaching about it today, so Pam You are very welcome😀😁
I’ve never understood how John the Baptist says here that he didn’t know Jesus before he appeared before him to be baptised. He was his cousin; surely if Our Lady had made the trip down to see Elizabeth after the Annunciation, they would have seen each other at some point in the following 30 years, apart from the fact that on hearing Mary’s voice, John had stirred in his Mother’s womb??? Anyone else have an opinion?
And after this Revelation, John sends his disciples when he’s in prison to ask Jesus if he really is the Messiah!
I understand that he had probably thought a ‘Messiah’ might act differently to how Jesus was behaving ie preaching not raising an army, but with all the history between them, one would have thought, he would not have questioned Jesus in this way surely? Or was he just his father’s son???
2 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Mark 2:13-17Saturday, January 18, 2020Ordinary Time1) Opening prayerFather of love, hear our prayers.Help us to know Your willand to do it with courage and faith.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.2) Gospel Reading – Mark 2:13-17Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed Jesus. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus heard this and said to them, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."3) Reflection• In yesterday’s Gospel, we saw the first conflict which arose concerning the forgiveness of sins (Mk 2:1-12). In today’s Gospel we meditate on the second conflict which arose when Jesus sat at table with the sinners (Mk 2:13-17). In the years 70’s, the time when Mark wrote, there was a conflict in the communities between Christians who had been converted from paganism and those from Judaism. Those from Judaism found it difficult to enter into the house of converted pagans and sit with them around the same table (cf. Acts 10:28; 11:3). In describing how Jesus faces this conflict, Mark directs the community to solve the problem.• Jesus taught, and the people were happy to listen to Him. Jesus goes out again to go near the sea. People arrive and He begins to teach them. He transmits the Word of God. In Mark’s Gospel, the beginning of the activity of Jesus is characterized by teaching and by acceptance on the part of the people (Mk 1:14,21,38-39; 2:2,13) in spite of the conflict with religious authority. What did Jesus teach? Jesus proclaimed the Good News of God (Mk 1:14). He spoke about God, but He spoke in a new way. He spoke from His experience, of the experience which He himself had of God and life. Jesus lived in God. Surely He had touched the heart of the people who liked to listen to Him (Mk 1:22,27). God, instead of being a severe Jew who threatens from afar with punishment and hell, becomes a friendly presence and a Good News for the people.• Jesus calls a sinner to be a disciple and invites him to eat in His house. Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector and he immediately leaves everything and follows Jesus. He begins to be part of the group of disciples. The text says literally: While Jesus was at table in His house. Some think that in his house means the house of Levi. But the most probable translation is that it was a question of the house of Jesus. It is Jesus who invites all to eat in His house: sinners and tax collectors, together with the disciples.• Jesus has come not for the just, but for sinners. This gesture or act of Jesus causes the religious authority to get very angry. It was forbidden to sit at table with tax collectors and sinners, because to sit at table with someone meant that he was considered a brother! Instead of speaking directly with Jesus, the scribes of the Pharisees speak with the disciples: How is it that He eats and drinks together with tax collectors and sinners? Jesus responds: “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright, but sinners! As before with the disciples (Mk 1:38), it is the conscience of His mission which helps Jesus to find the response and to point the way for the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus.4) Personal questions• Jesus calls a sinner, a tax collector, a person hated by the people, to be His disciple. What is the message for us in this act of Jesus?• Jesus says that He has come to call sinners. He provides a path to forgiveness. How do we act once we have His forgiveness? Do we consciously try to avoid sin?5) Concluding prayerMay the words of my mouth always find favor,and the whispering of my heart, in Your presence,Yahweh, my rock, my redeemer. (Ps 19:14)stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_18122020 … See MoreSee Less
3 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Mark 2:1-12Friday, January 17, 2020Ordinary Time1) Opening prayerFather of love, hear our prayers.Help us to know Your willand to do it with courage and faith.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.2) Gospel Reading – Mark 2,1-12When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth" –he said to the paralytic, "I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home." He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."3) Reflection• In Mark 1:1-15, Mark shows how the Good News of God should be prepared and spread. In Mark 1:16-45, he describes the objective of the Good News and the mission of the community. Now, in Mk 2:1 to 3, 6 there is the effect of the proclamation of the Good News. A community faithful to the Gospel lives values which can be in contradiction to the interests of the unjust society which surrounds it. This is why one of the effects of the proclamation of the Good News is the conflict with those who defend the interests of the unjust society. Mark gathers together five conflicts which the proclamation of the Good News brought to Jesus.• In the year 70, the time when he wrote his Gospel, there were many conflicts in the life of the communities, but they did not always know how to behave before the accusations which they received from the Roman authorities and from the Jewish leaders. This series of five conflicts found in Mk 2:1 to 3, 6 served as a guide to the communities, those of the past as well as those of today. Conflict is not an incident along the road, it forms part of the journey.• The following is the outline of the five conflicts which Mark presents in his Gospel: Texts conflict: 1st conflict: Mk 2:1-12 2nd conflict: Mk 2:13-17 3rd conflict: Mk 2:18-22 4th conflict: Mk 2:23-28 5th conflict: Mk 3:1-6 Adversaries of Jesus: The scribes The scribes of the Pharisees The disciples of John and the Pharisees The Pharisees The Pharisees and the Herodians Cause of the conflict: Forgiveness of sins To eat with sinners The practice of fasting Observance of Saturday To cure on Saturday• The solidarity of the friends of the paralytic obtains the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is returning to Capernaum. Many people gather before the door of the house. He accepts everybody and begins to teach them. To teach, to speak of God, was what Jesus did the most. A paralytic, carried by four friends, arrived. Jesus is their only hope. They do not doubt about going up and they make an opening in the roof over the place where Jesus was. It must have been a poor house, with the roof being just mud covered with leaves. They lowered the stretcher with the man to Jesus. Jesus, seeing their faith, says to the paralytic: your sins are forgiven you. At that time people thought that physical defects (paralytic) were a punishment from God for any sin that had been committed. The Doctors of the Law taught that the person remained impure and therefore, incapable of getting close to God. For this reason, the sick, the poor, the paralytics, felt that they were rejected by God! But Jesus did not think this way. Such a great faith was a sign that the paralytic was accepted by God. And for this reason, He declares: “Your sins are forgiven you!” With this affirmation Jesus denies that the paralysis was a punishment due to the sin of the man.• Jesus is accused of blasphemy by those who held power. The affirmation of Jesus was contrary to the catechism of the time. It was not in accordance with the idea that they had of God. And because of this they react against and accuse Jesus: He blasphemes! According to them only God could forgive sins. And only the priest could declare someone forgiven and purified. How could it be that Jesus, a man without studies, a lay person, a simple carpenter, could declare people forgiven and purified of their sins? There was also another reason which pushed them to criticize Jesus. They had thought: “If it is true what Jesus says, we will lose our power! We will lose our source of income”.• By curing, Jesus shows that He also has the power to forgive sins. Jesus perceives the criticism. This is why He asks: “Which of these is easier to say to the paralytic: Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, get up, pick up your stretcher and walk? It is easier to say: “Your sins are forgiven you”. Because nobody can verify if the sins have truly been forgiven or not. But if I tell him: “Get up and walk!”, there, all can see if I have or don’t have the power to heal. In order to show that He had the power to forgive sins, in the name of God, Jesus says to the paralytic: Get up, take up your stretcher and go off home! He cures the man! The leaders were confronted with a dilemma. Either their teaching was wrong and sickness is not related to sin, or Jesus had the power to forgive sins, proven by their own teaching! Thus, through a miracle, He taught that the paralysis of the man was not a punishment from God, and He showed that the faith of the poor is a proof that God accepts them in His love.• The message of the miracle and the reaction of people. The paralytic gets up, he takes his stretcher, and begins to walk, and all say: “We have never seen anything like this!” This miracle reveals three very important things: a) The sicknesses of people are not a punishment for sins. b) Jesus opens a new way to reach God. What the system called impurity was no more an obstacle for people to get close to God. c) The face of God revealed through the attitude of Jesus was different from the severe face of God revealed by the attitude of the doctors.• This reminds us of what a drug addict said once he had recovered and who is now a member of a community in Curitiba, Brazil: “I grew up in the Catholic religion. I abandoned it. My parents were good practicing Catholics and wanted us, their children to be like them. People were obliged always to go to Church, every Sunday and every feast day. And when one did not go, they would say: “God will punish you”. I went because this was imposed upon me, and when I became an adult, I no longer went to Mass. I did not like the God of my parents. I could not understand that God, the Creator of the world, could extend over me, a small child, threatening me with the punishment of hell. I liked much more the God of my uncle who never went to Church, but who every day, and I repeat, every day, bought twice as much bread than what he ate, in order to give to the poor!”.4) Personal questions• Do you like the God of the uncle or the God of the parents of the ex drug addict?• Which is the face of God that others discover in my behavior?5) Concluding prayerWhat we have heard and know,what our ancestors have told uswe shall not conceal from their descendants,but will tell to a generation still to come:the praises of Yahweh, His power,the wonderful deeds He has done. (Ps 78,3-4)stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_17122020 … See MoreSee Less
I struggle to understand this account and reasoning. The paralytic man is cured when Jesus forgives his sins. So, how is it that his paralysis is not a punishment from God for sins the man had committed?
My mother's favourite 🙂
4 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Mark 1:40-45Thursday, January 16, 2020Ordinary Time 1) Opening prayerFather of love, hear our prayers.Help us to know Your willand to do it with courage and faith.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.2) Gospel Reading – Mark 1:40-45A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them." The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.3) Reflection• Accepting and curing the leper, Jesus reveals a new face of God. A leper came near Jesus. He was an excluded, impure person. He should be far away. Anybody who touched him would also become impure! But that leper had great courage. He transgresses the norms of religion in order to be able to get near Jesus. He calls out: “If You want, You can heal me. You need not touch me! It suffices that You want, and I will be healed!” This phrase reveals two evils: a) the evil of leprosy which made him impure; and b) the evil of solitude to which he was condemned by society and by religion. It also reveals the great faith of the man in the power of Jesus. Jesus is profoundly moved and cures both evils. In the first place, in order to cure solitude, He touches the leper. It is as if He said: “For Me, you are not an excluded one. I accept you as a brother!” And then He cures the leper saying: “I want it! Be cured!” The leper, in order to enter into contact with Jesus, had transgressed the norms of the Law. Jesus, in order to be able to help that excluded person and therefore reveal a new face of God, transgresses the norms of His religion and touches the leper. At that time, whoever touched a leper became impure according to the religious authority and by the law of that time.• He integrated the excluded person into fraternal living together. Jesus not only cures, but also wants the cured person to be able to live with the others. He once again inserts the person in society to live with others. At that time, for a leper to be accepted again in the community, it was necessary to get a certificate from the priest that he had been cured. It is like today in some places. A sick person leaves the hospital with a document signed by the doctor of the department where he had been hospitalized. Jesus obliges the person to look for that document in such a way that he will be able to live normally with others. He obliges the authorities to recognize that this man has been cured.• The leper announces the good that Jesus has done to him and Jesus becomes an excluded person. Jesus forbids the leper to speak about the cure. The Gospel of Mark tells us that this prohibition does not survive. The leper, walking away, began to spread the news to the point that Jesus could no longer publicly enter into a city, but remained outside in a deserted place (Mk 1:45). Why? Because Jesus had touched the leper. Because of this, according to the opinion of the religion of that time, He himself was now impure and should live far away from all others. He could no longer enter the city. Mark says that people did not care about these official norms, in fact, people came to Him from everywhere (Mk 1:45).• Summarizing. In the year 70, when Mark wrote, as well as today, the time in which we live, it was and is important to have models of how to live and how to proclaim the Good News of God. In verses 16 to 45 of the first chapter of his Gospel, Mark describes the mission of the community and presents eight criteria in order that the communities of his time could evaluate their mission. The following is the outline:Text Activity of Jesus Objective of the missionMark 1:16-20 Jesus calls His first disciples To form the communityMark 1:21-22 The people were admired at His teaching To create a critical conscienceMark 1:23-28 Jesus expels a devil To overcome the force of evilMark 1:29-31 He cures Peter’s mother-in-law To give life back so as to serveMark 1:32-34 He cures the sick and the possessed To accept the marginalizedMark 1:35 Jesus rises early to pray To remain united with the FatherMark 1:36-39 Jesus continues the announcement Not to stop at the resultsMark 1:40-45 He cures a leper To integrate anew the excluded 4) Personal questions• To proclaim the Good News means to give witness to the experience of Jesus that one has. What does the leper announce? He tells others the good that Jesus has done to him. This witness leads others to accept the Good News of God which Jesus brings to us. What is the witness that you give?• To take the Good News to the people, it is not necessary to be afraid of transgressing the religious norms which are contrary to God’s plan and which make communication, dialogue, and the living out of love difficult, even if this causes difficulty for the people as it caused difficulty for Jesus. Do I have this courage?5) Concluding prayerCome, let us bow low and do reverence;kneel before Yahweh who made us!For He is our God,and we the people of His sheepfold,the flock of His hand. (Ps 95:6-7)stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_16122020 … See MoreSee Less
5 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Mark 1:29-39Wednesday, January 15, 2020Ordinary Time1) Opening prayerFather of love, hear our prayers.Help us to know Your willand to do it with courage and faith.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.2) Gospel Reading – Mark 1:29-39On 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. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you." He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.3) Reflection• Jesus restores life for the service. After having participated in the celebration of Saturday in the Synagogue, Jesus went to Peter’s house and cured his mother-in-law. Once healed, she gets up, with her health restored and having recovered her dignity, and she begins to serve. Jesus does not only heal the person, but He does it in such a way that she begins to serve life.• Jesus accepts the marginalized. When it begins to get dark, in the afternoon, at the end of Saturday when the first star shines in the sky, Jesus accepts and cures the sick and those possessed whom people had brought to Him. The sick and those possessed were the most marginalized people of that time. They had nobody to whom they had recourse. They depended on public charity. Besides this, religion considered them impure. They could not participate in the community. It was as if God rejected and excluded them. Therefore, the Good News of God consists of what He wants to do in the life of people: to accept the marginalized and the excluded, and to insert them again to live together in the community.• To remain united to the Father, in prayer. Jesus is presented to us while He prays. He makes a great effort to have the time and the adequate environment to pray. He rises before the others and goes to a deserted place, to be able to be alone with God. Many times the Gospels speak to us about the prayer of Jesus, in silence (Mt 14:22-23); Mk 1:35; Lk 5:15-16; 3:21-22). Through prayer He maintains the awareness of His mission.• To maintain the awareness of the mission and not to close oneself up in what is already obtained. Jesus is known. Everybody follows Him. This publicity pleases the disciples. They go to look for Jesus to take Him back to the people who were seeking for Him, and they tell Him: “All are looking for You.” They thought that Jesus would go to the banquet. They were disillusioned! Jesus does not pay attention and tells them: “Let us go elsewhere. It is precisely for this that I have come!” Surely, they must have been surprised! Jesus was not like what they had imagined Him to be. Jesus had a very clear conscience of the mission and wants to transmit this to the disciples. He does not want them to close themselves up in the results already obtained. They should not look back. But, like Jesus, they should maintain conscious of their mission. It is the mission received from the Father, which has to orientate their decisions.• It is precisely for this that I have come! This was the first misunderstanding between Jesus and His disciples. At present, it is only a question of a small difference. Later on, in the Gospel of Mark, this misunderstanding will grow and will practically become a break between Jesus and the disciples (cf. Mk 8:14-21,32-33; 9:32; 14:27). Today, there are some misunderstandings along the way in the proclaiming the Good News. Mark helps one to be attentive to the differences.4) Personal questions• Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. Peter’s mother-in-law began to serve. Do I act in such a way that my life is a service to God and to my brothers and sisters?• Jesus is conscious and aware of His mission through prayer. Am I?5) Concluding prayerSing to Yahweh, bless His name!Proclaim His salvation day after day,declare His glory among the nations,His marvels to every people! (Ps 96:2-3)stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_15122020 … See MoreSee Less
6 days ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Mark 1:21-28Tuesday, January 14, 2020Ordinary Time1) Opening prayerFather of love, hear our prayers.Help us to know Your willand to do it with courage and faith.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.2) Gospel Reading – Mark 1:21-28Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.3) Reflection• Sequence of the Gospels of the days of this week. Yesterday’s Gospel informed us about the first activity of Jesus. He called four people to form a community with them (Mk 1:16-10). Today’s Gospel describes admiration for the teaching of Jesus (Mt 1:21-22) and the first miracle when He expels the devil (Mk 1:23-28). The Gospel of tomorrow narrates the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1:29-31), the healing of many sick people (Mk 1:32-34) and the prayer of Jesus in an isolated place (Mk 1:35-39). Mark gathers all of these episodes which had been transmitted orally in the communities, joining them together like bricks of a wall. In the years 70’s, the year in which he writes, the communities needed orientation. By describing how Jesus began His activity, Mark tells of what they should do to announce the Good News. Mark gives them a catechesis by telling the communities about the events in the life of Jesus.• Jesus teaches with authority, differently from the way the scribes do it. The first thing that the people perceive is the diverse way in which Jesus teaches. It is not so much the content, but rather the way in which He teaches that impresses the people. For this reason, by His different way, Jesus creates a critical conscience in people concerning the religious authority of that time. The people compare and say: He teaches with authority, in a way different from the way the scribes do. The scribes of that time taught quoting the authority. Jesus does not quote any authority. He speaks with His experience of God and of His life. His word is rooted in the heart.• You have come to destroy us! In Mark, the first miracle is the expulsion of the devil. Jesus struggles and expels the power of evil that takes possession of people and alienates them from themselves. The man possessed by the devil shouts: “I know who You are: You are the Holy One of God!” The man repeated the official teaching which presented the Messiah as the “Holy One of God”, as a High Priest, or like a King, Judge, Doctor or General. Even today, many people live alienated from themselves, deceived by the power of mass media, mass communication, and the advertising of business. They repeat what they hear others say. They live as slaves of consumerism, oppressed by the power of money, and threatened by debtors. Many think that their life is not as it should be if they cannot buy what the advertising recommends.• Jesus rebuked the evil spirit: “Be quiet! Come out of him!” The spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. Jesus restores the person to himself. He gives him back his conscience and his liberty. He makes the person recover his complete judgment (cf. Mk 5:15). It was not easy then, it was not easy yesterday, and it is not easy today to do this in such a way that a person begins to think and act in a way which diverges from the official ideology.• A new teaching! He commands even the evil spirits. The first two signs of the Good News are these: His different way of teaching the things of God, and His power over evil spirits. Jesus opens a new road in order for people to attain purity. At that time, a person who was declared impure could not present himself/herself before God to pray and to receive the blessing promised by God to Abraham. He/she should first purify himself/herself. These and many other laws and norms made the life of people very difficult and marginalized many people who were considered impure and far from God. Now, purified by the contact with Jesus, people could present themselves before God. This was a great Good News!4) Personal questions• Can I really say: “I am fully free, master of myself? If I cannot say it of myself, then something in me is possessed by other powers. What do I do to expel this strange power?• Today many people do not live, do not think, but rather are driven by mass media. They do not have a critical mind or way of thinking. They allow other masters into their lives. How can this “devil” be expelled?5) Concluding prayerYahweh our Lord,how majestic is Your name throughout the world!What are human beings that You spare a thought for them,or the child of Adam that You care for him? (Ps 8,1.4)stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_14122020 … See MoreSee Less
I always thought the first miracle was Jesus turning water into wine at the Wedding Feast at Cana in Galilee with his Mother!
1 week ago
CHRISTIAN MORNING MEDITATION:Lectio Divina: Mark 1:14-20Monday, January 13, 2020Ordinary Time 1) Opening prayerFather of love, hear our prayers.Help us to know Your willand to do it with courage and faith.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 2) Gospel Reading – Mark 1:14-20After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel." As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him. 3) Reflection• After John had been arrested, Jesus went to Galilee. There He proclaimed the Gospel of God. John was arrested by King Herod for having denounced the immoral behavior of the King (Lk 3:18-20). The imprisonment of John the Baptist did not frighten Jesus! On the contrary, in that event He saw a symbol of the coming of the Kingdom. Today, would we know how to read the facts of politics and of urban violence to announce or proclaim the Good News of God?• Jesus proclaimed the Good News of God. The Good News is of God not only because it comes from God, but also and, above all, because God is its content. God Himself is the greatest Good News for human life. He responds to the deepest aspiration of our heart. In Jesus, we see what happens when a human person allows God to enter and to reign. This Good News of the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus has four different aspects:a) The time is fulfilled and has arrived. For the other Jews the time was not as yet fulfilled, had not arrived. There was still much missing for the coming of the Kingdom. For the Pharisees, for example, the Kingdom could be attained only when the observance of the law would be perfect. Jesus had another way of reading the facts. He says that the time is fulfilled; it has arrived.b) The Kingdom of God is close at hand! For the Pharisees the coming of the Kingdom depended on their efforts. It would have arrived only after they had observed the law. Jesus says the contrary: “The Kingdom is close at hand.” It is already here! When Jesus says, “The Kingdom is close at hand”, He does not mean to say that the Kingdom has been reached only at that moment, but rather that it was already there. What everybody was expecting was already present in their life, but they did not know it. They did not perceive it (cf. Lk 17:21). Jesus saw it! He saw and read reality from a different perspective. It is in this hidden presence of the Kingdom in the midst of the people that Jesus reveals Himself to the poor of His land. And this is the seed of the Kingdom which will receive the rain of His Word and the warmth of His love.c) Convert yourselves! The exact meaning is “change your way of thinking and of living.” In order to be able to perceive the presence of the Kingdom in life, a person should begin to think and live in a different way. The person should change his or her way of life and find another way of living together with others! He/she should leave aside all of the legalism of the teaching of the Pharisees and allow the new experience of God to invade his/her life and give him/her a new way of looking so as to read and understand the facts in a new way.d) To believe in the Good News! It was not easy to accept this message. It is not easy for us to begin to think in a different way from all that we have learned since we were small children. This is possible only through an act of faith. When someone gives a different piece of news, it is difficult to accept it, and it is accepted only if we trust the person who delivers the news. And thus, you will say to others, “You can accept! I know this person! This person does not deceive! You can trust him/her!” We can trust Jesus!• The first objective of the proclamation of the Good News is to form a community. Jesus goes by; He sees and He calls. The first four who were called – Simon, Andrew, John and James – listen, abandon everything, and follow Jesus in order to form a community with Him. It seems to be love at first sight! According to Mark’s account, everything takes place in the first encounter with Jesus. Comparing with the other Gospels, people perceive that the four already knew Jesus (Jn 1:39; Lk 5:1-11). They had already had the opportunity to live with Him, to see Him help the people and to listen to Him in the synagogue. They knew how He lived and what He thought. The call was not something from one moment, but a progression of repeated calls and invitations, of progressing and retreating. The call begins and begins again always anew! In practice, it coincided with living together with Jesus for two or three years, since the time of the Baptism until the moment when Jesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:21-22). And then, why does Mark present this as something sudden, an act of love at first sight? Mark thinks of the ideal: the encounter with Jesus should bring about a radical change in our life! 4) Personal questions• A political fact, the imprisonment of John, led Jesus to begin the proclamation of the Good News of God. Today, does the political situation exercise any influence in the proclamation of the Good News that we present to people today?• “Repent! Believe in the Good News!” How is this taking place in my own life? 5) Concluding prayerFor You are Yahweh,Most High over all the earth,far transcending all gods. (Ps 97:9)stswithuns.org.uk/newsletter-NL_13122020 … See MoreSee Less