All of those images from the Book of Revelation about golden clothing and wild battles with Satan can be left to another time for a serious study of this complicated style of writing. Having not entertained the thinking of some in Corinth that the resurrection of Jesus did not really involve his body, we can excuse ourselves from Paul’s tirade today. Let’s just settle down with this simple reading from Luke’s first chapter. What is so beautiful and charming about this Gospel passage is that it is so very ordinary, unspectacular and not particularly controversial as the reading from Paul or the Book of Revelation. … more »
12 August 2018 at St Peter the Apostle and St William Parishes in Naples, FL
1 Kings 19, 4-8 + Psalm 32 + Ephesians 4, 30 to 5,2 + John 6, 41-51
Something happens with this text today that is important. Until now the people engaged with Jesus have been called: the crowd. Now the identity of the crowd is given. The crowd is “the Jews.” This sixth chapter of John’s Gospel is loaded with images of the Exodus in the Old Testament. There is the report of Jesus walking on the water to the other side of the Sea which brings up the image of Moses leading the people of Israel through the Red Sea. … more »
The first question in today’s verses has a double meaning, and the obvious or simple answer is not necessarily the best. The problem comes from the English translation of John’s original text. “When did you get here?” is the English translation, but the verb that John uses for “get” is the same verb used to say “come to be” or “begotten.” So, you see, there is another level to explore here. It is likely that John really wants to explore the reason for the Incarnation. Why is Jesus here among us on earth? … more »
There is someone in this Gospel today who says nothing. Because Jesus, Andrew and Philip do tall he talking, it is easy to ignore his presence. There is young boy in these verses who very is important and he is worth some reflection and wonder. Without him, there would be no story. Without him there would be no wonderful sign worked to draw people to faith. He has no name which in Gospel literature is always important. Having no name makes it possible for us to stand in his place. … more »
This is the only time in Mark’s Gospel that disciples are called “apostles.” It only appears in Matthew’s Gospel once, six times in Luke, and never in John. I think it is important to understand this fact because we tend to think of “apostles” in terms of those twelve who may have some special place or calling, which then allows us to be excused too easily from taking up our duties as disciples of Jesus.
The Gospel of Mark is really a School of Discipleship. … more »
After last week’s rejection of by those who’s unbelief left Jesus with nothing to do there, he has moved on to neighboring villages. The memory of that distressful and disappointing experience was surely still fresh in the mind of the Apostles. Given their behavior on other occasions, they no doubt expected quite a welcome for the home-town hero who was already so famous bringing glory to little Nazareth. Now they are being called in pairs for a serious and detailed instruction. Then they are sent out with power to do all that Jesus was doing and preach repentance. … more »
We are beginning a new chapter of Mark’s Gospel today. In the past weeks with chapter five we have seen an enormous momentum building as Jesus travelled throughout Galilee and beyond. His presence has been marked by healings, exorcisms, and even as we heard last week, the raising of a dead child. Crowds of people have experienced liberation, healing, and the tender compassion of Jesus. Now in chapter six all of that comes to a sudden stop. What demons, sickness, and death could not stop disbelief does. … more »
Two miracles stories and two women lead us to reflect upon the ministry of Jesus Christ, his mission, and his method. On the surface it looks like one of them is healed and the other brought back to life. That’s what it looks like, but what you see is not always what you get. Consistent with Mark’s style, there is commotion here. He seems to like that. There is always a rush and always a crowd. In the midst of that chaos there always stands one who is calm and peaceful. To get beyond the surface of these two incidents, it is helpful to understand that there is problem with English as this Gospel is translated. … more »
The shadow of old Sarah and Abraham falls over the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah. Almost like bookends two faithful couples begin and end the story of Israel bearing witness to the power of God’s favor, love, and grace. We should not reflect upon what God does with Zechariah and Elizabeth without recalling how God acted with Sarah and Abraham to begin restoring creation to its glory.
There was an expectation among the Jews that the prophet Elijah would return to earth to prepare God’s chosen people for the coming of the Messiah. Reflecting upon the prophetic witness of John, Jesus declare that John was that Elijah person they were expecting. … more »
It was December 1, 1955. A 42-year-old black woman boarded a bus to go home after a long day working and shopping. She found a seat at the start of the black section. At the next stop some white people got on so the driver ordered her to get up and give her seat to a white man. Tired and worn out from cleaning up after white people all day, she simply said, “No.” The driver called the police. She was arrested. Word got around quickly, and a local preacher called a meeting. … more »