As we move into the second half of Mark’s Gospel, the disciples journey with Jesus from the Mount of the Transfiguration back towards Galilee, and increasingly towars the cross. Jesus takes them aside to explain what is going to lie ahead – the way of suffering and ultimately death. But they haven’t got a clue what he is talking about (he has spent most of the time until this point talking in parables) and instead discuss something much more significant and important – who among them is the greatest? (Not that this kind of discussion would relate to us at all?!)
So Jesus then takes a child up into his arms and invites them (and us) to be that child – content in the arms of our Lord. Reminded of the spirituality of St Therese of Lisieux and the insights of GK Chesterton, we explore what it is like to be a child in the kingdom of God.
Recorded at St Michael’s (during the Kindergarden Mass) – 11’11”
When reading a Gospel like our one for today from Mark 8, we can sometimes only read it as an isolated piece. If we do this, we can miss the richer liturgical and scriptural context and thereby miss much of the richness and depth that the story may be presenting to us. Let us turn to last Sunday’s gospel (the healing of the deaf and dumb man) and the story immediately before the gospel today (the healing in stages of a blind man) as well as the geographical movements that occur (from the Decapolis to Bethsaida to Cesaeria Philippi) to see if they provide something more to reflect upon this question that Jesus the Messiah poses – ‘who do you say I am?’
Recorded at Sacred Heart, 11’37”
I have just returned from almost 4 weeks in the USA and Canada. It was a deeply renewing and wonderful visit to catch up with friends and meet heroes; to see what I can see and discover the richness and power of the church in the mid-west. The trip began in LA (only because that is where the plane landed), then to Toronto and west through Lansing and Grand Rapids, then around Lake Michigan to Chicago to visit Fr Robert Barron and attend the first performance of Rob Bell’s ‘Drops Like Stars’ tour. Then south to St Louis and east to Indianapolis and Cincinnati and then to Franciscan University of Steubenville and Pittsburg. Finally I began to return home via Niagara Falls and Toronto and then flew back to Chicago and Denver. In Colorado I stayed in the University parish of Boulder and took part in a three-day retreat with Youth Ministers from the Archdiocese of Denver in the ski-resort of Vail. A wonderful and life-giving journey. Now it is time for some more sleep!
Week 23 in the Season of the Year (B)
Mark 7:31-37 – the healing of the deaf and mute man. This healing reminds us that like the people of the Decapolis, we may well have lots of distractions that prevent us from hearing the all-important Word of God. God’s word is always meant to be creative – to take flesh in our lives. So many things compete. Like the man, maybe we need to be taken away from the crowd to be alone with Jesus, so that he can pray to the Father on our behalf, and reconnect us with the Lord. Maybe the Lord needs to groan over us as well and sigh deeply into our hearts the same ‘Ephphatha’ to clear any blockages that stop us from hearing and speaking the truth.
Recorded at St Michael’s (10’22”)