READINGS for 2009-02-24
do you underSTand?
Mark reveals to us a grim picture of the disciples of Jesus. They are often seen as dull, ignorant and just plain stupid! Jesus’ patience often seems tested — but He loves them nevertheless. Mark reveals to us in his Gospel a “human” Jesus working with a broken and vulnerable people. Many times we hear Jesus telling the disciples about His fate and destiny — His arrest, death and rising up again. Jesus had to put up with their misunderstanding and failure to recognize the ultimate truth.
We are like the disciples. We fail to understand the ways of the Lord even when they seem most obvious. We fail to comprehend why God is doing whatever He is doing in our lives. We fail to recognize His truth and wisdom in the events of our lives. Admit it! “I don’t understand You, Lord. I cannot see beyond. I fail to see You in my life. I don’t get it!” The Lord is kind, unfailing in His tenderness and compassion. He understands our failure to understand completely. Sometimes we need to beg the Lord for wisdom and insight.
God is a mystery. Life is a mystery. Is our lack of understanding perhaps a way in which we try to understand? Perhaps we do understand the ways of the Lord but we don’t want to because we are afraid of what will be revealed to us. I think this is something of the tension of the disciples. They were with Jesus for a number of years. They could see the tension rising — unless they were totally stupid. They witnessed the persecution and rejection of Jesus. They knew He would face suffering, cruelty, and ultimately, death, but maybe their failure to understand was their way of coping with the inevitable. Their lack of understanding was a sense of security. They wouldn’t get hurt, they wouldn’t be responsible, they could hide in the popularity of the moment — if they didn’t understand. Their failure to understand, in a sense, was their own way of living the dream of success and popularity.
Do you understand? Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
How do I seek to understand the ways of the Lord in my life? Is my failure to understand a means of security and hiding from the truth that might be revealed to me?
Lord, help me to know You, to love You and to follow You. Give me wisdom and understanding to know You more and more in my life. Amen.
St. Ethelbert of Kent, King, pray for us.
The more we want something, the more we are willing to give for it. The same is true for something that is worth a lot to us either monetarily, or for sentimental reasons. What each of us has to decide is how important following the will of God is to us. This will directly determine the level of commitment we are willing to give to the call to become disciples of Jesus. All of this will be evident in the choices we make in life.
1 My son, when you come to serve the LORD, prepare yourself for trials. 2 Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity. 3 Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great. 4 Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient; 5 for in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation. 6 Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him. 7 You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. 8 You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost. 9 You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. 10 Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed? 11 Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.
P S A L M
Psalm 37:3-4. 18-19. 27-28. 39-40
R: Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and enjoy security. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart’s requests. (R) 18 The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever. 19 They are not put to shame in an evil time; in days of famine they have plenty. (R) 27 Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever; 28 for the LORD loves what is right, and forsakes not his faithful ones. (R) 39 The salvation of the just is from the LORD; he is their refuge in time of distress. 40 And the LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus again predicts that He will die. The disciples are afraid to question Him about this. Why? I do not know! Perhaps it is because they do not want to accept that Jesus will be martyred. There are many times when we live in denial of the truth in order to avoid facing a big decision or avoid suffering. However, the wise person will face life squarely and having done so move on to the next phase. We are foolish if we fail to go to the dentist to get a sore tooth fixed. It may get even worse! The same is true of the spiritual realities and challenges of our lives.
30 Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. 31 He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. 33 They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. 35 Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” 36 Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.”
think: What each of us has to decide is how important following the will of God is to us.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
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