An incomplete ending

resurrection-of-christ-iconThis year in the cycle of liturgical years we are primarily using the Gospel of Mark for our Sunday readings. But then this particular Gospel is the shortest of the four canonical texts and so it requires “a little help” to fill in the whole of the year – especially during the long stretch of Ordinary Time between Pentecost and Advent. This year, as per normal for Year B in the cycle of readings, the 17th through the 20th Sundays or Ordinary Time is from the Gospel of John. Continue reading

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The Betrayal Announced

Last-supper-from-Kremikovtsi-217 When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. 18 And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, “Surely it is not I?” 20 He said to them, “One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. 21 For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Continue reading

Passover Preparations

Last-supper-from-Kremikovtsi-212 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. 14 Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” 16 The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. Continue reading

Healing many: leaving

Jesus_healing_Peter_inlaw35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37 and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” 39 So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. Continue reading

Healing many: questions

Jesus_healing_Peter_inlawIt is very easy to simply note that Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law, be swept along in Mark’s breathless pace, and wonder if there is more to the story. Ched Myers (Binding the Strong Man: A Political reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus, 141) raises this question at the beginning of his comments on Mark 1:21-39:

These “miracle” stories raise important issues of interpretation. Is Jesus simply “curing” the physically sick and the mentally disturbed? If so, why would such a ministry of compassion raise the ire of the local authorities? Continue reading

Healing many: context

Jesus_healing_Peter_inlaw29 On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. 31 He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. 32 When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. 33 The whole town was gathered at the door. 34 He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. 35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37 and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” 39 So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

The narrative move quite quickly in the Gospel according to Mark. The narrative’s pace and immediacy is one of the most notable attributes of the writing. Lest one think that Mark is simply concatenating stories without a larger vision in mind, it is always good to “step back” and see the larger framework in which the Gospel account exists. Continue reading