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In this week's Gospel the Scripture says of Jesus, "He was amazed at their lack of faith" (Mark 6.6). The very people who should have received Jesus and listened to him did not. They were blind to the reality before them. God stood among them but they could not see. Even Jesus, the Son of God, was amazed by this phenomenon.
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Today's First Reading is an example of God sending a prophet to communicate his will to his people. This prophet is an unlikely candidate and is rejected. Jesus told us no prophet is accepted in his hometown. Who are the prophets of our own age? Who are the people speaking God's truth? On a global scale, it is safe to say today's prophets include people who speak out for the voiceless, the poor, the rejected, the different, the displaced, the disenfranchised, the de-humanized.
To what sect or group did Jesus belong? Was he a Pharisee or a Sadducee or what?
There is an old proverb that says "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Indeed, the best form of charity is to show people how to be self-reliant. It's not the only form of charity; often immediate measures are crucial to save people affected by disaster. But the best long-term results come from helping people to be self-reliant.
Today's Gospel reading tells the familiar story of Jesus, asleep in the boat in the midst of a storm, awakened by his agitated apostles to calm the wind and the waves. Mark presumably recorded this story as a consolation to the persecuted Church, but what consolation are believers supposed to derive from it? Are we supposed to assume that Jesus will calm all the turbulent problems of our lives?
God did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. The devil is a persuasive liar. One of his greatest victories takes place when he persuades us that God is the source of death, that he sends death upon us. If accepted as an article of faith, the belief that "God made death" becomes a huge wrecking ball. I know many people who, having lost a parent or a beloved sibling, especially at an early age, turned their backs upon God permanently.
Our baby was born during Advent. When we asked to have her baptized shortly after, we were told that we couldn't. When we asked why not, we were told it was because the rule is that no Baptisms are allowed during Lent or Advent. However, we were not given a reason. Can you explain why no Baptisms are allowed during these specific periods?
Theoretically, the Eucharist is one of my favourite topics. Ever since I attended a Youth 2000 retreat the summer before my Grade 12 year, the Eucharist has been a central, if not the central, focus of my faith life. Until then, no one had told me the meaning of the wafer and wine I took at Mass, at least not in a way I really understood. At 17, when the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal told us about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it changed my life.
We planted some seeds in the garden a few days ago, my granddaughter and I. She carefully laid the pea seeds one after another in a row all by herself. Together we scattered the tiny carrot and lettuce seeds. She has been over to the vegetable patch a few times since then to check on their progress; the spinach peeked through yesterday but still no sign of the peas, which of course she is most interested in.