The storms obey: as he was

Jesus-boat-storm2Commentary: 35 On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.”

As Stoffregen asks: Why do the disciples cross the lake? There are several possible answers: (a) to get to the other side or (b) as recorded in the text, Jesus told them to cross over. Even though (b) is the correct answer, (a) raises the curiosity: what is on the other side? Gentile (unclean) territory indicated by “unclean spirits,” “swine,” and “Decapolis.” Many scholars hold that this trip across the lake represents the Gentile mission for Mark. The storm at sea represents the storms in the early church as they sought to carry out Jesus’ command “to go to the other side” or “to make disciples of all nations.” It may be noted that the area where the people of God sit while in church is properly called the “nave,” from the Latin “navis” = ship. Continue reading

Incredible Family Life

I think I have officially become a curmudgeon – at least when it comes to the way families are portrayed on television and in movies. Seems like the poor parents of this world are clueless, morally ambiguous, technically challenged, and more – thanks be to God for the teenagers who “get it.”  (One of my least favorite expressions – see…. I told you I was becoming a curmudgeon!).

Ani Bundel has a nice piece on the portrayal of the family as seen in the newly released “Incredibles 2”  Here is a part of the article: Continue reading

The storms obey: context

Jesus-boat-storm2Jesus’ Power Over the Wind and Waves (Mark 4:35-41)

35 On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. 38 Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” 41 They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” Continue reading

Vision of the Kingdom

The year was 1968. It was the year we first orbited the moon, the 747 jet liner made its commercial debut, the average rent for a three-bedroom house was $130/month, milk was $0.34/gallon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, Intel corporation was founded, the Beatles released the White Album, zip lock bags were first sold, and the infamous Big Mac debuted at the golden arches for a whopping $0.49.

The year was 1968 – and today on that date in history, the diocese of Saint Petersburg was erected – and so today we celebrate our golden jubilee, our 50th anniversary! How about a round of applause for the Golden Jubilee! Continue reading

Belonging and the Parish

Several years ago, I wrote a series of pastor columns on aspects of what it means to belong to a parish. If you would like to read the whole series, it can be found here: friarmusings.com/belonging

Where to begin? At the beginning is always a good place – and for Catholics the beginning is Baptism. Each time we enter church it is our tradition to mark ourselves with the Sign of the Cross using water from the holy water fonts. It is a moment to recall the words the priest proclaimed at your Baptism: “I claim you for Christ.” From that moment you belong to Christ and are a member of His people. You belong, not in some abstract way, but in a time and place and with a community of people. Continue reading

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Part of our task as faithful Christians and citizens of the world is to engage the deep and probing questions that the great thinkers, wisdom figures, and commentators raise. Perhaps no question is more penetrating, more challenging, and more important than that offered by the amateur philosopher, Tina Turner: “What’s love got to do, got to do with it? What’s love but a second-hand emotion?” It is the question for the ages.

It is the question for today as we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – a feast that offers up in high relief the love of God that has been poured into the world – and continues to the source, the fountain of love that ever pours into the world. (You can read more about the Sacred Heart here.) Today is a feast we celebrate the Love of God. Continue reading

God’s Kingdom Come

Sower“This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.” (Mark 4:26-28)

Sometimes I think we are too quick to be comforted by the Scriptures we hear in church and consider in Bible Study, like the parable above. Maybe it is about the wonder of faith or the need to be ready to bring in the harvest. Or it might be about our complete inability to control the coming kingdom as though our believing (or not) affects its coming. This second possibility is uncomfortable because it leaves us vulnerable. God’s kingdom comes apart from our efforts, cannot be controlled or influenced, and can only be received as a gift. In this sense, faith is apparently a lot more like falling in love than making a decision. Because faith, like love, is something that comes from the outside and grabs hold of you, whether you want it to or not. Continue reading

God’s Kingdom: from a seed

mustard_seedThe Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. 32 But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (Mark 4:40-32) Continue reading

God’s Kingdom: of its own accord

parable_SowerMark alone records the parable of the “Seed that Grows Itself”

26 He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land 27 and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28 Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” Continue reading