Who are my mother and brothers?

What do you wantThe reading from today’s gospel (with a few extra verses) and St. Francis of Assisi’s answer to the question.

20 Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. 21 When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” … 31 His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. 32 crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers* [and your sisters] are outside asking for you.” 33 But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” 34 And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 35[For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3) Continue reading

Come after me: follow

Jesus-boat-storm2Fishers of Men. As the first act of the Galilean mission Mark reports the calling of Simon and Andrew to be fishers of men. Jesus found these brothers working as fishermen on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, elsewhere designated the Lake of Gennesaret or the Sea of Tiberias. The inland sea, which was twelve miles in length and six miles across at its widest point, provided a point of access between Galilee and Perea. There were many towns and fishing villages especially on the western and northern shores. The waters teemed with life, and when Jesus summoned the brothers they were casting their nets into the sea. Continue reading

Mwangi’s Light

a_light_in_the_darkFor the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children – Jan 22, 2015

Written: October, 1997 – Nairobi, Kenya

Mwangi is a young man in the neighborhood. 20 some years of age in body yet in child or less in development. I have seen him sit for hours on the edge of the lane leading from the slum to the main road. Most people pay him no mind as he will write no great books, he will not lead a nation and may never do more than be this silent sentinel who watches the lane and all the wayfarers who pass along its way Continue reading

Come after me: trust

repent-n-believeRepent and Believe. John Williamson, (Mark, p.43) offers this analogy which “may capture some (not all) dimensions of this summary of the preaching of Jesus.”

In a crowded airline terminal, hundreds of persons are scurrying in dozens of directions. Above the steady buzz of noise a voice booms through a loud-speaker, “Flight 362 is now arriving at gate we. Will passengers holding tickets for New York please check in at gate 23; you will be boarding soon.” Some people, of course, never hear the announcement and continue on their way. Others hear it but, having reservations on another flight, pay no attention. Some, however, who want to go to New York and who have been nervously awaiting such an announcement, look up expectantly, check their ticket for the flight number, gather their baggage, turn around and set out with some urgency for gate 23. Continue reading

Come after me: time of fulfillment

tn_2013 Easter 2“The Time of Fulfillment” This phrase is only in Mark. The word for time is kairos; it is used in 11:13 and 12:2 to refer to the “time of harvest” – an image that usually refers to the time of judgment. It is also used in when “The Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” Yet this is something liminal about the moment. There is a part of us that wants an “epiphany” with the kingdom clearly present; there is a triumphalistic part of us that wants the kingdom to conquer all – here and now. Yet the world still seems very much intact. Instead of a kingdom epiphany, the second act opens with Jesus wandering by the sea, bidding some common laborers to accompany him on a mission. Still, here in Mark’s gospel we know when the time is. It is now – and yet we pray “Your kingdom come….” I appreciate Martin Luther’s explanation to the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer. “God’s kingdom comes on its own without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come to us.” Continue reading

Come after me: context

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

Mark 1:14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 16 As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. 19 He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. 20 Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

The Bigger Picture. The first major section of Mark’s Gospel extends from 1:14 to 3:6, and describes the initial phase of the Galilean ministry. Within this section the evangelist records the calling of the first disciples (1:16–20; 2:14), Jesus’ ministry in and around Capernaum (1:21–34), and a series of controversies (2:1–3:6) which are climaxed by the decision to seek Jesus’ death (3:6). Continue reading

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS_4On Good Friday, April 12th in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested with Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and other marchers in Birmingham, Alabama. At about that same time eight Alabama clergymen, while in some support of the goals, wrote a common letter decrying the methods and tactics of Dr. King and the movement for Civil Rights. Dr. King’s response was completed within days.  My favorite section follows: Continue reading

Come and See Where you Belong

Belonging_crDo you remember last week’s gospel? It was Mark’s account of the Baptism of the Lord. This week we shift to the Gospel according to John and see Jesus moving from the waters of the Jordan to his first encounter with would-be disciples. We know they are going to say ‘yes’ and follow Jesus. Still, I have wonder what they were thinking, feeling, and ultimately, why did they say “yes.” We are told that Andrew believed he had found the Messiah. Still, I wonder what was going on inside – the hopes, the expectations, what it was like to meet Jesus…. and so much more. Continue reading

What are you looking for?

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”

BelongingWhat Does it Mean to Belong? It is not what you think.

Today’s column is the second of a six-part series. Last week I thought about all life here in the parish and all the ways that we “believe in, sign up, show up, and chip in.” I think our parishioners comprise every permutation and combination of these characteristics. But is any one of these characteristics the key characteristics to belonging and being engaged in our parish? What makes our parish healthy? Continue reading