There I was: on mission, in the west of Kenya near Lake Victoria, living at an all-boys high school, speaking neither Kiswahili nor Dhluo, and not quite sure what was next. It is interesting to look back through my journal which is filled with all manner of reflections, notes about an adventure for the day, but I have no distinct memory of having any enduring task that carried me from day to day. I did help out in teaching mathematics occasionally. The Form 3 and Form 4 (that means, 11th and 12th grade) math teacher had recently started a family and the first child had many health issues which took him away from the school on an recurring but irregular basis. You might ask how could I teach without common language skills? Mathematics has its own language of symbols and signs, many of the key words are in English, and with a little imagination and waving of hands, it was possible to get through a class. There was also a student available who could translate, but as I recall in the Form 3 class the translator was not the best of mathematicians. Not sure what was lost in translation. Continue reading
This coming Sunday is the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time in Year B. The gospel for the day comes from Mark 6 and narrates the beginning of mission for the disciples.
Some context for the gospel. The miracles of the preceding chapter in the Gospel according to Mark demonstrate his divine powers. Jesus overcomes the life-destroying powers of demonic possession, chronic illness, and death. The gospel two weeks prior contained the stories of Jairus/his daughter and the women with the hemorrhage. Each account tells of an imperfect faith, yet enough faith that God enters into their lives in a way that is healing and ultimately life-giving. For Jairus’ daughter, it is the restoration of life; for the woman with the hemorrhage it is being restored to the fullness of life as her illness will no longer keep her from living life to its fullness in this lifetime. The miracles, viewed together even as they as told together, are the vestige of Jesus’ fuller mission: that all might have life eternal, free from death, and have life completely. Jesus is forming new family bonds, no longer centered on blood relationships, but on faith and those willing to act on that faith. Continue reading