Earlier this morning I posted a short commentary on today’s gospel. Within the gospel we again hear Jesus commanding silence about his ministry and his identity. In tomorrow’s gospel Jesus will appoint the Twelve, that core cadre of people whom he will form as apostles and disciples whose mission will not be silence, but rather communications, messaging, and promotion. He wants the right team, rightly formed, carrying the right message to the world.
In a way the formation and preparation of the “team” is in the backdrop of almost every story in the gospel. At the end of the gospels the “team” will be sent with the Good News to the ends of the earth as his spokesperson. It is a role for which you were anointed in your baptism. And so the mission asked of us is – in our own place and time – to be the person rightly formed and willing to speak when called upon. To be “on message” and pass on the saving Word.
So… are you on the team? Starting lineup? Practice squad? Taxi squad? Getting ready? Or just a spectator in the stands? Maybe not even at the game? The nice thing about “Team Jesus” is that the starting lineup is not limited to the Twelve. It’s a big playing field and we can use the whole team in action. So… are you on the team?
In today’s gospel we encounter Jesus by the sea shore with large crowds approaching and a demonic presence. Up to this point in his gospel narrative, Mark has shown his skills as a storyteller. Mark does not write with the high style of Luke, with the religious insight of Matthew, or the soaring prose of John. His writing style is sparse. Yet, he has begun to reveal the human side of Jesus’ character by certain details that Matthew and Luke leave out of their accounts. For example, only Mark describes Jesus’ grief and anger during the cure of the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:5). Continue reading
This coming Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. A key phrase in this Gospel is “In the power of the Spirit.” As noted, this passage begins with a reference to Jesus being “in the power of the Spirit.” While there are no doubt some implicit Trinitarian ideas here, the OT should serve as the means of understanding the direction of Luke’s narrative. The OT metaphors of wind (Heb: ruach – breath, wind, spirit), smoke, and cloud, as well as fire, were ways of talking about the active presence of God in the world. Even though the single Hebrew term is translated in various ways even when used of God, this idea became a way to talk about God in terms of his immediate activity in the world. The idea behind the Hebrew term ruach expressed the immanence of God in the world and encompassed his willingness and power to act in human history. This idea carried over into most of the NT since the equivalent term in Greek (pneuma) carries the same varied meaning. As well, this “power of the Spirit” also points to a commissioning of prophets and enabling leaders to carry out their mission. Continue reading