Soul Seeing: If you had leprosy and lost almost everything, would you still be able to smile and do a dance to a silent tune of gratitude?
It’s impossible to understand today’s first and third readings without an appreciation of the idea of biblical apocalyptic literature.
The Bible isn’t a book, it’s a library. Not only does it include books written by different authors at various times, but, like any library, it contains works composed in different genres. We need only walk into our local library and look at the names above the bookshelves to surface those genres: history, fiction, reference, biography, etc.
This morning’s Scriptures give us some extraordinary examples of generosity and sharing of goods. Both the first lesson and the Gospel lesson give us the example of the poor, even the poorest of the poor, sharing everything they have. That widow from Zarepheth who is encountered by Elijah asking her for food tells him, “This is all I have, the last cup of flour and this little bit of oil. When I bake the bread and my son and I eat it, we will die.”
Chicago Cardinal Francis George urged bishops to enlist Day in battle against the Obama administration's contraception mandate and endorsement of gay rights.
Jesus chose unlikely role models for his disciples to emulate. In a society where children were regarded as the property of their fathers, with no rights or voice of their own, Jesus set forth a child and claimed that the kingdom of God belongs to “such as these.” He also held up people who were thought to be ritually unclean or even sinful because of a physical malady or their ethnicity (the Gerasene demoniac, the woman with a hemorrhage in Mark 5; the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7; the boy with a demon in Mark 9; blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10).
My Table is Spread: Religious freedom does not mean the freedom to think, a power, one presumes, even oppressive regimes cannot hold over citizens.
Soul Seeing: News of Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's death brought the city of broad shoulders to its knees.
In today’s liturgy, the Testaments meet. Both affirm that loving God and loving one another are the essential challenges that identify believers and authenticate their faith. However, this love is not about feelings. On the contrary, love is a deliberate decision to serve another regardless of our emotions. Love, as Ralph Kuehner and Joseph Juknialis have noted, is about making decisions based upon the vision of Jesus, despite the allure of those many other visions that may be clamoring for our attention and allegiance (Living the Word, World Library Pub., 2005).
Soul Seeing: Life is like a big car wash: God gives us everything we need to get through it and come out shining, surrounded by bells and whistles.
We’ve finally reached Mark’s third way of dying with Jesus. There’s just one problem: Those who chose our Sunday liturgical passage failed to notice Mark’s prediction-misunderstanding-clarification pattern. They left out the prediction: “They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him ...”