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history-of-clocks_mdMonday, May 10, 2021

Mark 13:3-8

Such Things

See that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name saying, “I am he,” and they will deceive many. When you hear of wars and reports of wars, do not be alarmed; such things must happen but it will not be the end.

We live in a world in which information flies around the globe more quickly than we can take it in. Some of us are overwhelmed. Some of us become desensitized. Some of us try to find a place for our fear and an appropriate reaction.  Some of us hide and try to protect ourselves in the monuments to our fear and control that we build for ourselves and loved ones. Some of us take in this news and try to balance our caution with our love.

God says: It is impossible to sort out all the conflict that surges around you locally and globally. This information is fearsome but do not let it drive you further from me. I am not in the event. I am in you. I am not in the dreadfulness. I am in the caring hands and feet and hearts that tend to the wounded. When such things happen that frighten you, remember that I watch over you just as I watched over the Hebrews when I guided and protected them as the pillar of smoke and fire. You are as precious to me now as were the Hebrews then. Live out my love as you address the wars and reports of wars but do not be alarmed. Such things happen but it is not the end.

Let us consider how we might preach the good news Jesus speaks to us today in these words recorded by Mark.  We may want to visit an “End Times” web site and applying God’s words about such things.  (A typical site can be found at http://www.signs-of-end-times.com/.) Think about the presentation of such information, and reflect on how we react, why we react, and how we might live out the Gospel words we read today.

Tomorrow, the coming persecution.


To learn about the history of clocks and timekeeping, click on the image or visit: https://interestingengineering.com/the-very-long-and-fascinating-history-of-clocks


Temple Mount in Jesus' Time

Temple Mount in Jesus’ Time

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 9, 2021

Mark 13:1-2

Foretold

As he was making his way out of the temple area one of his disciples said to him, “Look, teacher, what stones and what buildings!” Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down”.

The disciple in this story is not named but his words are recorded. Clearly the temple and surrounding buildings strike him with awe. This is what King Solomon foresaw when planning the temple complex.  It housed the Ark of the Covenant and was meant as a suitable abode for God on earth, a place where the faithful might come to offer sacrifice, to atone, to be in the presence of the Living God. The disciple in today’s story is walking and talking with Jesus – the Living God’s living presence – and yet he focuses on the old order and sees not the presence of God beside him but the stationary temple that no longer wanders with her pilgrim people. Jesus re-directs his disciple’s attention and he also reminds us that these stones, this temple cannot stand eternally.

God says: You worry about your structures, your titles, your possessions and your awards. Turn from them and turn to me. Put aside the power you believe you have consolidated. Put down the tools you use to create your little empires and come to the living one who brings you eternal peace. There is no need for the status and goods you amass. They do not really protect you. They cannot really save you. I am the Living Presence among you. This has been foretold. Heed these words and show that you believe them in every waking moment of every day.

Consider the stones of our thinking that weigh us down. Consider the great buildings to ourselves that will tumble in time. Consider the eternal rest and security that Jesus foretells.

Tomorrow, a reflection on signs of the end. 


For more information on the Temple Mount in Jesus’ time, or to see the detail in the image above, click on the image or go to: https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-global-study-bible/illustration-41-temple-mount-in-jesus-time/


Fans Hals: Saint Mark

Fans Hals: Saint Mark

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Mark 13

Preaching the Gospel

The Gospel must be preached to all nations . . .

Over the next few days we will examine Chapter 13 of Marks’ Gospel in which Jesus imparts so many words of importance to us. Spoken some two thousand years ago, these words brought life and light to those who walked in darkness with no hope.  Read and re-lived today, these words continue to bring us peace and wonder. As we bask in the joy of Easter light and life, let us spend some time with Christ through Mark’s eyes. And let us remember that it is not enough to learn and live the Gospel, we must preach it with our lives.


Go to the Mark – “I Am” page on this blog and consider Jesus’s words to us today . . .

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mark_(Hals)

Mark – “I Am”


jesus-appears-to-the-disciples-after-resurrectionFriday, May 7, 2021

Mark 16:9-20

The Shorter Ending

The short version ending to Mark’s Gospel might leave us looking for more . . . Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid . . . And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards, Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

This quick end is simple and direct; yet it leaves us with a number of questions. What instructions were so quickly repeated? Why this hasty summation? Who exactly were Peter’s companions? What does it mean that others were sent forth by Jesus through them? We believe we know the substance of the sacred, imperishable statement of everlasting redemption, but might we not have a bit more detail?

Fortunately, we can turn to the longer story which describes more fully the resurrection, the commissioning of the eleven, and finally Jesus’ ascension; but what the shorter ending gives us a sense of immediacy, an understanding of the fear these disciples experienced, and the knowledge that something quite remarkable has been passed to us through centuries.

Spend some time today with the shorter ending of Mark’s Gospel and decide . . . do we need the details we long for . . . or might we trust God to fill in all the blanks?  Is this merely a story to entertain or amaze us . . . or are we asked to do something more with the details we hope for?  Is the fear the followers of Jesus experience an emotion we observe and document . . . or do we allow our own fear to affirm for us the importance of this singular, sacred Easter story of salvation?


Image from: http://prayersofthepeople.blogspot.com/


Robert Zünd: The Road to Emmaus

Robert Zünd: The Road to Emmaus

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Luke 24:25-27

Our Experience of Christ Part III

Jesus taught his disciples saying: “You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?” Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them all the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself”. 

God says: There was a man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and then went on a journey for a long time.  At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenant farmers to receive some of the produce of the vineyard. But they beat the servant and sent him away empty-handed. So he proceeded to send another servant, but him also they beat and sent away . . . Then he proceeded to send a third, but this one too they wounded and threw out. The owner of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I shall send my beloved son; maybe they will respect him”. But when the tenant farmers saw him they said to one another, “This is the heir. Let us kill him that the inheritance may become ours”. So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him”.  (Luke 20:9-15)

If we believe God to be away on a long journey we are mistaken. God dwells within each of us to guide and protect. If we believe that Jesus died in vain we would be incorrect. Jesus walks beside us to save and lead. If we believe that the Spirit hides in fear we have strayed from the very truth that lives in us. The Spirit calls and comforts, advises and consoles.

Let us not be mistaken. Let us not live in error.  Let us read more of the story recorded by Luke and determine for certain just how we characterize our own experience of the Christ who dies to save.


For more on Jesus on the road to Emmausclick on the image above or go to: http://www.jesus-story.net/emmaus.htm


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Galatians 3:1-14

Baburen: Christ Washing the Disciples' Feet

Dirck van Baburen: Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet

Our Experience of Christ – Part II

Are you so stupid?  After beginning with the spirit are you now ending with the flesh?  Did you experience so many things in vain?  . . . Realize then that it is those who have faith who are children of God.

Today’s lesson is a difficult one.  It asks us to exercise our faith.  It asks us to acknowledge and remember all of the times that we have been rescued.  It asks that we tell the story of our redemption.  It asks that we act in this belief that God is God, that God created us, that God loves us, and that God longs to hold us close.

O you stupid Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?

Who has talked us out of believing our own story?  Who has convinced us that Christ does not exist?  Who has persuaded us that a false story is better than the vibrant experience of Christ that we have lived?

We so frequently doubt and when we do there is only one remedy.  We must cast back through our lives to remember the many small and great ways that we have been rescued, the small and great ways that we have been loved.  When we do this . . . we will find it easier and more natural to act in faith as Paul asks us to do.  We will find that no one and no thing will ever bewitch us.  No one and no thing will ever lure us away from Christ.

From the MAGNIFICAT Morning Prayer:

You led your people through the sea dry-shod: let us put our trust in you as you lead us through this day’s challenges.  We put our trust in you!

You fed them in the desert: let us hear your word of life amid the noise of our bust lives today. We put our trust in you!

You gave them water from the rock: let us drink from the fountain of life and not from bitter and polluted waters.  We put our trust in you!


Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 23.4 (2010). Print.   

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dirck_van_Baburen_-_Christ_Washing_the_Apostles_Feet_-_WGA1090.jpg


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Galatians 3:1-14

thebible-jesus-disciples-20130321Our Experience of Christ – Part I

Who has bewitched you?

We might ask ourselves this question a thousand times during the day and the answer is always the same.  It is our doubt, our lack of faith that clouds our vision.  Paul reminds us that our justification, or our salvation, comes “not through the law or works of the law but by faith in Christ and in his death . . . The gift of God’s spirit to the Galatians came from the Gospel received in faith, not from doing what the law enjoins”.  (Senior 297)  Paul appeals to our experience of Christ both in our daily lives and as we meet him in scripture, and he reminds us that while we might come close to Christ by observing the law, it is through faith that we are blessed and redeemed.  This was promised to Abraham and now – Paul reminds us – it is promised to the gentiles.

These new Christians in Galatia to whom Paul writes were former pagans and they were being encouraged by other missionaries to observe all Jewish law along with Christ’s law of love.  This even included circumcision. (Senior 293)  Having descended from the Celts who had invaded western and central Asia Minor three hundred years prior, the Galatians had little experience in discerning and living a relationship with one true creator who loves his creatures so much that he is willing to die for them.  We might find ourselves to be much like these Galatians.


 Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.293,297. Print.

First written on April 23, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite. 

Image from: http://btscelebs.com/2013/03/21/the-bible-mission-real-verse-jesus-christ-on-palm-sunday/


temple_priestMonday, May 3, 2021

Hebrews 4:14-16

High Priest

In some religious structures it is customary to regard a particular member of the community as a singular mediator between the creator and the created. “As a prestigious, elite class the priests were also expected to preserve the holiness of the sanctuary and the uniqueness of the people of Israel.  Therefore they were subject to added restrictions not incumbent upon the average Israelite. A priest was forbidden to officiate if he had a physical defect (Lev. 21:17-24), was ritually impure, was under the influence of alcohol, or had married a woman forbidden to a priest”. (Achtemeier 882)

Jesus comes to serve as high priest for all.  Jesus comes to us a priest who administers the Law of Love. Jesus comes to us as our brother and high priest to call each of us to unity in and through him.

In this Eastertide, let us consider how we respond to this holy call to peace and grace and love.


For more on the Biblical role and the history of the high priest, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/265328/high-priest or http://www.gotquestions.org/high-priest.html or http://biblehub.com/dictionary/h/high.htm

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 882. Print.


Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 2, 2021

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Pharisees_Question_Jesus_(Les_pharisiens_questionnent_Jésus)_-_James_Tissot

James Tissot: The Pharisees Question Jesus

Three Days

Matthew 15:32 – Jesus feeds thousands who have followed him for three days, hungering for The Word of God. The religious structure collected taxes and burned offerings. The broken-hearted and the displaced were not healed. The marginalized lived at the whim of those with power. There were no social safety nets and little compassion in this ancient society.

Matthew 12:40 – Jesus reminds us that just as Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of a huge fish so too will the Son of Man pass three days and nights in the heart of the earth.  There is more safety in Jesus’ promise of salvation than any civil or economic structure.

Matthew 26:57-68 – Jesus stands in silence before the Sanhedrin when he is accused of saying that he will rebuild in three days the destroyed temple that took decades to build. When Jesus finally replies that the Son of Man will be seen sitting at God’s right hand, the high priest rends his clothes.  Disbelief and scorn are typical reactions to the savior’s promise.

Matthew 27:39-40 – Those who pass by the crucified Jesus taunt him saying: You who are going to rebuild the temple in three days, save yourself!  Bullying and violence are too often the response to God’s promise of wholeness and newness in Christ.

Matthew 27:62-66 – A guard is established at Jesus’ tomb in order that his compatriots not steal the body and create a false story. “Take a guard,” Pilate says. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how”.  There is no power on earth that can withstand the force of God’s love.

In three days, Jesus rose from the depths of death just as he had promised.  And the miracle of this event is not only that Jesus has risen, but that he carries each of us with him into this new resurrection and new life. Let us give thanks today and all days. Alleluia!


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Pharisees_Question_Jesus_(Les_pharisiens_questionnent_J%C3%A9sus)_-_James_Tissot.jpg

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