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Mark 1:14-45: The Mystery of Jesus – Fire and Water

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Guercino: Jesus and the Woman at the Well

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri): Jesus and the Woman at the Well

The Good News of Mark draws for us the lightning bolt experience of God’s visit amid us in the form of Jesus the Christ. He appears, pronounces, sets a model, calls, loves, exits, returns and abides, all in such a quick flash of time. Today’s Noontime allows us to reflect on the blaze of light which Jesus can bring to us if we only respond to his call as his first apostles and disciples did. We can also think about the image we heard in yesterday’s Gospel of John: Jesus arrives as a refreshing drink of cool, running water on an arid day.  This water satisfies for a lifetime, not only for a hot afternoon.  This running water of Jesus’ Word is not the warm water of the cistern with its temporary quenching.  This Living Water lasts forever.

From yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT reflection on the woman at the well reading from John is written by Fr. André Louf, O.C.S.P.: Everything speaks to Jesus; everything is a sign and a sacrament; all things sing of the glory and love of his Father:  this water, this well, the thirst which both of them feel, this desire to drink, even the unbearable thirst of the Samaritan woman.  It was a thirst she carried with her everywhere from man to man without being able to quench it, until she no longer knew who her true husband and what true love were.

Mark opens the window for us to see who and what Jesus is. Mystery. Light. Trust. Truth. Love. Fire. And water. Mark gives us a quick-moving, rapid-eye version of the passion that Jesus ignites in the world. We experience Jesus’ thirst for his people as he moves like a prairie fire through the towns and villages of Galilee: he calls, he cures, he heals, he cleanses. He is the Living Water that slacks deep thirst. And this is the picture which John paints in chapter 4 of his Good News.

jesuswellThe woman at the well in Chapter 4 of John’s Gospel also had a thirst for love, just as Jesus did; but she was dipping into the still water of the town’s cistern just as she was dipping into the lives of men without truly connecting, without pre-thought, without remorse for quick and superficial relationships. She perhaps was hoping to quench her desire for authentic companionship with her string of relationships. We will never know. But what we do know is that she finds something new when she encounters Christ. At first she diverts Jesus’ observations about the men in her life by moving to the topic of worship, but she cannot escape the truth. Jesus establishes trust, is patiently relentless, and once she lets him into her heart and her life – when she opens to his words – he changes her forever. She is never the same.

What are our thirsts? For what do we hunger? What worries might we allow Christ’s mystery and fire to consume? What anxieties grip us that might be stilled by the Living Water? What might we change?

Jesus is clearly calling each of us to work in his kingdom just as he called the apostles and the Samaritan woman. Perhaps we might also leave our empty water jar at the well and run to tell this Good News to all. Perhaps we might put aside our strings of temporary relationships and commitments. Perhaps we might set fire to the dryness of our lives as Mark does in the opening of his Good News story. And perhaps we might allow Jesus to both set us afire and quench our thirst for life and love. Perhaps in so doing we will enter into, and find union with, the mystery that is Jesus the Christ.

Tomorrow, listening for the voice.


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 24.2 (2008). Print.  

Images from: https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/guercino/christ-and-woman-samaria-well and http://www.womeninthebible.net/2.8.Samaritan_woman.htm

Adapted from a reflection written February 25, 2008.

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Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part VUN hunger

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Today we continue our exploration of the kingdom by going to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations web site. Find other sources of information on world hunger and consider the pros and cons. What does Jesus say to us on this subject?  How does God’s Spirit move us to celebrate humanity and those who call us to sow and reap a harvest for the poor?

Click on the image above to discover what may endanger the Mediterranean diet, the diet long considered the world’s healthiest and most sustainable regimen. Discover what science has to tell us about the factors that affect hunger.

Tomorrow, another challenge from the kingdom. 


If we want to find another parable that Jesus tells us while exploring this idea, we may want to use a parable index like the one at http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm This is a tool to sort through the stories Jesus tells us and you may have another that you want to recommend in a comment.

Or you may want to use the Connecting at Noon page on this blog for ideas about how to explore scripture as we listen for words from God: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/

 

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Luke 6:24-26: Trouble Aheadrough-road-ahead

Fifth Sunday of Lent, April 3, 2022

From Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain . . .

But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. (New American Standard Bible)

Jesus is quite clear. The content and happy must tend to the poor and broken-hearted. Those who rejoice must shepherd those who mourn. Humility is far more valuable than pride.

But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation. Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. (Douay Rheims 1899 American)

Jesus makes no mistake. The full and sated must share food and drink. Those who rejoice must accompany those who mourn. Self-knowledge is far more important than denial.

Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get. And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games. There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it. There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular. (The Message)

jesus-on-the-crossJesus calls to each of us, warning of trouble ahead. Trouble that lies not in deprivation and disaster . . . but in our hubris, our narcissism and our corruption. When we spend time reading and comparing various versions of these verses, we receive the gifts of clarity, truth and grace. Reflect on these words, or use the scripture link to choose other versions. On this day when all seems bleak and dark, and the cross dominates our thinking, let us remember that after the cross, resurrection is not far behind. There may be trouble ahead, but we need not fear. Christ is among us . . . now. Christ is in us now . . . and forever.


 Images from: https://nzesylva.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/may-your-road-be-rough-2/, and https://byhisgrace211.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/the-importance-of-jesuss-death-on-the-cross/

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