Monthly Archives: January 2018

Mark 6: Rejected at Nazareth

Our gospel reading at Mass today is from the 6th chapter of Mark. “Jesus departed from there and came to his native place accompanied by his disciples.” (Mark 6, 1)

Where was Jesus coming from when he came to Nazareth, his home town? From Capernaum where, in Mark’s gospel, he had just brought back the daughter of Jairus from the dead and healed the woman who touched his garment. (Mark 5, 21-43) That news surely reached Nazareth, but the people there aren’t impressed.

When Jesus goes into their synagogue on the Sabbath, they’re initially impressed by his teaching and by news of “his might deeds” but then they remember he’s “‘the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.“ Jesus said to them, “‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. “ (Mark 6, 1-6)

Over and over, Mark’s gospel says that Jesus was rejected in the places where he went After his baptism in the Jordan, he went to Capernuam where, in one paradigmatic day, he drives out an unclean spirit and cures Peter’s mother-in-law and at the end of the day, the whole town is at his door. {Mark 1, 16-34) The enthusiasm doesn’t last, however. Capernaum and other nearby towns in Galilee receive him first, then reject him. (Matthew 11,23)

Even when Jesus crosses over the Sea of Galilee to pagan territory on the west bank he meets rejection. (Mark 5, 1-20) He casts out the unclean spirit, as he did at Capernaum, but when the pigs stampede down into the sea the townspeople ask him to leave. He’s endangering their economy, it seems.

Jesus doesn’t have continual success in his ministry. He doesn’t have an unbroken parade of achievements, his life is not a road of triumph, Mark insists.

Mark’s gospel is centered on the Passion of Jesus, a lifelong mystery. It’s greatest expression is found on Calvary, but it takes different forms through life, especially forms of rejection and lack of acceptance.

Humanity is fickle and prone to doubt.

Behind Mark’s gospel, we can see the persecution of Christians in Rome by Nero in 63 AD. A church rejected, accused of evil, betrayed even by some of its own members. The persecution made no sense.

Mark writes for them. Jesus goes before you; follow him. Mark writes for us. Jesus goes before you; follow him.

You may be interested in the Neronian persecution. Here’s a video:

A Day Among The Stones

Contemplative Philosophy

by Howard Hain

christ-on-the-cross-murillo-1660-70Murillo, “Christ on the Cross”, (1660-70) (detail)

some were stones

others rocks

the difference

i’m not quite sure

though both are heavy

so many distinctions

almost all

humanly made

yet not even

a single

grain of sand

is created by man

perhaps then

stones are former rocks

those chosen to enforce

worldly power

perhaps they’re earthly kingdoms

established by men

men possessing

such domain

perhaps they’re the ones

reigning down

upon those brought low

upon those dragged

outside the walls

hauled off to a yard

to be stoned

yet both

both stone, and rock

seem to get along

as long as they’re simply left alone

call to mind

that famous pile

that most famous pile of stone

the one upon which

we crucified our Rock

to some it’s golgotha

to others it’s calvary

to too many

it’s a giant farce

but oh those stones

oh they don’t…

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Pray for Andrew

by Fr.James Barry, CP

Last summer I visited the Shrine of the American Jesuit Martyrs at Auriesville, New York. I went into the large circular Indian Chapel to pray and light a candle, only few people around.

In came a couple with their son Andrew and his grandparents who came up to the altar to pray. Andrew, a four year old child, was suffering from a serious brain disease which the doctors could not identify. He would go into seizures and flail around and cry out for help and then it would go on for a while and stop. They wanted me to pray over this child and anoint him with sacred oil of the sick, which I did, and he seemed to calm for a while but it did little to help him.

I could see on the faces of the parents and grandparents the pain they were suffering for this child; they have been to the Mayo clinic, Mass General, Johns Hopkins , Baltimore and they keep trying for a cure and spending everything they have to help this child.

In the Gospel from Mark for today the man possessed was a member of a family; very possible family members put him in chains and restraints so that he would not harm himself, but he broke the chains. A spirit spoke to Jesus. “What have you to do with me Jesus, Son of the most high God, do not torment me.”

Jesus calls out “Unclean spirit come out of the man; what is your name?” “LEGION” he says, “and there are many of us…..send us into the swine” which Jesus does and 2000 swine rush over the cliff and drown.

The healed man wants to follow Jesus, but Jesus tells him to go home and be with his family and proclaim the good news about what has happened to them. Jesus notices the man’s family and wants them to be healed as well, for they have suffered much with this man.

We’re called to pray and bless all those who come to us and are suffering, We don’t always know how. God willing, may we help someone who is suffering now.

Recently I sent the blessed oil of St. Charles Houben, a Passionist healing saint, to that family I met. I ask you to pray that the fullness of God’s healing may be upon Andrew, his mom and dad and grandparents. They are wonderful people and deserve our love.

Not Worthy

Contemplative Philosophy

by Howard Hain

albrecht-durer-saint-peterDurer, “The Four Apostles” (1526), detail of St. Peter

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

—Luke 5:8,10,11


It is our job, perhaps our only job, to continually put ourselves into a perspective—in a relation to Christ—that causes us to truly believe with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds that we are not worthy of His sacrifice, His gift, His love for us as embodied in the Crucifixion and His glorious wounds—and then to share that “divine unworthiness” with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds with every brother and sister of Christ…

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Love Your Proud Papa

Contemplative Philosophy

Today, This Moment, The Year of Your Lord

My Child,

I thought I should write you this morning. To put down a few words. To speak into creation my ongoing love for you.

There are times when I watch you, somewhat at a distance. I leave that space so that my watching doesn’t impede your playing. But there is really no space at all. Because by not being “right with you” I get to see you as you truly are. My “distance” allows me to see you within the full scope of your existence. And never forget, my child, not for a second, I create your existence. It is not an event of the past. I am active. Always. I am always creating you, and I am always enjoying my creation. That is why I watch.

I watch you unfold. I watch frowns and frustrations unfold into smirks and full-blown smiles. I watch you…

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