You Don’t Know What You’re Asking!

Glory is so attractive! Who doesn’t want to be wealthy and famous? Who doesn’t want a shelf lined with trophies and awards? The attraction of glory spurs us to greater achievement. This is especially true of our baptismal life in the risen Christ. What glory attracts us? What do we aspire to achieve to share in this glory?
“Do whatever we ask of you,” James and John demand of Jesus. But they have it backwards. They should have said, “Lord, what do you ask of us?”

Are we willing to ask Jesus this question? If so, it will mean redefining our understanding of glory. It will mean shaping our life around choosing to serve others rather than be served. It will mean drinking the cup of suffering and undergoing the baptism of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. Can we do this?
What spurs us to faithful baptismal, Gospel living is the attraction of sharing in Jesus’ glory. Increasing this attraction increases our willingness to drink Jesus’ cup of suffering through serving others. We do this, for example, when we live a joy-filled life in face of prolonged illness; see the good in others despite their hurtful actions; take time to reach out to the lonely, the outcast, the needy.

Being the servant of all isn’t always something extra or big; most of the time it is simply doing our everyday tasks generously and with integrity while keeping in mind that others are the Body of Christ and to serve them is to serve Christ.
Can we do this? Will we do this?

Adapted from Renew International Year B

In My Name

Read the Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Gospel Summary

The struggles in our Gospel today is about power. Bishop Barron says, if you want power be holy .. The real power is in its holiness. Bishop Barron cites Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Therese as examples. They were powerful women.

,Jesus taught his disciples two different things in today’s gospel. First, when John came to him saying that someone, not one of them, was exorcizing demons in Jesus’ name, Jesus explained that anyone who was not against them was with them. If the person acted in Jesus’ name, he would not be capable of speaking out against him. The second teaching involved the way a person should respond to temptation. Not that Jesus proposed that people inflict wounds on themselves, but to make his point clearly, he suggested ridding ourselves of the parts of our bodies that lead us to sinfulness. Rather than commit sinful acts using our hands, eyes, feet, or ears, it would be better to enter heaven without those body parts than to use them sinfully and live in eternal damnation.


Love is one of those things that grows in itself. The more you give, the more it grows. There probably is no scientific way to measure why love works that way, but we just know it does. The same is true with acts of kindness—which in a way are the same thing as love. Like the person exorcizing demons in Jesus’ name, the more the better. That’s how Jesus saw it, even though the disciples in their human jealousy and desire for ownership thought the person was an intruder. Parents see this in their own lives and try to pass it on to our children. It’s hard to be mean to someone who just said, “I love you,” or gave you a hug, or climbed up on your lap. As we try to get along with each other and teach each other to get along with siblings, friends, and classmates, we will make significant progress by acting and reacting in kindness and love.

Bringing the Gospel into Your Family

Share your ideas with one another about who some of the people are in our society that give of themselves and their resources to further God’s Kingdom. It will probably be easy to come up with wealthy people who give large sums of money to charities, but what about the people who give other resources like time, energy, talent? Ask yourselves if there is more you can do as a family to bring kindness into someone else’s life.

This Is How It Is

As a child, I listened to the news each night, not really understanding what I heard. However, one phrase repeated each night: “And that’s the way it is.” The familiar voice of Walter Cronkite, his factual details and his faithful coverage all helped us to believe ‘And that’s the way it is.” It was his person that made that line believable. It was his person that entered homes each night for so many years.

Our Gospel today, points to “This is how it is.” Jesus shares with us more than events, more than facts. He is reporting the “mystery of the kingdom.” A kingdom not of this world, but it is in this world. It is divine presence, our growth and eternal life. The kingdom of God is a call to us to live lives as faithful disciples. It is a call to live divine life even while we are caught up in our own human life and events.

The kingdom is found in the intersection of our work [plant the seed] and God’s work [mystery of life growing and bearing fruit]. The Good News is that God’s kingdom is assured – the seed will yield a harvest; the tiny seed will grow into a large plant. [Living Liturgy 2015]

It doesn’t matter if we do tiny things or earth-shaking things. What matters is that we take up God’s work of planting life.

Our cooperation with God is simply to be faithful followers of Jesus. Our tiniest acts of kindness – a simple smile or hello- bring forth life and make the kingdom present. Our lifelong journey is to live the gospel making the kingdom of God present. God uses us to make the divine presence known. This is how it is!

Take Up Your Cross

I doubt that anyone reading this would plan ‘salvation’ in just the way that Jesus offers it to us. Our instinct is for a Saviour, great and glorious, that comes and takes from us our suffering, especially innocent, undeserved and useless suffering. We can accept, maybe grudgingly, pain we deserve because of our actions but the rest, especially of the weak and innocent, we find scandalous to watch, and incomprehensible to undergo.

In the salvation Jesus offers, the truly Innocent One accepts a shameful and ignominious death, rejected and abused by the people he loved so much. Peter well expressed our revulsion with such a way of salvation: ‘God forbid!’ But Jesus told him to get behind him and follow like a disciple. Jesus turned, faced and accepted his cross, so, as his disciples, we too must face the cross in our life. As we cling to our cross and bleed, our strength and consolation is that God, in the weakness of our humanity has gone before us making this painful, difficult, incomprehensible suffering the path to the fullness of divine life. We do not understand this but as we accept and undergo this path, some intimations of God’s wisdom are given to us: that God’s love and presence are revealed here; that salvation is offered as a free, undeserved gift to all; that God’s grace will work powerfully through the experience of weakness.

But that understanding comes later, after we have accepted our cross and walked with our Saviour God. In the beginning, in our pain and confusion, we remain faithful to our cross because Jesus remains faithful to us.

Adapted from Renew International Prayer Time Year A

Come To Me and I Will Give You Rest

When Jesus says that he offers us an easy yoke we may well object given that a yoke was used on animals and slaves to do hard and difficult work. The image appears, at first, demeaning. Be that as it may, let us leave aside this first emotional reaction to the image and ask just what a yoke does. A yoke was a device, usually put around the neck of an animal, or even a person, to enable them to perform a task that was usually beyond them. No animal is ever going to be able to plough a field using only their hooves or their brute strength. A man yoked to a plough is far more effective in preparing a paddock for planting than trying to do it with a spade. Essentially, a yoke was not only a labour saving device, it was something that enabled a far superior job to be done.[Living Liturgy 2014]

Still that leaves the issue of its use being demeaning to a person. The yoke most often used in Jesus times was a double yoke – one in which two beasts or people dragged the plough or load. When Jesus calls on us to take up his yoke and says that it easy, his burden light, it is because he is there alongside of us.

We journey in tandem with Jesus, when, we respond positively to think more openly, persevere through a difficult situation or letting go of our pretenses. In other words, when we seek God’s will in our lives.

Jesus fully recognises how hard and difficult our lives may be at times. We may well feel like beasts or slaves caught in situations beyond our control. He, too, has not only lived our life and died our death, he desires to be yoked to us sharing our burden and strengthening us in bearing our load. Life is only bearable when we are in union with Christ. All we need to do is come to him and he will give us rest. This is surely a gracious God with a gracious will for us.

Adapted from Renew Internqational, Prayer Time Cycle A

Pentecost Sunday

We celebrate this Sunday a wondrous and unprecedented gift of God—“the Spirit of truth” given to us. This Spirit of truth God gives is relational. This Spirit of truth changes us—through the Spirit we share a common identity as the Body of Christ and take up a common mission to proclaim the Gospel by the sheer goodness of our lives. The Spirit enables us to live with one another in a new way: with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,” etc. The Spirit propels us to engage with the world in a new way: we “testify” to the “mighty acts of God” through the very way that we live. The truth God gives transforms us and, through us, transforms the world

According to this gospel, both the Spirit and the disciples testify to Jesus. What is this testimony? It is the revelation that Jesus is of the Father, is the divine Son. Furthermore, this gospel says that the Spirit glorifies Jesus by testifying. So then do we. What is this glory? It is Jesus himself who is the visible Presence of the Father. Like the Spirit of truth, when we testify we also glorify.

This Pentecost commemoration does not simply recall a past event, but celebrates what God is doing within us now. Our daily living is to “testify” to the Spirit of truth who dwells within us. We often think of “truth” in terms of “truths”—dogmas to believe. The gospel leads us to something far more dynamic, relational. The Spirit who dwells in each of us enfleshes within us the “mighty acts of God.” Truth is being faithful to the identity and mission offered us. Truth is what is of God.
If we are to be living icons of the Spirit of truth dwelling within us, then the good choices we make daily testify to this divine indwelling. Simply put, Pente¬cost invites us to act like God! Although our testimony is not about ourselves—it is about the risen Jesus as the Son of God present among us and bringing us to salvation—in one respect it truly is about ourselves. Through the indwelling Spirit we are made members of the Body of Christ. We are living icons of the Spirit of truth, and living icons of the risen Jesus who dwells within and among us.
If we are to exude the fruits of the Spirit, we must be willing to die to ourselves. We cannot love another if we do not give of ourselves to others. We cannot have joy if we are turned in on ourselves. We cannot have peace if we are distracted by getting and doing only what we want. We cannot have patience if we do not respect the dignity of others. We cannot have gentleness if we do not see the need in others. We cannot have self-control if we don’t put the good of others first. We cannot have any of these fruits if we do not live the wondrous mystery of the Spirit dwelling within us. Come, Holy Spirit!

Adapted from Renew International Prayer Time Cycle A