Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reflection: Mark 10:46-52

Thursday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time - Mark 10:46-52  

As Jesus was leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus was sitting on the roadside begging for alms.  When Bartimaeus realized that Jesus was passing by, he cried out to him: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”  The people around Bartimaeus tried to silence him.  However, Bartimaeus was determined to get Jesus’ attention.  He continued to cry out: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”

When Jesus heard Bartimaeus’ plea, he stopped and said to his disciples: “Call him.”  The disciples called to Bartimaeus: “Take courage and get up!  Jesus is calling you!”  Immediately, Bartimaeus jumped up, threw his cloak aside, and went to Jesus.  Jesus quietly asked him: “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus replied: “Master, I want to see.”  Jesus then said to him: “Go on your way; your faith has saved you.”  In that instant, Bartimaeus received his sight and he followed Jesus on the way.

Ask yourself:  What is the sight that you wish to ask Jesus for today?  What is it that you need to see?  State your intention and then be attentive throughout the day.  Jesus may give you your sight in an unexpected or unusual way.  Be attentive to each person you encounter.  Truly look at each person.  They may appreciate a few minutes of your time and attention or perhaps they simply need the recognition that you have seen them.

Give thanks today for the people who notice and see you.  They have given you a great gift.  In return, share this seemingly small but loving gift with others.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Reflection: Mark 10:32-45

Wednesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time - Mark 10:32-45

Today the disciples are on the way to Jerusalem and Jesus is walking ahead of them. Mark writes: “The disciples were amazed yet others were afraid.” These men are still trying to absorb what Jesus had said to the young man in the gospel passage we read yesterday.

After a time, Jesus takes his twelve disciples aside and begins to prepare them for what will happen in Jerusalem.  He tells them that when they get to Jerusalem the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the Scribes. He then tells them that he will be mocked, spit on, and condemned to death. After three days, He will rise again.

Imagine the disciples’ reaction to these statements.  They know that Jesus is a controversial person.   However, they are stunned at the possibility of Jesus being arrested and possibly condemned to death. This is beyond their comprehension. And although they know that Jesus is in danger, they do not want to listen to what he is saying to them.

In the middle of this serious dialogue James and John come to Jesus and say: “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask.”  How brazen!  Here are two of his disciples literally ordering Jesus around!  James and John are not concerned about what Jesus is saying.  They say nothing to him about the prediction of his death. Are James and John not concerned about the danger to Jesus? Do they not care that He no longer would be with them?  They simply want to ensure that they will have a place at Jesus’ right and left hand when finally he is in his glory. Talk about self-centered!  Their focus was solely on their future!

Understandably, the other disciples are extremely upset with James and John. Who do they think they are? Do they truly believe they were better than the other disciples?  Jesus tells James and John: “You do not understand what they are asking!”   Then Jesus bluntly asks them: “Are you truly willing to drink from the chalice from which I will drink?”

How very human the disciples were!  Often they were focused only on themselves.  Do they not understand that Jesus was in danger?   They know that some of the Jews were plotting against Jesus.  Still, their self-centeredness prevails!  Some of the disciples are concerned only about their future.
When we pray or talk with Jesus, are we only concerned with ourselves?  Do we do all the talking or do we quiet down, open our hearts, and listen to Jesus?  Jesus has much that He wishes to say to us.  Perhaps he simply desires to be in our presence and have our full attention. Today when we pray, will we do all the talking or will we stop and be attentive to Jesus’ presence with us?  Will we be still and listen for His words to us?

Jesus also desires that we be servants to one another.  Are we willing to serve and love others as Jesus did?  If choose to serve as Jesus did, most likely we will receive much more than we give. What will we choose to do today?  Will we serve the people we encounter today or will we simply go on our merry way?  What a loss that would be! And who knows: if we are attentive and alert, we  likely will meet Jesus several times as we go through our day. Be awake! Jesus will appear to you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reflection: Mark 10:28-31

Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 10:28-31

Today Peter responds to Jesus’ statement to the young man in yesterday’s Gospel. Peter reminds Jesus: “We have given up everything to follow you.” Jesus tells Peter that anyone who gives up family, home, job, or land for his sake will receive a reward so great that this individual will receive a hundred times more than he or she gave up.  That could be quite a reward depending on what you have given up.

Again Jesus reminds his disciples that he desires their all.  He doesn’t want lukewarm or casual disciples.  Jesus longs for wholehearted love and deep commitment from his followers.  If we are deeply committed to Jesus, and if we give our all for Him, we will receive a hundred times more than we have given. What a wondrous promise!

It is not always easy to give our all to Jesus. There are so many distractions and attractions in today’s world.  We can easily wander off from Jesus, but we also long to belong wholeheartedly to Jesus.  What will we choose?  No one can choose for us.  Only we can make this decision.  It is a decision that we make each and every day.  Today what will we decide?  Will we follow Jesus today even if the cost seems too great?  I pray we will!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Reflection: Mark 10:17-27

Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 10:17-27

Now that we have celebrated the feast of Pentecost, we return to Ordinary Time. The Gospel that begins Ordinary Time for us is the story of the man who comes to Jesus and asks him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Rather than answering the man’s question, Jesus asks the man a question, “Why do you call me good? Only God alone is good.” Jesus is a bit abrupt with the man. He then tells him, “You know the commandments! Do what the commandments tell you.”

However, the young man is not satisfied. He tells Jesus that he has followed the commandments since he was a young child. The young man longs to do more than to simply follow the commandments; he yearns for something deeper. Mark writes: “Jesus looked at the man and loved him.” What a powerful and yet tender statement! Clearly, this young man wished to give his all to God and to wholeheartedly live out the commandments of God.

Jesus is surprised by this young man’s deep and sincere desire and instantly Jesus’ heart was filled with love for this young man who hungers for God.  In response to the young man’s question, Jesus tells him that he is lacking one thing. He tells the young man to sell all his belongings, give the money to the poor, and then come and follow him. This was not the response for which the young man was hoping. When the man begins to comprehend what Jesus is saying, he is stupefied. He wants to follow Jesus; however, he never expected that he would have to give away all his belongings and leave his family and his friends to become an itinerant follower of Jesus. The price of following Jesus was far too steep for this young man. Eventually the young man walked away from Jesus sad and dismayed.

What about us? Are we willing to give up everything we have to follow Jesus? At times, the cost of following Jesus simply may be too high for us. We might have to leave behind all that we have struggled to build and secure.   Yet, are we truly happy with our lives?  Do our possessions and security really bring us happiness?

Are we open to letting go of our seeming security and trust that Jesus will provide for us or do we think that Jesus is asking too much of us?  Our happiness lies in how we answer these questions!  We have a choice.  What will we choose? 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reflection: John 16:12-15

The Most Holy Trinity, Solemnity - John 16:12-15 

This Gospel begins with Jesus telling his disciples that there is much more for him to tell them. Jesus realizes that they are striving to absorb and understand what he has been saying. He also understands that at this point they do not have the capacity to absorb anything more.
Jesus reminds them that when the Spirit comes, the Spirit will guide them to all the truth. He tells them that the Spirit will speak to them about the things that will come in the future. Then Jesus not only foretells his departure, but also says that in the future he will return but in a new and different way.
Just as Jesus reassured his disciples, Jesus also reassures us. Today he also is telling us, that he not only will come to us but he already is among us. Jesus comes to us in the breaking of the bread and when we, his followers, are gathered together, Jesus is with us and among us.
Do we recognize Jesus with us? Do we experience his presence, his love, his grace? Today may our minds and hearts be awake and alert to his coming! We don’t want to miss him.  What a loss that would be!