Feb 5, 2021

'Immortal Combat' Addendum: Reflections on the Gospel of Mark

 A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark                                                      6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick -- no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them." So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. 

The Gospel of the Lord


The following is a meditation by Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D. She is a Carmelite nun at Quidenham in Norfolk, England. I found it well-aligned with Fr. Longenecker's book

Nothing for the Journey but Jesus

Deep in us all is the will to power, the will to control the world, to control people in order to serve our own ends. Our own ends may seem modest indeed, little more than self-preservation; nevertheless the ego standing behind this modest need has a rapacity far outstripping its claim. It is a mistake to think it is only powerful personalities that are involved. The drive may be more obvious in them but it is there every bit as much in the weak. . . The way to God for all of us requires on our part an unselfish generosity in the efforts we must make towards it in accepting the work of God, who reaches down to our entrails to wrest us from our selfish selves.

In reality these two aspects intertwine. God is always working to bring us to an awareness and acceptance of our poverty, which is the essential condition of our being able to receive him, and the petty frustrations, the restriction, the humiliations, the occasions when we are made to feel poignantly and distressingly hedged around, not in control of the world, not even in control of that tiny corner of it we are supposed to call our own, are his chosen channel into the soul. It is the one who has learned to bow his head, to accept the yoke, who knows what freedom is. 

No one who has read the Gospel seriously can think that this counsel of Jesus means a passive, cowardly "I'm-a-door-mat-walk-over-e" attitude. He always remains our example. He accepted as none other ever can the essential poverty of the human condition and the working out of that in everyday life. . . Only living faith can see this. It means really embracing Jesus, really believing in the Son of Man.


From the Magnificat magazine, Thursday, February 4, 2021