Friday, January 30, 2015

Reflection: Mark 4:26-34

Third Week in Ordinary Time – Mark 4:26-34

Today Jesus continues to talk about the Kingdom of God. The image He uses in today’s Gospel is the image of seeds and how they grow. He tells his disciples the parable of the sower and the seed. We know the story well. The farmer scatters the seed and then patiently waits for it to sprout and grow. The farmer trusts that the seeds will do what is natural for them. He trusts that they will grow, mature and produce fruit.

He then gives His disciples another example of what the kingdom of heaven is like. This time Jesus uses the image of the mustard seed. He tells them that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. Yet when this tiny seed grows, it becomes one of the largest and most productive of all plants.

We are like the tiny mustard seed. We may think of ourselves as small or unable to make a difference in our world. Yet our small and seemingly puny efforts have the ability to produce abundant fruit. We have been given gifts and talents to share. To us, they may not seem like much. However, God will use us when we share ourselves and our gifts! The question is: will we?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reflection: Mark 4:21-25

Third Week in Ordinary Time – Mark 4:21-25

The image Jesus uses in today’s Gospel is the image of a lamp. Jesus asks his disciples where a lamp should be placed: under a basket or on a stand! Jesus then goes on to say that all will become known. Nothing will be hidden. Everything will come into the light!

Each one of us has a “light!” What do we do with our light? Do we use our gifts to make our world a better place? Do we let our light shine or do we downplay or ignore the gifts we have? Or perhaps we are afraid that what we have to offer may not be good enough! Or we may envy people who seem to have much greater gifts than we do.

I invite you to take some time and ask yourself: what is the “light” you have to share? It may not be a brilliant light but it is the light that only you can share in our world! No one else can share your light, it is uniquely yours. And the world is waiting for your light. The world needs your light! Trust yourself! Trust God’s gift in you! Let your light shine today and every day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reflection: Mark 4:1-20

Third Week in Ordinary Time – Mark 4:1-20

Today’s Gospel opens with Jesus being on the shore of the sea. He is teaching and many people have gathered to hear Him preach. The crowd kept growing so Jesus gets into a boat and continues to teach the people from the boat. Can you imagine that scene? Wouldn’t you love to hear Jesus preach and teach? What a wonderful opportunity and gift!

Today Jesus does teach us as He tells the parable of the sower and the seed. Most of us could tell this parable as it is very familiar to us. We know that even though Jesus is talking about the earth and how seeds grow, we know that primarily Jesus is talking about how we respond to His word. Ask yourself, is Jesus’ word falling on the hardened, rocky earth of your heart? Has His Word been “eaten up” by busyness or numbness? Or has Jesus’ word fallen into your open heart and open mind? Today is a good time to examine our “inner earth!” What will we find?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reflection: Mark 3:31-35

Third Week in Ordinary Time – Mark 3:31-35

The scene of today’s Gospel portrays the arrival of Mary, Jesus’ mother, as well as his brothers. Rather than coming into the house where Jesus was staying, they all remained outside the house and called out to Him. The people around Jesus told Him that His family had arrived.

However, rather than immediately going to find His family, Jesus says to His listeners: “Who is my mother or my brothers?” Jesus then looks intently at the people and simply says: “Here is my family: my mother and my brother.” He goes on to say that any person who does the will of God becomes a member of His family!

Perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is, are we doing the “will of God?” How do we know what the “will of God” is? Do we trust that whatever is going on in our lives (good or difficult), is the “will of God?” We all know that life is not easy. There are good times in our lives that bless us abundantly. And there are painful and difficult times in our lives that may prompt us to question God or to wonder where God is! It is easy to sense God’s presence and love when all is going well. And often it is difficult to experience God’s presence when life is challenging. However, God’s presence doesn’t change! It is our perception that changes!

In the difficult times, do I turn to God or do I shut God out? At these times, I usually am tempted to blame God for what is happening in my life. However, these are the times when I/we need God the most. We all know that “bad things happen to good people.” However, when we are the one that bad things are happening to, we may lose our normally clear perspective and belief!

Are we able to trust God at these times? Do we stay open to God’s presence and grace? May we pray for one another that we will trust God during difficult times. However, God will be with us whether we believe that or not! God will never desert us!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Reflection: Mark 3:22-30

Third Week of Ordinary Time – Mark 3:22-30

Today’s Gospel picks up where Saturday’s Gospel ended. Today the scribes accuse Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebub. They state that they believe that it’s the power of this “prince of demons” that gave Jesus the power to cast out demons! Also, the people who were listening to Jesus preach declare that He was “out of His mind!”

However, Jesus did not let their comments distract or deter Him. He immediately turns to them and questions their declarations. Ultimately Jesus tells the people that all sins, all blasphemies will be forgiven. However, if someone blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, that one will not be forgiven!

What is our reaction to his Gospel? What is the message Jesus is giving us today? Is it about blasphemy? Or is Jesus simply trying to free us? At times in our lives, we are the ones who cannot forgive ourselves for something we have done! Ask yourself: what do you need to forgive yourself for? Are you willing to let Jesus “set you free?” Jesus is waiting and ready! However, do we trust Him enough to open our minds and hearts to His love, His forgiveness, and His healing?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reflection: Mark 1:14-20

Third Week of Ordinary Time – Mark 1:14-20

Today’s Gospel begins in the middle of Chapter One of Mark’s Gospel. This section of the chapter immediately follows the account of John the Baptist’s arrest. Despite the fact that John had been arrested, Jesus continued on to Galilee to proclaim His message. Everywhere He went, He proclaimed that the time of fulfillment, the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Jesus preached a message of repentance. He invited people to believe in the Gospel.

I wonder what the people who heard him preach thought of Jesus and His message. Andrew and Simon were among the crowd who listened to Jesus’ message. Jesus singled them out and invited them to follow Him. Immediately they dropped their nets, and left their families to follow Him. Jesus must have been a powerful speaker. Also, His message must have been very different from what the other prophets preached. There was something about Jesus that deeply touched Simon and Andrew. Jesus had something they longed for. Thus, they left their nets and boat to follow this man, Jesus.

As they walked along, Jesus called Simon and Andrew. Then going a little further, Jesus also called James and John to follow Him. What was it about Jesus that inspired these common, down-to-earth men, to leave their livelihood, their families and their home to follow this itinerant preacher! Jesus must have had a powerful presence but also a message that spoke to their hearts!

Why do we follow Jesus? Do we do it because it is what we learned as children? Do we follow Jesus because that is what we are supposed to do? Is Jesus a real person to us or is He simply a character in a story to us? Today take some time and reflect on this question: who is Jesus to you? Does Jesus make a difference in your life? I pray your answer is YES!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reflection: Mark 3:20-21

Second Week of Ordinary Time - Mark 3:20-21

Once again, Jesus is followed by a crowd of people. There is no respite for Jesus. The people are desperate. They long to hear Jesus preach and they hope to be healed of their diseases, be they of body, mind or spirit. The people recognized that there was something very different about Jesus. Yes, Jesus preached and healed as many other prophets did. But perhaps more importantly, Jesus truly “saw” them. And Jesus loved them!

Love is very healing! Love says that we are important to the other person. Love tells us that we are accepted and cared for as we are. Love desires the best for us, even if it is at the sacrifice of the other.

Jesus was and is the ultimate Lover. No matter what “state” we are in when we come to Jesus, He immediately gathers us to Himself in love. Perhaps the fact that Jesus desires us to come to Him no matter what “state” we are in is proof that Jesus is the ultimate unconditional Lover. Jesus simply desires for us to live in close communion with Him. He is not worried about our past. He never gives up on us. Jesus simply loves us as we are. And He waits for us to “come home” to Him! What will we do today?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Reflection: Mark 3:13-19

Second Week of Ordinary Time - Mark 3:13-19

Today Jesus appoints the “Twelve,” those disciples who would become His closest companions. Jesus wants to send them forth to spread His message of the “Good News!” He also gave them the power to drive out demons. He then sends them forth to preach and teach.

I wonder how the disciples responded to Jesus calling them to follow Him? Were they excited? Amazed? Or were they shocked and perhaps a bit apprehensive? Did they believe that they also would have the power to do wondrous works?

Today Jesus calls us! Today Jesus calls you and me to “do good” for others! Daily Jesus asks us to spread His Word and His Love. How do we respond? Do we trust that we have gifts to share? Will we trust that Jesus will be with us and guide us? We are blessed! Today may we share our blessings!