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Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 2:1-12) offers a demonstration of the absolutely awe-inspiring way that Jesus deals with the evil/misguided enemies who seek to discredit Him:

 

[1]And when he returned to Caper’na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them.  [3] And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.  [4] And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.  [5] And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”  [6] Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  [7] “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  [8] And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? [9] Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? [10] But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic — [11] “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” [12] And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

To understand a little more of this incredible show down with the religious enemies of Jesus, consider: (more…)

agony-in-the-gardenToday’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 1:40-45) highlights one of the times that Jesus seeks to avoid publicity:

[40]And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  [41] Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.”  [42] And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.  [43] And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once,  [44] and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”  [45] But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

Jesus sternly instructs the man not to tell anyone (except the priest so that the man can re-enter the Temple, now that he is clean).  Why?

Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch offer 3 reasons in their marvelous commentary in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (every Catholic should have a copy of this wonderful resource – get it here):

  1. Jesus wanted to avoid a “sensationalist” reputation of being no more than a wonder-worker.
  2. Jesus wanted to avoid the common notion that the Messiah would be a political and military leader.
  3. Jesus did not want to ignite the wrath of His enemies before the appointed time for His Passion.

Jesus was a brilliant strategist, picking and choosing when, where and how He would reveal Himself.  Even when people refused to cooperate!

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Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 1:29-39) gives an insight into the incredible stamina that Jesus Christ demonstrated:

[32]That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.  [33] And the whole city was gathered together about the door.  [34] And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.   [35]  And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. [36] And Simon and those who were with him pursued him,  [37] and they found him and said to him, “Every one is searching for you.”  [38] And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.”  [39] And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
While the great endurance of Jesus is often recognized during the Passion, it is sometimes easy to miss the fact that Jesus Christ as a very robust man:
  • The Gospel begins at sundown, after Jesus has already put in a long day.  Evidently, He was not tired.
  • Even after dinner (Peter’s mother-in-law had finished serving them meals: Mark 1:31), the crowds were there, seeking to have Jesus heal the many sick and demon possessed.
  • It seems likely that healing the many people was extremely tiring; imagine today’s emergency room doctors are pretty tired after a 16 hour double shift.
  • Despite working late, Jesus is up way before dawn, went off to pray.  Perhaps Jesus was asking the Father for strength to carry on.
  • Simon and everyone pursue Jesus, even as He is seeking to pray.
  • Jesus doesn’t resist; in fact, He is ready to continue His grueling pace across Galilee.

It should not surprise us that Jesus had incredible stamina and endurance.  He is the Son of Man, after all.

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Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 1:29-39) describes yet another healing miracle by Jesus Christ:

[30] Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her.   [31] And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.

As always, we should accept what is presented to us in the Gospel, understand it and attempt to personalize it (more…)

CHT252567Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 1:21-28) speaks about the mysterious power of Jesus:

[21] And they went into Caper’na-um; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.  [22] And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.  [23] And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;  [24] and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”   [25] But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”   [26] And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.   [27] And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” [28] And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Following on yesterday’s amazing call of Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John, Jesus convincingly demonstrates His Divine power and authority: (more…)

Father Robert Barron offers a short tutorial on Jesus the Messiah.

Jesus calling His disciples

Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 1:14-20) reveals something amazing about Jesus Christ:

[14] Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,  [15] and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”   [16]  And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.  [17] And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.”   [18] And immediately they left their nets and followed him.  [19] And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zeb’edee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. [20] And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zeb’edee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.

What’s amazing?  This:

  • Jesus walks by and calls Simon and Andrew and then James and John and they immediately drop everything and follow Jesus.
  • Each of the four had responsibilities and family (Peter even had a wife; it is unclear about the others) and yet they follow Jesus.
  • Imagine that someone you don’t know walks by you at work or school and calls you to come with them; its unlikely that we would immediately stop and follow that person.  And yet, that is exactly what Mark says happens with Simon, Andrew, James and John.

The power and charisma of our Lord Jesus Christ must have been awesome (i.e. “divinely reverential”).

Jesus Christ is the same today:  are we prepared to drop everything and follow Jesus?

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Father Ryan Erlenbush offers three reasons why the heavens open up at Jesus’ Baptism:

If, then, our Lord was always perfect in grace and did not grow into closer union with God but was always in perfect union with the divinity, and if the heavens were always opened to our Savior; why, then, did the heavens open to him at his baptism?
If the heavens were already opened to him, how could they be opened to him anew? The heavens were opened as a sign for our benefit, for the baptism of Christ is a cause of grace in us.
Aquinas (that is, the Angelic Thomas) gives three reasons:
1) To show that it is a heavenly power which sanctifies baptism and effects the grace of baptism in all those who are baptized.
2) Baptism is the “door of faith”, by which faith we gaze upon the things of heaven.
3) Finally, heaven is closed to us before we are baptized. Thus, because baptism is the opening for us to the way to heaven, the heavens were opened as a sign for us at the baptism of our Savior.

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When Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22).

Question:  Did Jesus grow in Grace as a result of His Baptism? (more…)

Somewhat humorous, somewhat sad.  What will you say when you are asked by Our Lord Jesus Christ, “Who do you say that I am?”