Reflecting on the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, reflecting on Mark 1: 40-45:

Although leprosy has been virtually wiped out in developed nations, the loneliness and social stigma attending various physical or interior afflictions–for instance, AIDS or mental illness–is as widespread as ever. Indeed, leprosy is only an outward sign of the inner uncleanness experienced by all fallen human beings. The defilement of sin often causes a deep inner shame, even when a person is not consciously aware of it, that makes a person hesitant to turn to God. But as this man’s boldness in approaching Jesus was richly rewarded, so is the prayer of all those who approach him with confidence in his cleansing power, especially through the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus is not dismayed, scandalized, or contaminated by any human defilement. He willingly removes it by the power of his own holiness, restoring our communion with others and making us fully qualified to enter into God’s presence.

© 2008 Mary Healy and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, commenting on Mark 1:31:

Jesus’ healings often involve his physical contact with the patient, a personal and consoling touch. In this case he grasped her hand and helped her up (literally “raised her up,” the same word used for his own resurrection, 16:6). This woman’s recovery from illness is a foreshadowing of the resurrection on the last day (12:24–26). Her immediate reaction is a model of discipleship: she waited on them. The Greek verb, diakoneō, later becomes a standard term for Christian ministry (Acts 6:2), from which we derive the word “deacon.” It is what Jesus himself said he came to do: “not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). The right response to an experience of Jesus’ healing power is to begin to spend oneself in service to him and his disciples, that is, to the Church. Women exemplify this service in a particular way in the Gospels (Mark 15:41; Luke 10:40; John 12:2).

© 2008 Mary Healy and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

 

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, reflecting on Mark 1:21-28:

The story of Jesus’ first exorcism portrays the forces of evil in a way that may appear to readers today as strikingly personal. For Mark, as for the whole New Testament, evil is not an impersonal force but is concentrated in invisible, malevolent beings who are bent on destroying human beingss and hindering God’s plan of salvation. These evil spirits are responsible for various mental and even physical maladies (7:25; 9:17–27; see Matt 12:22; Luke 13:11). Some exegetes, noting that the Gospels do not always clearly distinguish between illness and demonic possession, have concluded that the references to demons are simply a mythical way of symbolizing the misfortunes to which human beings are prone. The Church has always taught, however, that demons are real spiritual beings, fallen angels who were created by God but became evil by their own free choice (Catechism, 391–95).

© 2008 Mary Healy and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

 

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, commenting on Mark 1:18:

The call to be fishers of men evokes a prophecy of Jeremiah in which God promised to send out “many fishermen” to gather in the Israelites who had been scattered among the nations (Jer 16:14–16; see Mark 13:27). Jesus’ first disciples may have recalled this prophecy with a dawning sense of excitement as they began to realize the momentous significance of the vocation into which they were entering. 

© 2008 Mary Healy and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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How to Read the Bible in a Year

Some friends recently made the excellent decision to read through the entire Bible in the course of a year and asked for advice.  When I first read through the Bible in a year it had a transformative effect on my life.  Spiritually speaking, it was like eating a perfectly balanced diet for a year while working out daily!  I felt stronger; I had more energy for doing what I should do!  Although I had more questions, I felt I had more insight into God’s way of seeing things and familiarity with Sacred Scripture. Continue reading

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Reflecting on the First Corinthians for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

From First Corinthians by George T. Montague, SM, commenting on First Corinthians 6:18:

The only possible conclusion is to flee fornication. The NAB translation, Avoid immorality, though admissible, loses the strength that Paul intends here: shun, escape from, flee. Porneia may be translated “immorality,” but the context suggests more specifically sexual immorality or fornication. Following Saint Thomas Aquinas, spiritual writers have advised that while other vices call for a tactic of resistance, fornication calls for the tactic of flight, lest passion be enkindled by toying with the occasion. 

© 2011 George T. Montague, SM and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Epiphany of the Lord

From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, commenting on Matthew 2:1:

The word magi originally described members of the Median and Persian priestly caste who advised the king and interpreted dreams. The term later was used more broadly to denote those who possessed mystical knowledge as priests, astrologers, soothsayers, or sages. Their popular association with kings today may be based on Old Testament passages that recount kings bringing gifts to the royal Davidic son (Ps 72:10–11), including gifts of gold and frankincense (Isa 60:3–6). In the Jewish tradition magi would bring to mind the opponents of Daniel in Babylon, who were associated with enchanters and sorcerers and claimed to interpret dreams and signs (Dan 1:20; 2:2; 4:4; 5:7 LXX). Hence, one would not expect magi from the East to be among the first to pay homage to the Jewish messiah. This account thus sets up a theme that will be repeated throughout Matthew’s gospel: Israel’s king is welcomed by those one would least expect while Jewish leaders work against him (2:4).

© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, reflecting on Matthew 1:1:

In this opening verse, Matthew introduces us to the holy name of Jesus, which has been invoked in prayer from the very beginning of Christianity. From a biblical perspective, the very fact that we can call on the name of Jesus is astonishing. In ancient Judaism, God’s name came to be invoked only once a year and only by the High Priest. Now, with God becoming man in Christ, we have the privilege of calling on the name of the Lord. “The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: ‘Jesus,’ ‘YHWH saves’” (Catechism 2666).

© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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What Does The First Pope’s First Encyclical Say to Catholics Today?

Peter originally wrote First Peter as a circular letter (which is what “encyclical” means) to a group of churches in Asia Minor in the first century. Their world passed away long ago, but this bright yet sober letter continues to speak to us as the living word of God twenty centuries later. First Peter speaks to us in at least four distinct ways. Continue reading

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Reflecting on the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent

From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, commenting on Mark 1:1-8:

In the original passages [of Isaiah] God was speaking to his people, but Mark has reworked them to portray God speaking to his Son, telling him, Your coming will be prepared by a forerunner, John the Baptist.  Thus the Lord whose way is prepared is Jesus!  His paths will be made straight—that is, the people’s hearts will be made ready for his coming—by the contrition for sin and the repentance that come about through John’s preaching.  Mark is saying, in effect, “Israel, here is your God!  God’s promises are being fulfilled, and a new and greater return from exile is about to take place!”

© 2008 Mary Healy and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

 

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