Lord Of The Sabbath: Mark 2:23-28


As he was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Jesus faces yet another question by the Pharisees; “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” This time in His answer, he uses an example from scripture about David and his companions from I Sam. 21:2-7. Let’s take a look;

David went to Ahimelech, the priest of Nob, who came trembling to meet him and asked, “Why are you alone? Is there no one with you?” David answered the priest: “The king gave me a commission and told me to let no one know anything about the business on which he sent me or the commission he gave me. For that reason I have arranged a meeting place with my men. Now what have you on hand? Give me five loaves, or whatever you can find.” But the priest replied to David, “I have no ordinary bread on hand, only holy bread; if the men have abstained from women, you may eat some of that.” David answered the priest: “We have indeed been segregated from women as on previous occasions. Whenever I go on a journey, all the young men are consecrated–even for a secular journey. All the more so today, when they are consecrated at arms!” So the priest gave him holy bread, for no other bread was on hand except the showbread which had been removed from the LORD’S presence and replaced by fresh bread when it was taken away.

Now, exactly what does this have to do with the Sabbath? Let us see why Jesus ties these together.

First, Jesus addresses the issue of lawfulness. This is why He brings in the example of David and his companions. David’s dilemma was hunger. Jesus’ disciples were no doubt hungry too, picking the heads of grain an activity of “work,” and the Sabbath called for “rest.” Thus, the parallel is drawn, that King David did what was not “lawful” as well, when he and his companions were hungry. Jesus’ point is that sometimes, for the well being of others, the letter of the law may be broken, but the spirit of the law remains in tact. We see this principle taught throughout Jesus’ ministry. That our love and concern for others is second only  to the love we are to have for God.

To realize God’s love and mercy in our own lives means we share that love and mercy with others, especially in their time of need. If this happens on a Sabbath, would God be more pleased if we ignored our brothers need and worshiped and rested? Or would our help be considered and act of worship to God – showing His love toward others? Clearly, Jesus is teaching the latter.

This leads us to His second point; the issue of the Sabbath itself.

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. This is a very telling statement.

We, as humans, tend to look at rules as negatives and not positives. “Why can’t I do this?” and “Why can’t we do that?” “Why do I have to do it this way?” But let’s really look at this statement, even recalling Ex. 20:8, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”, and examine it in a positive light.

The sabbath was made for man… Man needs rest. He needs reflection and rejuvenation. It is good for his body, mind and spirit. Spiritually speaking, he also needs to take time to worship, adore and praise the Creator. For we see that God, even though not needing rest, provided an example of rest for us to follow. Again, it being for our good.

not man for the sabbath. God didn’t create us because the Sabbath needed us. It was because we needed the sabbath. We are creatures with very short memories. It wasn’t very long after walking through the Red Sea on dry land, that the people turned from God an made an idol, was it? What a mighty work by the hand of God, witnessed to, and so quickly forgotten. Sacred Scripture is filled with example after example of our forgetfulness, when it comes to the things of God.

So the Sabbath is an opportunity for us to rest, recall, and worship. If the Sabbath is kept to fulfill a law or a religious obligation, it is done in vain and therefore, worthless. This is the heart of Jesus’ message.

There is also a third point I’d like to bring up.

…the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.

As we’ve seen from the very beginning of St. Mark’s gospel, Jesus has authority over….well, everything! His teaching, His healing of the sick, His casting out of demons, all demonstrated His authority. Jesus now states His authority over the sabbath.

Often, a question will arise, about the Sabbath. Should it be celebrated on Saturday, as in the Old Covenant or Sunday, as we do today? The answer is simple, really. It all begins with the authority of Jesus. The authority He has, He passed on the the apostles and His Church. Particularly, when they understood the meaning of Christ’s Resurrection, as a fulfillment of the Old Testament, a “new creation” and the “eighth day.”

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us:

  348

 The sabbath is at the heart of Israel’s law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation.

 349

The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.

 The day of the Resurrection: the new creation
 2174

Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica)—Sunday:

We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.   (St. Justin, I Apol. 67: PG 6, 429 and 432)

 Sunday—fulfillment of the sabbath

    2175

Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.   (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Magn. 9, 1: SCh 10, 88.)

2176

The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship “as a sign of his universal beneficence to all.” Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.

 If, indeed, Jesus hadn’t left His authority to His Church, the day of the Sabbath celebration couldn’t have been changed at all….period! Because as Jesus clearly stated, That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.

So this week, let us realize the significance of the “new creation” and the “eighth day.” The Resurrection of Jesus, fulfills all the promises of the Old Covenant and ushers in the New Covenant, for Jesus is indeed the lord of the sabbath. He should be Lord of our lives – thoughts and actions. Realizing He left His Church with the authority to help us recall and celebrate “the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.” (CCC 2177)

Amen.

Happy Birthday Humanae Vitae


Pope Paul VI’s encyclical turns forty today!

If you’ve never read it check out the link. It’s an insightful and prohpetical letter.

Here is the opening:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.

Enjoy! 

The New From The Old: Mark 2:18-22


The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

This seems to be a continuation of the goings on at Levi’s dinner party. Maybe the fact that these people see Jesus and His disciples eating and drinking on this particular day (for we know according to the Didache 2.8 that the “hypocrites” fasted on Monday and Thursday) that they bring this question to Jesus. And, once again, Jesus gives a fascinating answer (as He always did).

Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? or as we would look at it now; “My disciples cannot fast while the Messiah is with them, can they?

By using the matrimonial imagery, Jesus is reiterating what had been taught (and maybe set aside) in ancient Israel; that Israel was called God’s wife ( Isa. 54:5, 62:4-5).

  • For he who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the LORD of hosts; Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.
  • No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” But you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.

With the arrival of Immanuel (God with us) the messianic time is ushered in.

Jesus then continues: As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

Does this present itself as a contradiction? After all, Jesus states later, And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age; He says this right before ascending to the Father. So….Is it a contradiction? For us with faith it isn’t, but even with faith, it can still be confusing.

We can over spiritualize what Jesus said and make this contradiction disappear. Don’t get me wrong, He is certainly with us in a spiritual sense, but is that the extent of it? After all, He created us physical beings as well as spiritual beings. Did He leave us any tangible evidence of His presence? The answer to this question is a resounding YES!

You may now be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with studying this section of scripture?” Could this be part of the new cloth and the old cloth? The new wine and the old wineskins? Let us examine!

The only presence of God at the time of Christ, was in the Temple (the Holy of Holies to be exact). This would be the old cloth, the old wineskin, established by God long ago. But now, we see God Himself, becoming man and leaving the Temple, to make His dwelling among us, with His people. This was something the old cloth or the old wineskins couldn’t patch-up or contain.

Jesus take the idea of a “far off” God and presents a “personal” God. This too, was something that the old cloth and the old wineskins couldn’t patch-up or contain. So, “What is this tangible evidence,” you ask?

First He left His Church, His Kingdom on Earth, to continue His work (Matt. 25:31-46, 28:18-20). Secondly, He left the seven (7) Sacraments of the Church (Baptisim, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony). The word Sacrament is defined as ” a visible sign of God’s invisible presence.”

Through His Church, we are reminded in a tangible way, to continue in Christ’s mission; did He only come to meet the spiritual needs of the people? No. He met their physical needs as well. So as important as it is to share our faith in Christ, it is equally important to show our love for Christ, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me (Matt. 25:40).

Through the Sacraments, we are tangibly reminded and strengthened as we continue our faith journey and our work for the Lord. The most precious of the Sacraments is the Holy Eucharist, “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). In the most intimate way, Jesus is not only with us spiritually, but tangibly, as a humble servant, in the form of bread and wine. Who else could do this? Who else would do this?

What was that noise?

Did I just hear your cloth tear? Did your wineskin just burst?

This week, let us not be like the Pharisees, who couldn’t accept the “new” because of the “old.” Rather, let us understand more fully, what Jesus Himself left for us through His Father.

From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings. Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: “Abide in me, and I in you. . . . I am the vine, you are the branches.” And he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”     CCC 787

When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit. As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.”    CCC 788

As Christ Jesus is the sacrament of God, the Church is our sacrament of Christ.

Amen.

Is There A Doctor In The House? Mark 2:13-17


Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them (that), “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

In this weeks study, we see Jesus call Levi (Matthew) the tax-collector and soon to be Apostle and Evangelist. The scriptures go on to tell us of a dinner at Levi’s house (that evening?) where, not only were Jesus’ disciples gathered with Him (which were many) there were also many tax collectors and sinners there as well.

Please allow me to stop at this point and do a bit of wondering about this dinner party. I wonder if it was a farewell party of sorts. I mean, Levi was leaving his lifestyle behind, all his friends and his co-workers. We must keep in mind that as a tax-collector for the Roman authorities, he and his co-workers were despised, not only by the religious Jews, but almost all of their fellow kinsmen. So these guys had  to stick together to have any external relationships at all! Was this Levi’s way of saying “Goodbye” to his only friends in the world? Or maybe, it was his way of introducing his “old friends” to his “new Friend”. The Friend who sticks closer than a brother. I’m not sure it matters much, in the grand scheme of things, what his reason was for bringing these two groups together – but together they were. The story continues…..

There was another group of people near by, not exactly there mind you, because that would make them unclean. This group of people were spying on Jesus, keeping tabs on Him and His disciples. They were the scribes who were Pharisees. And they ask Jesus’ disciples, Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?

With their question to the disciples, in essence, what they were saying was, “If he was so righteous, he would be more like us and not defile himself!” I’m sure we are all familiar with the self righteousness of the Pharisees, and if we are honest with ourselves, we frequently battle a pharisee within our selves. Is this not the heart of Jesus’ response to them, and to us today as well?

Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Are you well? Do you have no need of a physician? If you answered no to one or both of these questions; you are a liar. We all fall, be it daily or weekly or even hourly. There is always a need for us to be healed, because the only righteousness we are able to retain for ourselves is self righteousness! We are in need of the Great Physician’scure. We can receive it by repenting and confessing our sickness.

CCC 1428

Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.”  This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.

Will we hear and answer His call? Is there a doctor in the house!?

CCC 1503

Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.” His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

So this week, let’s stop kidding ourselves! Let’s stop excusing, justifying, sugar coating, ignoring or holding on to all our sins – whether in mind, heart or body – and let Jesus, the Great Physician, heal us and free us to love God in a more pure and perfect way. And by receiving His forgiveness, we can more readily testify to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and share the good news of healing and forgiveness with our neighbors.

Amen.

Your Sins Are Forgiven: Mark 2:1-12


When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”  Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”– he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

In the short time we have been studying St. Mark’s gospel, he has made it abundantly clear that Jesus had/has unmatched authority. In His teaching, His healing the sick and His casting out of demons. Now St. Mark shows us another unique aspect of Jesus’ authority; His authority to forgive sins.

Who but God alone can forgive sins?” This question asked by the scribes in Jesus’ day, is also asked today by our Protestant brothers and sister, who don’t understand the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Like the scribes, many Protestant Christians refuse to see the authority Jesus left with the Church He founded. Many believe the Church to be an “institution of man” and nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus Christ Himself says upon this rock will build my church (Matt. 16:18). The Church is no more a “man made” institution than the Earth itself is, which He created as well.

Many Protestants (of which I was one) rely solely on Sacred Scripture as their authority (which in a sense, means, they accept the authority of the Catholic Church being it was the Church that was given the authority by Christ through the Holy Spirit to canonize the Sacred Scripture). But what does Sacred Scripture have to say on this issue? In my studies, I have yet to find where we are to confess our sin to God alone. I have however, found these:

  • Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Matt. 5:23-24
  • “If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Matt. 18:15-22
  •  People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.  Mark 1:5
  • (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” John 20:21-23
  • Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. James 5:14-16

We all need healing and forgiveness. We all need conversion and an ever-deepening relationship with God the Father, through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit. Jesus provided the way for us to continue to grow in holiness by giving His authority to the Church He founded.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it this way in paragraphs 981 and 1444,1445:

981
After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles “so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” The apostles and their successors carry out this “ministry of reconciliation,” not only by announcing to men God’s forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ:
1444 
In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.”
1445
The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

I will leave us with one last thought from St. Augustine (also quoted from the Catechism paragraph 981):

The Church has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us.

So this week, let us be reconciled to God through His gift to the Church, as well as reconciled to one another. For we are indeed One Body.

Amen.

Beggers Can’t Be Choosers: Mark 1:40-45


A leper came to him (and kneeling down) begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

What a perfect picture; not only of Jesus’ compassion [pity] on this man with leprosy, but the picture of conversion and salvation as well.

The leper certainly knew his position, didn’t he? I mean as a leper, he was banished from the community. He was to have no contact with the outside world. But he was desperate! He had heard of this Jesus of Nazareth, who could heal the sick and cast out demons, but if he was to see Him and be healed himself he had to break the law. Maybe even being rebuked by Jesus Himself for doing so.

Likewise, our sins have banished us from God’s community and like this leper we need to decide whether or not we will run the risk of being ostracized by society to seek God. In this day and age of “political correctness” we certainly run that risk.

So, understanding his position, and the power Jesus has, he humbles himself as he comes begging and kneeling before the Lord. There was no pride within his heart, his unworthiness shown through as he utters the words, If you wish, you can make me clean.

Just as in the process of salvation, we see that the heart must be ready for the healing [cleansing] and we must come to Jesus ourselves, in humility and repentance. Jesus was in the area this man lived in, but the man came to Jesus in humility, realizing there was nothing he could do about his own condition. Even with his own effort to make that journey, there was no presumption that Jesus would heal him saying, If you wish

If we seek after Jesus with the attitude of humility, His response will surely be I do choose. As He says in St. John’s gospel chapter six, verse thirty-seven, ….anyone who comes to me I will never drive away… This grace [pity] that is offered, is available to all. This Greek work translated for pity, is the word splanchnizomai  which describes a pity so great that one is moved to meet another’s need. Another wonderful picture of God’s grace! Though this gift of grace is offered to all, it must be received; for a gift that is given but not received is useless.

Now, here is where our response to the Savior is crucial. Will we obey what Jesus says [in Sacred Scripture, through Church teaching] or will we do what “we” think we should do? Let’s take a look at the leper’s actions after his healing; Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places

We see Jesus give the command to this newly healed man and what does he do? He does the opposite thing! Now I’ve heard “preachers” [this term is being used loosely here] use this verse as some sort of, “He was so full of the Holy Spirit, He had to tell the whole world what Jesus had done for him!” The only problem with that theory is that it contradicts the Trinity! The Holy Spirit will never, ever  lead us to disobey what Jesus commands us to do! We are called to obey when we are cleansed by Him. Again St. John’s gospel in chapters fourteen and fifteen clearly state how important obedience is for us to “remain” in Him.

Now, I’m not judging the heart of this leper, only God can do that, but I must look at the fruit of his action to see what it produced. His disobedience hindered Jesus’ work. Look again, it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places… How many people in the other towns were effected by the [former] lepers disobedience? Maybe some of the other sick, lame, blind and/or demon possessed couldn’t make it to the deserted places. Maybe they were waiting for Jesus to come to their area. It’s sad to think about, but we must never forget that our actions always effect others! For their good or for their detriment. This is why obedience is so important to God. Not only does it rupture our relationship with Him, it ruptures our relationships with one another. Remember, “No man is an island.”

So this week let us remember our brother and sisters in “other towns” and how our actions will effect them. Will we have a positive or negative impact on their lives? In obedience to Christ we are to pray for others, ask forgiveness of others and to help them meet their needs. How are we at doing this? I’m sure we can all do better!

Amen.

Ain’t Talkin’ (Just Reflectin’) with video link (re-post)


Ain’t Talkin’

 I just had to add this awesome video to these lyrics. Enjoy!

Thank you Sonia!

One of my Christmas  presents was the new Bob Dylan cd, “Modern Times”. This is the last track on the cd. Take a read (or a listen) if you will, and see what it is that he “Ain’t Talkin’ ” about. Here is my interpretation.

                           Ain’t Talkin’

                  Bob Dylan
As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden,
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vine,                                           
I was passin' by yon cool crystal fountain,
Someone hit me from behind.
 
Ain't talkin',just walkin 
Through this weary world of woe.  
Heart burnin',still yearnin' 
No one on earth would ever know.
 
They say prayer has the power to heal, 
so pray for me, mother.
In the human heart, an evil spirit will dwell. 
I am a-tryin' to love my neighbor and do good unto others,
But oh mother things ain't goin' well.

Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
I'll burn that bridge before you can cross. 
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
There'll be no mercy for you once you've lost.
 
Now I'm all worn down by weeping, 
My eyes are filled with tears, my lips are dry.
If I catch my opponents ever sleeping, 
I'll just slaughter'em where they lie.

Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
Through the world mysterious and vague. 
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
Walkin' through the cities of the plague.
 
Well, the whole world is filled with speculation, 
The whole wide world which people say is round. 
They will tear your mind away from contemplation, 
They will jump on your misfortune when you're down.
 
Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
Eatin' hog-eyed grease in a hog-eyed town. 
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
Some day you'll be glad to have me around.
 
They will crush you with wealth and power. 
Every waking moment you could crack. 
I'll make the most of one last extra hour, 
I'll avenge my father's death when I step back.

Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
Hand me down my walkin' cane. 
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
Got to get you out of my miserable brain.
 
All my loyal and my much-loved companions 
They approve of me and share my code. 
I practice a faith that's been long abandoned 
Ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road

Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
My mule is sick, my horse is blind. 
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
Thinkin' 'bout that gal I left behind.
 
Well, it's bright in the heavens and the wheels are flyin', 
Fame and honor never seem to fade. 
The fire gone out but the light is never dyin'. 
Who says I can't get heavenly aid'

Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
Carryin' a dead man's seal. 
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
Walkin' with a toothache in my heel.
 
The suffering is unending; 
Every nook and cranny has its tears. 
I'm not playing, I'm not pretending, 
I'm not nursing any superfluous fears.

Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
Walkin' ever since the other night.
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
Walkin' till I'm clean out of sight.
 
As I walked out in the mystic garden 
On a hot summer day, a hot summer lawn.
Excuse me, ma'am, I beg your pardon: 
There's no one here, the gardener is gone.

Ain't talkin', just walkin' 
Up the road, around the bend. 
Heart burnin', still yearnin' 
In the last outback at the world's end. 
 
   Copyright © 2006 Special Rider Music