Category Archives: Mark

Focus on the Lord

Laura James
The Woman Suffering from Hemorrhages
acrylic on canvas, 2007
Private Collection

Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Mark 5:36

With faith, I keep my eyes on the Lord instead of the problem. I reach out to touch the Lord and allow him to touch me. I trust the Lord to lead me, guide me, and show me the next right thing to do.

Today I will remember God is with me. I will put my focus on the Lord and ask him to help me.

Sleep when you’re tired

Jesus being awakened during a tempest
on the Sea of Galilee,
from a Mir’at al-quds of
Father Jerome Xavier
(Spanish, 1549–1617)

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
Mark 4:37-38a

When events disrupt my serenity, overwhelm me with sorrow, flood me with anxiety, and challenge my faith, I need to ask God to help me, rest, eat, and stay in touch with loved ones.

Today I will take care of myself even when the storms of life distress me.

Give thanks

Beit Sahur and Bethlehem. Harvesting.
Between 1898 and 1946

It is good to give thanks to the LORD. Psalm 92:2a

Gratitude lifts me out of self-pity, focuses me on the moment, helps me let go of fear, brings me awareness of God’s limitless kindness and abundant gifts.

Today I will practice gratitude for God’s goodness and generosity and give thanks to the Lord.

The last words

Chapelle Dévôt-Christ
at Perpignan Cathedral
14th century crucifix

Having bought a linen cloth, [Joseph of Aramathea] took [Jesus] down, wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mark 15:46

The story of Jesus’ Passion is deeply distressing with its matter-of-fact narration of the human experiences of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, injustice, cruelty, mockery, bullying, abuse, pain, and suffering.

And yet… and yet it ends with caring and tenderness as Joseph of Aramathea removes Jesus’ body from the cross, wraps it gently in fine linen, and lays it to rest.

It seems to me that compassion and kindness will always be the last words in our human story.

Lord, help me to reach out with your tender care to those who are suffering and in need.

To know the Lord

James Tissot (1836-1902)
La transfiguration
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Mark 9:5-6

To look on the brilliance of the Lord… it is a terrifying thought and a compelling desire.

It is a call in and to me: I want to know the Lord.

Today I will seek the Lord in holy scripture, in the glory of creation, especially in the faces of the people I meet. I will listen for the voice of the Lord in the words of people in need, in the sounds of nature, in the silence of my heart.

Angels of compassion

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Jésus tenté dans le désert
gouache over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

[Jesus] was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him. Mark 1:13b

I have been in a desert with wild beasts that trigger old trauma, where despair and fear and bad dreams keep me thirsting for refreshing, relaxing sleep.

And angels in the form of faithful friends who listen and comfort, who pray for me when I cannot pray for myself, have ministered to me.

Thank you, Lord, for being with me in the desert times. Bless all the kind and compassionate people who help me day by day.

Make me clean

Christ and the Leper
Mosaic in Monreale

“[Jesus,] if you wish, you can make me clean.”
Mark 1:40b

Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean of resentment, selfishness, racism, low self-esteem, disdain, and fear.

Bless me, Lord. FIll me with your joy.

Looking for Jesus

James Tissot (1836-1902)
The Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law (La guérison de la belle-mère de Pierre)
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, 1886-1894
Brooklyn Museum

Simon and those who were with him pursued [Jesus] and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” Mark 1:36-37

Let me look for Jesus in the eyes and hearts of those I encounter, in the pain I’m suffering, in the suffering of others, in distant or close companionship, in the quiet of prayer, in the holy scriptures.

Lord, let me trust I will find you.

In the name of Jesus

Poussin
A print from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations in the possession of Revd. Philip De Vere at St. George’s Court, Kidderminster, England

[The people said, “Jesus] commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” Mark 1:27b

Unclean spirits attack unexpectedly and repeatedly and make themselves at home in my body and mind. It takes all my energy to remember to summon the help of the Lord to expel them.

In the name of Jesus, I command you demons of low self-esteem, despair, negativity, prejudice, denial, blame, resentment, self-righteousness, and fear to be quiet and be gone.

Lord, fill me with your love and peace.

Moving closer

Jesus calls Peter and Andrew

Then [Simon and his brother Andrew] abandoned their nets and followed him.
Mark 1:18

Today’s readings are full of movement: Jonah begins a three-day journey; the people of Nineveh put on sackcloth as a sign of repentance; in Psalm 25 we exhort God to guide us in God’s truth; Paul reminds us the world as we know it is passing away; Jesus invites Simon and Andew, James and John to come after him and the fishermen follow him.

What do my daily actions show? Am I moving closer to the goodness and love in my heart? Am I following Jesus’ way of compassion and peace? Am I inviting others to walk with me as I discover how to love and forgive?

Today I will begin a journey of kindness and respect towards all people.