Tag Archives: Gospel of Mark

A time of distress

James Moriarty
Fig Tree in Spring, 2005

Everyone I talk to has something difficult to bear: the death of someone dear to them, grave illness in the family, loss of income, oppressive work conditions, the lessening of physical abilities, coping with addiction.

Add to that rampant anti-Semitism, racism, prejudice, selfishness, greed, and indifference to the poor, homeless, refugees, and immigrants—and the world seems unsafe, unloving, and ready to implode.

It is a time of terrible grief where anger, blame, and depression dominate.

Today I will be a part of God’s vision of love and compassion. I will offer comfort and kindness to everyone I meet because I know we are all grieving something.

I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Psalm 16:8

Give it all

Common or Corn Poppy

Sometimes it seems that what I have to offer God and my neighbor is woefully inadequate, but I cannot compare my offering to that of others. Each day I must do my best to give all that I have to those in need—energy, love, kindness, compassion, listening, encouragement, and especially my presence.

Calling his disciples to himself, [Jesus] said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:43-44

Love thy neighbor

If I make the effort to love just one person today, I will help dissipate the anger, hate, and violence in our world.

Lord, help me to be a part of the solution to the divisions in our world, country, communities, and families.

Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 29-31

What do you want

Carl Bloch (1834-1890)
Healing of the Blind Man, 1871

If the Lord asked me what I wanted him to do for me, I’d want to see, too. See with my heart. See with love. See with compassion. See how I could use my gifts and talents to be of help and service to others.

And then… be love, be compassion, be of service.

Jesus said to [Bartimaeus] in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Mark 10:51

Servant leader

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

To follow Jesus,  I must set aside ambition, arrogance, pride, and self-seeking. I must be willing to serve the poor, the lonely, the neglected, and the abused.

As I spend time in prayer each day to discern the will of God and ask for the grace to carry it out, I will let go of the need to compare myself to others and instead learn humility.

Jesus summoned [the Twelve] and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.” Mark 10:43

The Spirit of Wisdom

Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947)
Sofia (Wisdom), 1932

God is in charge of the possible and the impossible. God’s Spirit guides me where I need to go, shows me what I need to do, gives me the strength to help out where I am needed, and blesses me with the humility to love my neighbor and forgive my enemies.

[The disciples] were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” Mark 10:26-27

Welcome the children

Jesus welcomes the children – Mark 10:13-16
JESUS MAFA.

Children are not small adults. They experience life with their hearts. They have a mystical connection with the unseen, and hear God in the voices of those whose love is true.

Today I will let a child be my teacher in the way of innocence, vulnerability, and trust in God’s presence.

[Jesus said,] “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Mark 10:15

Just giving

Carl Rathjens (1887-1966)
Photo of Jewish youth in Sana’a Yemen, grinding coffee grains on millstone, 1934

Generosity contains a large measure of justice. Those who share their resources recognize that all people deserve to eat, live in a safe home, and have access to good health care and education.

Greed, then, contains a large measure of injustice. Those who are afraid to share their resources have forgotten the command to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Today I will share my time, talent, or material resources with someone in need.

Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. James 5:4

A peaceful solution

Refugee Children
Andy Wheatley, UK Department for International Development
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mark 9:37

When I am dismayed by the violence, finger-pointing, injustice, and anger that is prevalent in society, I look deep inside to uncover and let go of my own envy, arrogance, selfishness, and resentment.

To bring the fruit of peace, responsibility, compassion, and forgiveness to my interactions is my daily calling so that I may be a small part of the solution to what troubles our world.

Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. James 3:16-18

In the moment

Harry Fenn (1845-1911)
Caesarea Philippi (Banias)
Watercolor, gouache, brown ink, and graphite on light brown wove paper
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Even the low times contain a stillpoint of joy. The Lord is right there in the moment. I do not walk alone.

Gracious is the Lord and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The Lord keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
Psalm 116:5-6