Daily Readings Reflection for 2/24/11

Scripture: Lectionary 344: Sirach 5:1-8. Psalm 1:1-2,3.4.6. Mark 9:41-50

Today’s Readings

Our Evangelists are saints who have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to
write about the words and deeds of Jesus.  They used their natural talents
and creativity to start this new genre in the area of word media.  How
grateful we should be for Mark who initiated the first Gospel. He was not
entirely alone on this venture, for he followd Peter the chosen leader of
the flock Jesus left behind after his death.  Mark tried to write down what
he could from this first follower of Jesus, then gathered from other
traditions what he heard about Jesus. He had no writings per se to depend
upon; he was a self-starter. We first learn something about his composing a
gospel from a bishop named Papias from Hieropolis (Turkey). This author
told us that Mark : “When Mark became the interpreter of Peter, he wrote
down accurately whatever he remembered, though not in order, of the words
and deeds of the Lord. He was neither hearer nor follower of the Lord; but
such he was afterwards, as I say, of Peter, who had no intention of giving
a connected account of the sayings of the Lord, but adapted his
instructions as was necessary.  Mark, then, made no mistake, but wrote
things down as he remembered them; and he made it his concern to omit
nothing that he had heard nor to falsify anything therein.”

The section we hear today in the liturgical reading of the Gospel of Mark
is made up of those gatherings of Jesus’ words and actions that Mark put
together in whatever way he thought best.  At times they do seem to us a
bit disjointed, but he was not adding anything imaginary from his own
thoughts.  Mark thus becomes a primary written source for the other
Evangelists and for thousands of students who have looked at and examined
carefully what he wrote. He will always be the first primary source for any
Gospel study that we undertake.  He is our pointguard as well as our point
of departure.

Giving a drink of cold water in the name of Jesus or to one of Christ’s
disciples is taken notice of by God. Scandals are a no!no! for any serious
committed Christian and children are to be treated with love and kindness
and never abused–for then the worst will happen to the abuser.  Mark gives
us very strong statements about scandal.  We are to caught off the member
that causes the scandal or whatever causes a disciple of Jesus to sin.
Eye, feet, tongue, etc. This may be Jesus’ way of reversing the harsh “lex
talionis” of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. How to assimilate
what this all means demands of us to know something about the metaphoric
and strong use of images for the Semite in order to bring home a point of
ethical behavior with vigor and force.  Psalm one in today’s response is an
appropriate way of getting an insight into what this section of the Gospel
is all about. Psalm one leads us to behavior patterns that are elucidated
in the Beatitudes.  The Psalm is thus a good complement to the Sermon on
the Mount about those who are blessed and to Mark’s words about scandal and
proper behavior.  Amen.

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