31 Sunday B


1)    First Thing in the Morning:
A few years ago, a radio station ran a contest. Disc jockeys invited their listeners to tune in their clock radios. "Just for fun," they said, "when you wake up to the sound of FM-106, call and tell us the first words you spoke when you rolled out of bed. If you're the third caller, you'll win $106."

Nov 1: All Saints

From the Connections:
Today’s Gospel is the beautiful “Beatitudes” reading from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew’s compilation of the sayings and teachings of Jesus. The word “blessed,” as used by Jesus in the eight maxims, was written in Greek as makarios, a word which indicates a joy that is God-like in its serenity and totality.
Specific Greek words used throughout the text indicate several important meanings:
‘The poor in spirit:’ those who are detached from material things, who put their trust in God.

30 Sunday B: Blind Man: That I may see

From the Connections:
THE WORD: Mark’s story of the blind Bartimaeus, which takes place just before Jesus’ Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem, is as much a “call” story as a healing story.  For Mark, Bartimaeus is model of faith.  The blind beggar calls out to Jesus using the Messianic title “Son of David.”  He first asks, not for his sight, but for compassion:  He understands that this Jesus operates out of a spirit of love and compassion for humanity and places his faith in that spirit.  Ironically, the blind Bartimaeus “sees” in Jesus the spirit of compassionate service that, until now, his "seeing" disciples have been unable to comprehend.

29 Sunday B

From the Connections:
In the Gospel reading a few weeks ago (just a chapter ago in Mark’s Gospel), Jesus admonished his disciples for their pointless argument among themselves as to who was the most important.  James and John apparently did not get the message. 
In today's Gospel account, the two sons of Zebedee – who, with Peter, make up Jesus’ inner circle – ask for the places of honor and influence when Jesus begins his reign.  James and John proclaim their willingness to “drink the cup” of suffering and share in the “bath” or “baptism” of pain Jesus will experience (the Greek word used is baptizein, meaning to immerse oneself in an event or situation).  Jesus finally tells them that the assigning of such honors is the prerogative of God the Father.
Most readers share the other disciples’ indignation at the incredible nerve of James and John to make such a request (Matthew, in his Gospel, casts the two brothers in a better light by having their mother make the request – Matthew 20: 20.)  Jesus calls the disciples together to try again to make them understand that he calls them to greatness through service.  Jesus’ admonition to them is almost a pleading:  If you really understand me and what I am about, if you really want to be my disciple, if you really seek to be worthy of my name, then you must see the world differently and respond to its challenges with a very different set of values.  The world may try to justify vengeance rather than forgiveness, to glorify self-preservation over selflessness, to insist on preserving the system and convention for the sake of compassion and justice – but it cannot be that way with you.

28 Sunday B - Rich Young Man

From the Connections:

The young rich man in today’s Gospel is one of the most pitiable characters in the Jesus story.  Clearly, Jesus’ teachings and healings have touched something in him but his enthusiasm outdistances his commitment.  Assuring Jesus that he has kept the “you shall NOTS” of the Law, Jesus confronts the rich young man with the “you SHALLS” of the reign of God:  “Go and sell what you have and give it to the poor.”
And, as Mark describes it, the man’s face fell and “he went away sad.”  He can’t bring himself to do it.  His faith is not strong enough to give up the treasure he possesses for the “treasure in heaven.”  The young man walks away, sad certainly, and perhaps feeling even somewhat disillusioned that his hero Jesus is not what he thought and hoped he would be.

27 Sunday B - Marriage

The question of divorce was among the most divisive issues in Jewish society.  The Book of Deuteronomy (24: 1) stipulated that a husband could divorce his wife for “some indecency.” Interpretations of exactly what constituted “indecency” varied greatly, ranging from adultery to accidentally burning the evening meal.  Further, the wife was regarded under the Law as the husband’s chattel, with neither legal right to protection nor recourse to seeking a divorce on her own.  In Biblical times, there was little appreciation of love and commitment in marriage -- marriages were always arranged in the husband’s favor, the husband could divorce his wife for just about any reason, the woman was treated little better than property.  Divorce, then, was tragically common among the Jews of Jesus’ time.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus cites the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman (today’s first reading) to emphasize that husband and wife are equal partners in the covenant of marriage (“the two become one body”).  The language of Genesis indicates that the Creator intends for the marriage union to possess the same special covenantal nature as God’s covenant with Israel.  Jesus again appeals to the spiritof the Law rather than arguing legalities:  It is the nature of their marriage covenant that husband and wife owe to one another total and complete love and mutual respect in sharing responsibility for making their marriage succeed.
Today’s Gospel reading also includes Mark’s story of Jesus’ welcoming the little children.  Again, Jesus holds up the model of a child’s simplicity and humility as the model for the servant-disciple.