Third Sunday Ordinary Time 2012 Mass Reflections

Scripture readings for today's Mass are here

Some reflections on The Gospel here from The Edge of Enclosure

and plenty more reflections here and resources  from St Louis University,

where this especially good one from Fr. Ron Rolheiser talks on the need for re-imaging Jesus. 

The final paragraph says :

"Jesus has been depicted in many ways, more recently even as a laughing Christ whose laughter mocks death and tragedy. There is truth in that image, though we must be careful too to not make Jesus, who knew only too well the depth of loneliness and suffering, into someone who is distant from depression, exclusion, tragic circumstance, and death.

On the other hand, we must be equally as careful not to confuse Jesus with Hamlet or any other tragic anti-hero who lives without the resiliency, hope, faith, forgiveness, capacity for enjoyment, sense of humour, and abandonment to the dance that comes from believing in God and the resurrection."

and this one from Fr. John Foley S.J examines the first reading from the Old Testament and compares the response of Jonah to God's call, to the apostles' response in the Gospel when Jesus calls them.

 The sacred call of the disciples

 Gospel Mark 1: 14-20


After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:

"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."


Painting by HeQi calling of disciples

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;

they were fishermen.

Jesus said to them,

 "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.

James Tissot. Calling of Peter and Andrew

He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.

They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.

 So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

As we know, eventually the four became twelve after Jesus spent a night at prayer Oh, yes and a few women tagged along too. :-)))

   Image above From here

Twelve apostles cushion from the Moone Cross in Co. Kildare, Ireland - an 8th/9th Century Celtic cross from here.

Faith as cushion and me as couch potato.

You may have heard this before. It’s a letter from a management consultant to Jesus about his selection of the twelve.


Jesus, Son of Joseph

Carpenter Shop


Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the " team" concept. 

We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. 
Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. 
The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. 
Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. 

James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings. They registered a high score on the manic depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. 

All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new Venture.

Sincerely yours, Jordan Management Consultants

from Greg Ogden, "Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time."

COPYRIGHT 2004 Catholic New Times, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
Above from here and it has some more entertaining points of encouragement ..

"That’s one of the great values of reading the saints. They had this utter vulnerability to fail by human standards. (Foster)

 "Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity."
 Sean O'Casey

But of course, they hardly knew any of that when they started out  on their journey with Jesus.

 Wonderful Photo "Twelve Apostles" above taken by Conor Byrd at Inch Strand on Dingle Peninsula County Kerry Ireland from here


Ron Rolheiser divides the spiritual journey into three distinct phases: 

• Essential discipleship
• Generative discipleship
• Radical discipleship

You can read more about them here :a lot is in brief note form but the gist of it is clear.

Who Am I ? by Casting Crowns


 From Today's Psalm : Teach Me Your Ways O Lord


  Psalm 25

Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my saviour.

R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.

R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice
and teaches the humble his way.

R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.



Whatever it was about Jesus that caused the apostles to drop everything and follow him has occupied the thoughts, imagination and actions of mankind for over two thousand years : the saints the sinners, the good, the bad and the indifferent and much in between. 




Many of us amble along on the edge of some great realisation of what Christ's life, death and resurrection mean, while others go out and get lost in it, living it like the few special sung and unsung"holy fools."




The powerful transformative force of Jesus as teacher, prophet, shepherd and saviour is there for us always.




The church has an innate capacity and incarnational impulse to grow : This is how God calls : ever outward with deepening impulses. We are all apostles who now have heard the news of the resurrection but can only learn it by living it first hand.

As Merton said, "there is in each of us always a doubter who is a twin or Other of every believer, torn between here and there, between doubt and faith, between the testimony of others and the testing ground of our own unique circumstances and contexts where we try to live out our faith."

Wisdom of faith can only be gained by knowledge and through direct experience.

To meet and listen and respond to people where they are is difficult when people are swimming away.

 In this post  the author describes how Jesus empowered his disciples :

"When Jesus sent the disciples, he said: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). We are given a description of a disciple who embodies the spirit of vulnerability, shrewdness and purity. Jesus anticipated threats and resistance to the Gospel message. He also expected challenges from people who were hostile, skeptical, unbelieving and double-minded. 

Thus, Jesus empowered the disciples to be prudent and circumspect; to be discerning and wise; to be careful and yet risk-takers; to be gentle and yet tenacious; to be intentional and yet authentic.

I am persuaded that our young people will be inspired to live as street-smart disciples if we demonstrate the quality and character of being disciples who are “shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.” 

A street-smart disciple is a streetwise and prudent person who understands the ways of the world but who decides to live the Jesus way without losing his or her way in the world. A street-smart disciple discerns the values and purposes of God’s Kingdom and intentionally lives out the message of grace, love and mercy. A street-smart disciple engages in the stories of people’s lives while sharing a personal narrative of faith commitment, perseverance, suffering and sacrifice.

In other words, a street-smart disciple is someone who has integrity both in the world and in the community of faith. It is an integrity of character, values, choices, and lifestyle. However, we need to remember that the street-smart disciple is not always right, not always strong.

But the street-smart disciple is someone who continues to experience forgiveness, spiritual direction from God’s Word, and who practices the grace of being present to God and to others. Street-smart disciples display wise judgment, deep insight, great foresight, and steady resilience."

In my own life, faith is something that has been both absent and present, at times awesome and life affirming, at others elusive and faltering.

There is something in Jesus that keeps allows me to soar in the transcendent peaks  of the transfiguration but also keeps me grounded in the foothills and valleys of everyday life experiences. 




At this stage of my life there are days when I am content just to be able to spend time sitting in the company of good friends and Jesus: to listen and chat to each other over a meal drink the sap and savour the live giving food that fills the hungry soul.












Perhaps this poem by David Whyte says it better than I can....

The Opening of Eyes

That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read. 


It is the opening of eyes long closed.

It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.


It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.

Image above from here 

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.

It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

  Poem by David Whyte from Songs for Coming Home
   ©1984 Many Rivers Press.

   Image of Moses from here.

Mary Chapin Carpenter : The Calling 

Deep in your blood or a voice in your head
On a dark lonesome highway
It finds you instead
So certain it knows you, you can't turn away
Something or someone has found you today

Genius or Jesus, maybe he's seen us

But who would believe us
I can't really say
Whatever the calling, the stumbling or falling
You follow it knowing
There's no other way, there's no other way

There are zealots and preachers

And readers of dreams
The righteous yell loudest
And the saved rise to sing
The lonely and lost are just waiting to hear
Any moment their purpose
Will be perfectly clear

And then life would mean more

Than their name on their door
And that far distant shore that's so near
They'd hear the calling
And stumbling and falling
They'd follow it knowing
There's nothing to fear
Nothing to fear

I don't remember a voice

On a dark, lonesome road
When I started this journey so long ago
I was only just trying to outrun the noise
There was never a question of having a choice

Jesus or genie, maybe they've seen me

But who would believe me
I can't really say
Whatever the calling, the stumbling and falling
I followed it knowing there's no other way

Jesus or genie, maybe he's seen me

But who would believe me
I can't really say
Whatever the calling, stumbling and falling
I got through it knowing there's no other way
There's no other way

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