Contempt for the Familiar

 

High school yearbooks throughout the land have predictions of those “Most likely to succeed.” Reunions years later often belie these predictions.

Jesus’ classmates in Nazareth missed it too when it came to Jesus’ future. Their familiarity with him bred a kind of contempt—at least blindness to what he could become. In a Gospel filled with wonders, miracles and amazement on the part of the people about Jesus, it was in Nazareth that Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith of the people. Hardly any healings took place there.

Accompany the Twelve on their first missionary journey. Grieve with them and with Jesus over the beheading of John the Baptist.

Mark 6:1-29

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Pow’r over unclean spirits v. 7
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Fridays from now until Advent are dedicated to the Gospel of Mark.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

Beginning Sunday, July 8th, the Firestarters from the new edition of
The Bible Through the Seasons for families will be posted daily. 

The Calm Within


When there is a storm at sea, the surface is where it is felt. Far below, the water currents move silently, slowly, untouched by outer weather.

The disciples become frightened at the storm on the lake. They focus more on the waves outside of the boat, than on the One who is in the boat with them. The surface of their souls is tossed back and forth; they forget that deep inside their beings there already is a great calm.

Renew the gift of your life to Jesus. The Lord lives inside you. While he may be “asleep” to your situation that is tossing and turning you about, he is there. Go to that place of calm and cling to Jesus.

Mark 4:35-41


This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
We are reading from the Gospel of Mark until the First Sunday in Advent.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons. 

Delivering the Possessed

Join the crowd in Gadara. You are accustomed to see this demon possessed man, violent and uncontrollable. Jesus delivers him. He has peace for the first time in his life.

Observe the townspeople and their fear of the divine power that brings this about. It is ironic: they take for granted the demonic possession in that man; fear comes when a new power over demons arrives on the scene.

Are you getting used to violence in word and deed, even your inner thoughts? Are there dark spirits that harass you at times? Are you afraid of the alternative—complete freedom and peace in the power of Jesus in your life? Pray: “Spirit of fear, in the name and power of Jesus, be gone forever in my life and never return.”

Mark 5:1-20


This is the third of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Fridays in Year B in the seasons of Epiphany, Pentecost and Kingdomtide are dedicated to the Gospel of Mark.


For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons. 

The Sleeping Seed

Farmers have completed their work of planting the seeds. Only the power of God in life itself is going to take over now. God’s Kingdom life is like that. It will prevail, despite its being hidden and small at first.

Jesus sleeps as a seed in the bottom of the boat. He awakens and rebukes not only the wind and the waves, but the unbelief of the disciples as well.

Believe that the Spirit deep within you, apparently asleep, is really at work bringing Pentecost life to flourish in you. It will happen, if you let it. Spend time in the silence, just being with the Lord as the seed of God’s love grows within you. Others will then find rest in the shadow of your arms as branches of God’s own love for them.

The Reading for Today   Mark 4:26-41


This is the second of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Fridays in Year B in the seasons of Epiphany, Pentecost and Kingdomtide are dedicated to the Gospel of Mark.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons.

Who’s in Charge?

The Pharisees commit the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, accusing Jesus of healing by the power of Satan. In their spiritually stubborn position, they paint themselves into a corner with no escape.

It is very hard to commit this great sin, but there are smaller versions of it that can undermine your spirit, such as living as though you are Number One instead of God.

You will notice many kinds of demons that Jesus had to cast out. Not only were there ones of disease and infirmity, but there were those who dominated the spiritual realm in envy, pride, and blasphemy. Even Jesus’ own family, who know him from the beginning, thought he was out of his mind. They “over-knew” Jesus on one level and refused to see him as the Anointed One of God.

For you: who is Jesus?

Mark 3:20-35


This is the second of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
We will be reading from the Gospel of Mark until the First Sunday in Advent.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons. 

Faith of a Foreigner

Christ and the Canaanite Woman, 1783-84 (oil on canvas) by Drouais, Jean-Germain (1763-1788); 114×146 cm; Louvre, Paris, France

The Reading for Today: Mark 7:24-37

Words of Jesus abrupt and even rude…Such seems to be the case today. Recall the Marriage Feast of Cana when Jesus said to Mary about the wine running dry: “What is that to you and to me?” Here too, it appears to be unkind of Jesus to refer to the Syro-Phoenician woman as a dog!

However, the intent of Jesus is to place the faith of the foreign woman into strong relief. Jesus healed the woman with the hemorrhage; she knew that only a touch of the tassel on Jesus’ garment would be enough to be healed. This woman as well believes that only crumbs from the table of Jesus are all her daughter needs for healing.

The whole body of Christ is given to you in a crumb from the Communion table. One touch, one taste of the Master is enough.

The Reading for Today

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Fridays from now until Advent are dedicated to the Gospel of Mark.

Pressing About Jesus

Friday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
Mark 1:32-45

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


This is Mark’s version of a typical day in the life of Jesus, beginning in the evening. People from all over crowd about him, longing to be healed. His fame spreads.

Let there arise a longing in your heart to press about Jesus. Remember, the victory over the world is faith. The world wants to control, bind, and have power over others. However, greater than what is pressing against you is Christ who presses about you. Think of this at evening time when you and other families come home. Come close to Jesus at that hour, bringing with you the crowds that are bound in traffic on their way home. Bring them to the Lord for healing, restoration, comfort, and rest.

Jesus finds the night for prayer. Let part of your nights be for that as well; rest itself can become prayer. If you rise in the morning to commute, remember that Jesus too, went on to other towns!


Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This year, we read the Gospel of St. Mark, except during Lent and a few other exceptions.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families