my words be in the Name of the Holy & Undivided Trinity: +
Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.Amen.
Gospel reading concerns that of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, also called the miracle of the loaves and fishes. It
is one of the best known of our Lord's nature miracles, which is
hardly surprising as it is the only one of his miracles that is
related in all four Gospels. It is also one of the best loved, which
is again hardly surprising as it shows the homely and touching
compassion of Jesus was the practical needs of those who followed
him. Hungry people out in the wildness, far from their own homes or a
market where they may buy food need feeding. And Jesus' actions here
shows that knows and understands people's real life problems.
we live in an era that can be somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of
miracles and I am sure that all here have heard at some time or
another someone attempt to provide what they call a natural
explanation for what happened here. One very popular attempt is what
might be described as the miracle of the sharing. Some of those who
followed Jesus into the wilderness that day had food; some did not.
Inspired by our Lord's teaching those with food shared with those who
did not and so all had enough.
me begin by saying that I see no basis for such 'novel' explanations.
To accept them means that we must first accept that those who were
there on the day got it wrong, when the evidence of their own eyes
told them that our Lord took a small amount of food and miraculously
made it enough to feed thousands. Next we must accept that all
Christians from the earliest days until about five minutes ago got it
wrong also – great saints and scholars such as St Basil the Great,
St Augustine of Hippo, St Benedict of Nursa, St Francis of Assisi, St
Thomas Aquinas, and a great many more – were too stupid, foolish,
ignorant, uneducated, naïve, or misguided to see the true meaning
here; and that it is only those of our generation are wise enough,
clear headed enough, and perceptive enough to really understand what
all others between that day and now were not. There is a certain
arrogance in putting forward such an explanation – and Christians
are not called to arrogance but humility. We accept the faith as it
has been passed down, as it has been understood by all people in all
places at all times; we do not make it up for ourselves or re-invent
it to suit the intellectual fashions of the age.
rejecting the novel interpretation of the miracle of the loaves and
the fishes as the miracle of man's generous sharing of what he has to
spare with others, I think it important to understand the premise
that lies beneath it. For the idea that our Lord did not feed 5000
men, plus all the women and children who were there as well, does not
come from a close reading of the texts; there is no hint or evidence
in any of the four Gospels that we are to see this as anything other
than a miraculous display of divine power, a Sign, as St John terms
it, that Jesus is exactly who he says he is, the Messiah, the Son of
God. The starting point for such a theory is, essentially, that 'such
things can not happen; miracles can not take place and therefore a
few loaves can not be made into enough to feed many thousands;
therefore we must rack our brains and see what we can come up some
natural explanation with which to explain what took place.'
you can see, I think, that to reject the novel interpretation is not
to be anti-intellectual in any way but to be rigourously
intellectual; for before one can even begin to propose the 'sharing'
idea one must first set to the side the actual evidence, the Gospel
accounts, and then enter the arena of pure speculation, unsupported
by the facts as we have them, and based instead on the pre-conceived
opinion that the facts simply must be wrong. The traditional view of
events, on the other hand, takes the evidence we have and deals with
it as it is.
must also compare the effect of such interpretations with the purpose
our Lord had in performing such miracles. The effect is to undermine
faith in the power and divinity of Christ, for if he did not perform
miracles then how are we to believe that he is the Son of God, with
an equal power over the natural forces of the world as the Father?
For that is the purpose of the miracles, to show he was who he said
he was, to give proof and build up faith in him. For as he himself
said when he healed the paralysed man who had to be carried to him by
his friends 'so that you may know that the Son of Man has the
authority to forgive sins, I say to you take up your mat and walk.'
To argue against the miraculous is therefore to argue against
Christ's purpose for performing miracles.
so I end this morning with the prayer that just as those that day
long ago were fed not just in body by Jesus' miraculous actions on
that day but in spirit, their faith being built up by this
display of divine power, so too also may your faith be built up and
fed as you hear and read the faithful accounts given of our Lord's
works and teachings by the evangelists in the Gospel. Amen
Through our baptism we are children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ. That alone is glory enough for all eternity; how much more then is it glory enough for the short span of a human life?
And this great gift was given to us by God; it was not earned. There is, therefore, no place in the Christian life for pride. How could there be? All that we are and have is His gift; and all that we do is done in His strength. Be humble then in all you say, think, or do, seeking to bring glory only to God.
For you have need of no further glory than what he has already given you; and it is his glory alone that will bring you to eternal life.
'Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.'
Reflection: We, as followers of Christ, have been privileged to see and hear things that many great patriarchs and prophets, holy men and women, did not. Do not ever take such great gifts from God for granted.
Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, 'Go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”'
John 20. 17
Reflection: Christ addresses those who abandoned him as 'brothers.' He forgives their desertion because he knows that ultimately they will return to him. Thus will he also forgive those who were lost and yet repent and turn back to him.
my words be in the Name of the Holy & Undivided Trinity: +
Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.Amen.
said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and
rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no
leisure even to eat.
remember once some years ago standing in a queue in a credit-union in
Cork. The line was long and moving slowly and the two elderly ladies
in front of me struck up a conversation. And standing behind them as
I was it was, of course, impossible for me not to overhear what they
that plane crash yesterday was terrible, girl' said the first.
it was,' said the second.
those poor people, going off on their holidays.'
they had to be going off, gallivanting around the world on their
foreign holidays. Back in my day, we happy enough to get on the bus
on go down to Crosshaven for the day. And bring our sandwiches with
us. No airplanes for us, flying here there and everywhere, and we
were happy out, like.'
we were indeed, girl.'
while there is nothing wrong with spending the day in Crosshaven –
I have spent many a happy afternoon there, a truly charming place,
particularly in the summer when the weather is fine, there is a
gentle sea breeze, and the merries are open for the children to enjoy
a ride on the carousel or the bumper-cars - I can't help but think
that the two ladies were being a little hard on the doomed holiday
makers. For a holiday is a holiday, whether it is a day by the
seaside or a fortnight abroad, and the difference between the two is
only a matter of degree; and, of course, not only is air transport
very safe, but a bus may crash perhaps even more easily than a plane.
the truth is not only do we need a break now and again, it is
actually part of God's plan that we should. He teaches us this by the
example of his own actions when in Genesis he rests on the seventh
day after the work of creation on the preceding six; and later in
Exodus he makes it part of his Divine Law that man should keep holy
the Sabbath day and refrain from work.
Our Lord in our Gospel reading today recognises his disciples need for a
break. They have just returned from the mission he sent them on, out
preaching and teaching and calling people to repentance. We don't
know exactly how long they have been gone, but these are the
instructions that he gave them before they went out:
called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave
them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take
nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money
in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two
tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay
there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome
you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust
that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out
and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many
demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
can presume from all this that they were gone more than a few days –
weeks, perhaps even months. A good long time certainly, walking on
dusty roads wherever they went in the hot, dry climate of Israel.
They have been working hard, these fishers of men. And so Jesus wants
to take them away from it all for a while. But the break he is
suggesting is not the ancient world's equivalent of a 'mini-break' at
some sort of spa-hotel.
away to a deserted place' he says. And the word that is translated
here as 'deserted' in used elsewhere in Mark's gospel, in the first
chapter, where it is more usually translated as 'wilderness.' And
there it refers to the wilderness where John the Baptist preached and
the wilderness into which our Lord was driven by the Holy Spirit
after his baptism. So already we should be realising that there are
spiritual dimensions to this 'time away from it all' that Jesus wants
his disciples to take.
our Lord, of course, does not send them to this 'wilderness place'
alone – he goes with them. They are going to a quiet place to spend
time with Jesus. After their long, hard weeks of pounding the roads
and working hard what the Son of God thinks his followers need is not
some time in the local tavern, filling themselves with food and wine;
neither is it to lounge on the shores of Galilee, relaxing on the
beach in the sun and splashing in the cool water; nor is it to go off
to some place they have never seen before and see the sights and
learn interesting details about the local culture. It is to go to a
desert place and spend time with the Lord.
for us to consider, perhaps, at the end of our own working day, or
after a long, hard week, or even after many weeks of particularly
arduous labour. Is there more to refreshing ourselves than an hour in
front of the telly, or a shopping trip in a nearby town, or yet
another holiday of sun, sea, and sand? Perhaps true refreshment lies
in making a quiet space in our lives to spend time with the Lord. It
was what he wanted for his disciples; and as we are his followers
also, I can not but think that it is what he wants for us also. Amen
The summer is the time when many like to plan their holidays, taking a break from work and home. Most put a quite an amount of planning into it, deciding on the right destination, how they will travel there, where to stay, and what to do and see while there.
What of planning as to where they will worship on the Sundays they are away?
Do they take advantage of the internet to check out in advance what churches are nearby and the times worship will take place? Do they assume that someone in the hotel or resort or some local person living nearby will be able to tell them? Or do they give it no thought at all, treating their vacation as a holiday from God as well as all the mundane things of their lives?
There is, of course, no such thing as a holiday from God. If there happens to be no church within a reasonable distance of where you are holidaying, then so be it – keep the day holy in some other way. But if there is, then make it your business to go, giving especial thanks to God for this time he has granted you of rest and relaxation.
The Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
This is something for all Christians to consider, for if the master was hated, why should the servants be surprised if they too face hatred? For the servant is not greater than the master and can expect no better treatment than he.
Reflection: The Lord's Day is for rest and worship. Necessity can make this difficult for some; but the necessity of the few does not grant license to the many. Consider this in relation to how you spend your own Sunday's.
a Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) press release
Three suspected members of Islamist terror group Boko Haram were arrested in Nigeria's Plateau State on 14 July, after their behaviour aroused the suspicion of local traders.
According to local reports, traders in the Terminus area of Jos seized the three men, who were reportedly moving around the market area in a suspicious manner. When the suspects were confronted and searched, one was found to be in possession of five mobile phone SIM cards, while another had four. The men, who had arrived at the market in the same vehicle, are also reported to have given contradictory statements to the police.
The arrests are the latest indication of heightened activity by the Boko Haram sect in Plateau State. On Sunday 12 July a bomb attack on Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Gospel 1 building in Tudun Wada, Jos was averted when explosives were discovered in the church toilet prior to the Sunday service. Four explosives were detonated before security officials arrived; one exploded after it was thrown over a fence and another was discovered and successfully defused by the bomb squad of the Nigeria Police Force.
On 7 July, the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Dr Felix Omobude, stated that so far around 850 churches had been destroyed by Boko Haram in the north of Nigeria. On 10 July, Boko Haram released its latest video in which a Nigerian soldier was beheaded and threats were issued of renewed attacks on Christians, Jews and the security forces. Meanwhile, Boko Haram has continued a violent campaign that has claimed at least 700 lives in northern Nigeria alone since 29 May.
On 14 July, at least 30 people died when the sect mounted a four-hour attack on Mainok village on the outskirts of the Borno State capital Maiduguri. Boko Haram militants also raided Damasak Town in the north of Borno State, killing at least 12 people. They murdered over 20 commuters on the Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway and killed eight others following an ambush on a lorry in Garin Giwa near Baga. On 15 July, hundreds of civilians were reported to be fleeing Benisheikh, Ngamdu and Kukareta villages in the north of Borno State following renewed Boko Haram attacks on their communities. Nigeria is now reported to have the third largest population of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the world, after Syria and Iraq.
The sect has also claimed lives in neighbouring Niger Republic, where four people died in an attack on a prison in the southern town of Diffa on 11 July; Cameroon, where at least 11 were killed in suicide bombings by two women near an army camp on 12 July; and Chad, where on 11 July a suicide attack on a market by a man dressed in a niqab claimed at least 15 lives in the capital N'Djamena. On 14 July, militants in a motorboat murdered several young Quranic students on an island in Lake Chad.
On 13 July, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari appointed new service chiefs and a National Security Adviser (NSA), having sacked their predecessors. According to the Borno State Governor Kasim Shettima, family members of the new NSA, Retired Major-General Babagana Monguno, are currently held captive by Boko Haram.
Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, 'Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in these attacks, and particularly to the family of the Nigerian soldier whose life was taken in such a barbaric manner. Even as we commend the Plateau State traders and the staff of ECWA Gospel 1 Tudun Wada, whose vigilance and bravery averted further loss of life, we are struck once again by the senseless violence of an international terrorist group that appears once again to be able to strike at will, murdering civilians in four nations in a cruel and unrelenting manner. Despite its pseudo-religious pronouncements, with every atrocity Boko Haram illustrates it is no more than a death cult that indoctrinates members to kill without conscience, regardless of the creed espoused by its victims.'
a Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) press release
Two Christian women, Ferdoos Eltoum and Rehab Omer Kakoum, have been found guilty of indecent or immoral dress under Article 152 of the Sudanese Criminal Code and fined. The cases seem to be part of an increase in criminal cases being brought against individual Christians as part of an ongoing campaign of repression against ethnic and religious minorities in the country.
The women were part of a group of Christian women from the Nuba Mountains who were arrested on 25 June, after leaving a celebration service at the El Izba Baptist Church in Khartoum, Sudan. They were tried separately by the Public Order Court and found guilty.
Ms Eltoum's initial trial hearing was held on 6 July. Her legal team presented two witnesses; a church minister, who testified that her dress code did not violate Christian dress codes, and a Sudanese woman, who testified that Ms Eltoum's dress code did not violate Sudanese culture. The judge did not make a ruling on the initial charge, but proceeded to charge Ms Eltoum under Article 152 based on what she had worn to court and handed down a fine of 500 Sudanese Pounds (SDP, or £54).
When Ms Eltoum appeared in court on 13 July for a ruling on her original charge, the judge refused to allow her lawyer, Mohaned Mustafa, to remain in court to defend her. After Mr Mustafa left the court room and another lawyer stepped in to defend Ms Eltoum, the judge found her guilty under Article 152 for what she was wearing on the evening of 25 June, but gave no sentence, despite a legal requirement to do so.
Ms Rahab Omer Kakoum's hearing was on 14 July. She was also found guilty under Article 152 and sentenced to a fine of 500 SDP or two months imprisonment if she does not pay the fine. In a direct violation of Sudanese criminal procedure, prior to his ruling, the judge allowed the prosecution to present its case and prevented the defense from presenting witnesses or any arguments.
In a separate development, three Christian minors were arrested on 7 July and charged with the theft of a ring and bracelet from a home where one of their mothers works as a housekeeper. Despite a lack of evidence, Monica Idress Kodey (aged 15); Samra Haroun Mustafa (16) and Reem Abd Alla (17) were charged and detained for three days in an adult prison before being released on bail. A bond of 2,700 SDP (approximately £300) was levied as a condition of their release.
The increase in criminal cases being brought against individual Christians appears to be part of an ongoing campaign of repression against ethnic and religious minorities in the country and a longstanding official policy of Islamisation and Arabisation.
Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, 'We are deeply concerned by the increased use of criminal procedures to target young Christian women in Sudan. These cases highlight wider concerns regarding the mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities in Sudan, especially those from Nuba Mountains, in violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief, and Article 2 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which places a burden on the state not to discriminate against different races or ethnic groups.
'The detention of three minors in an adult facility and the lack of due process in Ms Eltoum's and Ms Kakoum's cases are breaches of Sudanese criminal procedures and international law. Even more concerning is the broad interpretation of Article 152, which is used to harass women in Sudan. We call upon the Sudanese government to repeal or amend Article 152 and to uphold its obligations under international law by acquitting Ferdoos Eltoum and Rehab Omer Kakoum and dropping the charges against the other young women in their group. We also call for the cancellation of charges against the three girls falsely accused of theft. The international community must hold Sudan to account for these flagrant violations of international and domestic law.'
'Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. … 'I tell you that on the day of judgement it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.’
Reflection: The more gifts God grants you, the more he expects from you. And those who think they can take and take and yet reject him without consequence are wrong.
my words be in the Name of the Holy & Undivided Trinity: +
Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. Amen.
is much that is unsavoury in the details of the events surrounding
the death of St John the Baptist, which we hear of in our Gospel reading today. The tale begins outside of the Gospel accounts with
the divorce of Herodias from King Philip, the brother of another of
these local Jewish kings, Herod Antipas. We do not know what brought
about this divorce, but we are told by the historian Josephus that it
was Herodias that divorced Philip, something of a scandal in those
days. It appears that she did so for the sole purpose of marrying her
brother-in-law, Herod Antipas, and that marriage took place soon
after – and at no little cost to king Herod, as he had to first
divorce his wife, Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas
powerful ruler of a neighbouring kingdom who was far from pleased
that his child, and therefore also himself, should be treated in such
a disrespectful way.
marriage was, of course, unlawful for those of the Jewish faith. This
was no great difficulty personally for either Herodias or Herod –
the royal families of the Jewish kingdoms were really only nominally
Jewish both in breeding and religion – and as these petty kings
were essentially Roman functionaries, backed by the power of the
Empire, there was little likelihood of any political repercussions
within his kingdom – a king, who has not only his own army, but
also has the Roman legions at his beck and call is not to be trifled
with – and the Sadducees and the Pharisees, so quick to scrutinise
the activities of our Lord, seem to have thought it the wiser part of
valour to ignore the shenanigans of the royal family.
St John felt under no compulsion to behave with a similar discretion.
These people were flouting God's law in a very public and
unapologetic way. Their behaviour not only put their own souls in
danger, but by their example they might lead others astray; for if
the king may behave thus without anyone speaking out, then others may
be led to believe that perhaps it is not so very wrong to do so. And
if this law may be broken with impunity, then why not others? And so
St John is the one to speak out, the only one brave enough and holy
enough, the only one who loves God enough to break the silence of
tacit acceptance of this transgression of his law.
of course, swiftly follows. King's do not like being criticised,
particularly when that criticism might lead to popular unrest.
Herodias wants the holy man dead – of course she does, for if Herod
were to do as St John says, he would have to end their marriage, and
where would a woman who had set aside one king for another only to be
set aside herself in her turn ever find another king to marry? So the
saint was a very dangerous man indeed to her.
Herod refuses to have him killed. The surface excuse is that he fears
that his execution might lead to an uprising of John's followers. But
the deeper reason seems to be that he shrinks from so terrible an act
as executing a holy man for speaking the truth. That would be more
than murder – that would be a sacrilege approaching blasphemy.
instead he puts him in prison. And, to what must surely have been to
Herodias' horror, he goes and listens to him there. For who can doubt
what St John had to say to the king, even as he sits in chains?
Surely he would have continued to urge the king that there was still
time to repent of the evil that he had done and spare himself from
the wrath to come, to step away from this unholy marriage and return
to living his life according to the laws of God. This must have been
worrying time for Herodias.
she need not have feared. Like a great many kings in history, Herod
seems to have felt that keeping a holy man close, and protecting him
from harm, in some way gave him licence to lead a life that was far
from holy himself. He did not repent; he did not set his brother's
wife aside. Instead he threw a huge birthday banquet for himself.
And, if further proof were needed that Herod remained a man who was
far from God's law, he called his own niece, now his step-daughter,
Salome, to come and dance at this drunken celebration.
dancing girl in the ancient world, for those who are not aware, was
far from being a respectable occupation; they were generally slaves,
rented out for the public and private entertainment of those who
could afford them. That he would ask the girl who was legally now his
own daughter to come forward for the leering entertainment of his
guests speaks volumes about the depravity to which Herod had sunk; as
does the manner in which he allowed his passions to become so
inflamed by her dancing that he would promise her anything she wished
for as a reward.
sees her chance and seizes it; and Herod is too weak and prideful to
resist. And so he gives her what is not his to give, something that
is never in anyone's gift, whether they be a great king or the most
lowly and ordinary person alive – another man's life.
happy Herodias must have been that day. The person who was the
greatest threat to her had been eliminated. More, by forcing the king
to execute John, she ensured that Herod could never now leave her;
they were bound together by his blood, for Herod could not now or
ever repudiate the marriage without admitting he had murdered an
innocent man for no other crime than speaking the truth.
happiness was short lived. Ironically, this marriage was to prove
Herod's downfall. His former father-in-law, King Aretas did not
forgive the slight done to himself and his daughter, and within a few
years he and Herod were engaged in a war that proved disastrous for
the Jewish king. His weakened position after the conflict was
exploited by his enemies, and Rome handed his kingdom to his nephew,
Agrippa. Herod and Herodias were sent into exile and obscurity,
vanishing so completely from the pages of history that neither the
date nor the manner of their death is recorded.
would be tempting to see the hand of divine providence in the
downfall of Herod and Herodias, wicked people punished in this life
as a result of their own wickedness; but that would be to make them
the focus of the story, and they are not. I have not told you about
them in order to impress upon you the idea that God will strike down
the wicked in this life. For this is not so – Jesus himself taught
us this in the parable of the wheat and the tares, explaining that
God's judgement is in the next life, not this; and we all know from
personal experience that good people may suffer in this vale of
tears, even as we know that those who seem to us to lead lives of
unmitigated evil seem to prosper.
I told you about Herod and Herodias so that you might better
understand what it was that St John faced up to in challenging them,
for it is he that is our focus. And John by his life and death
teaches us that our life and liberty are not to be achieved at any
price – the truth must be spoken whatever the cost. It does not
matter how powerful and unscrupulous the enemies of God's Word may be
or what dire penalties they threaten to inflict on his children for
preaching his truth, particularly as it applies to the evil they do.
We, like John, are called to preach that truth, in season and out of
season. And we live in a world, I think, where the time is very much
out of season, just as it was for St John. And so I conclude with the
prayer that all here will be granted by God an equal measure of
strength and courage to follow the example of St John this day and
We are told again and again in Sacred Scripture that our salvation is dependent upon our obedience to God's will. He will, we know, forgive us when we fail and fall into sin. But that forgiveness is contingent on repentance, on our being sorrowful for offending against God's holy law and being determined to turn our back on sin in the future. If you refuse to accept what you have done is sinful, how can you be sorrowful? And if you refuse to turn from that sin, how can you repent and be forgiven? So if you would be saved you must do as Christ proclaimed: repent and believe in his Good News.
'It was said 'you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'
Reflection: Look into your hearts; if you long to do what is wrong, then you sin, even if the deed itself goes undone. Not having the means or opportunity to do the evil you desire to do will be no defense on the day of judgement.
'It was said to those of ancient times 'thou shalt not murder;' … but I say to you that if you are angry with your brother you will be liable to judgement.'
Matthew 5. 21,22
Reflection: How narrow is the way that Christ offers us. See how he not only condemns sin but is stricter evenin his interpretation of the moral law than the Old Testament prophets. Yet how can we not follow the path he lays before us? For his are the words of eternal life.
'Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfil.'
In the early years of the Church there were heretics who tried to claim that the Old Testament was no longer of relevance. Their false teaching was rejected as being clearly at odds with the words of Christ. Do not therefore fall into their error by ignoring what it is that God speaks to us through the Old Testament.
Just a thought today on the Gospel (printed below), as I'm on holidays and not preaching. Our Lord's reaction to his rejection in his home town is, I think, instructive. Is he disappointed by their reaction? Yes; in fact he is amazed at their unbelief. Does he let this interfere with his mission? Not at all. He continues teaching, travelling from village to village. He sends out his Apostles two by two to call people to repentance, giving them authority over unclean spirits.
Jesus doesn't let his poor reception in Nazareth get in the way of proclaiming the Good News. In fact, he never lets anything get in the way of that.
Something for us all to keep in mind when we are feeling discouraged, when we think no one wants to listen, when we are mocked for trying to share the Gospel. Like us he faced difficulties in bringing the Word to others. His perseverance in the face of those difficulties should encourage us, who are called to be Christ-like in all our ways, to continue whatever we face.
Mark 6: 1-13
He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
What is reallove? Is it some emotional state, the feeling of being in love? No, for this kind of love will pass when the moment passes, some difficulty arises, or the charms and beauty of the beloved fades.
True love is to will the good of the other. The greatest good you can do for another is, of course, to aid them in all ways that you can to enter into eternal life. Therefore, you will do nothing to tempt or encourage them to sin. You will certainly never do anything with them that is sinful. And if you see them sinning, you will gently remind them of what Christ teaches.
You do this not because you judge them; not because you wish to 'spoil' their fun. You do this because you love them and and that love causes you to desire with every fibre of you being the greatest good for them.
Jesus said 'Truly I tell you that this widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.'
Of your weekly 'budget' of time and money, how much goes to the Lord? Is it only from what is 'left over' that you wouldn't miss? Or is it more; do you, like the widow, offer everything that you have to live on?