Fr. Kevin’s Column 2/7/2021

Dear friends of God,

This week in our Gospel we continue delving a little deeper into the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel.

Three aspects of our passage for this weekend (Mark 1:29-39) strike me instantly.

 

  • Jesus took part actively and consciously in the worship of his Jewish Tradition. We can forget that Jesus was Jewish. He wasn’t the first Christian. He lived his whole life as a member of the faith of his ancestors. He was formed by these traditions. He knew the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus was inspired by the God of his forebears to proclaim the coming Kingdom of God.

 

  • Jesus again is showing that he is a healer. He came for the healing of the world. Jesus healed the mother-in-law of Simon (imagine that our first Pope, St. Peter had a mother-in-law, a wife and likely children). In this passage, Jesus healed all who came to him with their infirmities. He didn’t check to make sure that they were the “right” kind of people. He embraced everyone and shared his healing love with everyone. Imagine what our Church might look like if we embraced all who came to our door with compassion. St. Benedict in his Rule for Benedictines has given us this wisdom from the year 516. “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ.” (RB 53:1). It is my hope that this wisdom will guide us as a faith community. May God use us as an instrument of healing for all who come through our doors.

  • Jesus was a man deeply connected to the Father through his prayer. He took time regularly to sit with the Father. He needed to be energized by this Divine relationship. Jesus and the Father are One, and that Oneing was reflected in the time that was given to that community of love that is the Holy Trinity. We are baptized into that Divine Dance that is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. We need to take time every day to sit with God to learn to become one with our One God. If we don’t pay attention to God it is easy for our lives to go off the rails and we not only neglect God but also our neighbor whom we are commanded to love by our God.
 

It can be challenging to love our neighbor as our self and even painful to love our enemies. Yet that is the mission that we take on when we take up our cross to follow the Lord Jesus. Real love is really hard. Love is always easier in theory than in practice.

 

In his book No Man is an Island, Father Thomas Merton gives us these prophetic words on what it takes to begin to love:

 

The beginning of this love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them, we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

 

Even though they broke up the year of my birth, I am a huge Beatles fan. I listen to their music every day and sometimes even dance to their music with my cat Clare. The Beatles remind me with their music what Jesus showed by his life: “All you need is love.” Jesus’ teaching is so easy that it can be written on the back of a postage stamp: “Love one another.” Let’s take some time this week to delve into the Bible. It is a good opportunity to see what the Word of God has to teach us.

 

“Love one another” (John 13:34)
“Love one another” (John 13:35)
“Love one another” (John 15:12)
“Love one another” (John 15:17)
“Love one another” (Rom 12:10)
“Love one another” (I Thes 3:12)
“Love one another” (I Peter 1:22)
“Love one another” (I John 3:11)
“Love one another” (1John 3:23)
“Love one another” (1 John 4:7)
“Love one another” (1 John 4:11)
“Love one another” (1 John 4:12)

“Love one another” (2 John 5)

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin