Friday, April 24, 2009

After You Have Suffered a Little

April 25, 2009

Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist

Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ (Jesus) will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. 1 Peter 5:8-10

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-15


The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things rightif I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. --Reinhold Niebuhr


“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

As we celebrate St. Mark’s feast day, we reflect on the final message in his Gospel, a message sent to a community filled with fear and hell-bent on denial of everything they learned for the last three years. These so-called friends abandoned Jesus at his darkest hour, when he needed them the most. As Ched Myes writes in “Say to This Mountain,” the third call to discipleship in Mark is “directed to those discipleship became mired in the dead-end of denial.” Even though we may look elsewhere for happiness, Jesus still seeks us out for a new beginning.

Proverbs 3 tells us: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” As we say in the Total Security talk on Cursillo weekends, change the direction in which you are looking for happiness. Fully rely upon God.

Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Stop looking for happiness at the shopping mall or neighborhood bar. You might find happiness there but it will be fleeting. Stop looking for happiness on the basketball court or the golf course.

Once we assent to go on this spiritual journey with Jesus, we learn that our emotional programs for happiness based on our needs for affection-esteem, survival-security, and power-control prevent us from reacting to other people and their needs. When we are locked into our private worlds, we are not present to the needs of others when they seek help.

When we put our trust in God, all things are possible. St. Mark tells us that the results of God’s friendship will be truly amazing. “They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

The path will not be without pain. The Serenity Prayer by Niebuhr nudges us out of our sleep and reminds us that we are only promised that life will be “reasonably happy on earth. Just like the letter to Peter tells us that we will suffer a little.

Do you plan on picking up snakes? No, I don’t either. But there are many obstacles in our path. We must pick these up and throw them out. We can overcome the obstacles to God’s friendship because Jesus and your fellow travelers are there for us. We can meet these as yet unknown challenges provided we maintain an ongoing relationship with Christ and our brothers and sisters.

This may be the end of the Gospel but it is only the beginning of our journey to find the risen Jesus. The Easter tomb is empty. Myers reminds us, “If we wish to see Jesus, we too must journey to Galilee. Jesus has gone on ahead of the church. Only by responding to the invitation to discipleship can we join him where he already is: on the Way.”


"Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” How are you responding to the call to discipleship?

Are you faithfully relying upon your group reunion? Are you attending to it and its members on a regular basis?

What tools are you using to strengthen your piety?

What is your plan of action for next week?

No comments: