Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Delight in Jesus!


Frank Wesley's Indian Style Painting: Jesus Heals the Sick

Before leaving chapter six of Saint Mark's Gospel there are a final four verses which we shouldn't ignored:

So they finished the crossing and came to land at Gennesaret, where they made fast. When they came ashore, he was immediately recognized and the people scoured that whole country-side and brought the sick on stretchers to any place where he was reported to be. Wherever he went, to farmsteads, villages, or towns, they laid out the sick in the market-places and begged him to let them simply touch the edge of his cloak; and all who touched him were cured.  Mark 6: 53-56

The verses here come after two very big and detailed miracles which have been reflected upon in separate posts over the past few weeks: The Feeding of Five Thousand and Jesus Walking on the Stormy Sea. 

In the stormy sea miracle the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost, but not here at Gennesaret. Here they have no fear, but full of brokenness, sickness and despair, they flock to Jesus. What a scene!

The two previous miracles are so specific, Mark even tells us how the men were arranged in groups on the ground and gives number details about the food itself. But in these verses Mark creates the gospel image with broad generalizations. Maybe he doesn't have the miracle-details as he did with the previous accounts, but he wants everything about Jesus to be remembered and recognized, even if his information or memory are sketchy.

In this scene at Gennesaret the people love, embrace and welcome Jesus. But soon we'll see this love contrasted with the hatred some religious leaders feel for him. Maybe Mark presents the contrast so his readers (including us) will know they have a choice. You can't stay neutral with Jesus - you've got to choose.

These verses mark the first time the tassels or fringes are mentioned that observant Jewish men wore (and sometimes still do) on their clothing. Jesus was an observant Jew. Remember the hemorrhaging woman in the crowd who said, "If only I can touch his cloak," (Mark 5:21-43). It sounds a little magical perhaps, but there's faith in that touch. But the contrast is established when in another place (Matthew 23:5) Jesus refers to the Pharisees whose religion is showy, who lengthen their tassels or widen the borders of their clothing to enhance their prestige.

It's hard to believe this kind of thing could exist today in a world of naked poverty, but there's a retro thing going on among some clergy - the priests (even young ones who should know better) all decorated in high clerical couture: buttons, colored fabrics, sashes, hats and capes. Pope Francis has called them out, referring to them as peacocks and princes. Jesus will have none of it. 

Bottom line. We might read these few verses again and just feel the excitement. The words hold and carry us in a wave of enthusiasm for Jesus. The first thing to characterize a believer, a pastor, a parish, the Church itself, must be an active delight in and enthusiasm for Jesus in himself.

20 comments:

  1. I really feel for Jesus. Loved one minute and hated and nailed to a cross the next. Isn't this typical of how life goes for us? Never quite getting that feeling of stability and always walking on the edge, wondering when the fall will take place?

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  2. I would be excited to be able to touch Jesus in the flesh. I can only imagine what it would be like to walk along side him and hear him preach. I don't think we can compare it to any present day experience.

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  3. Dear Fr. Stephen,
    I have long been impressed by your blog. It is set up to be so inviting and beautiful. When I come to this page, I always feel welcomed and at home. I love your choice of pictures for each post. They are always different than what one might expect, but most of all, your inspirational writing is what draws me to return again and again. Whatever motivates you to write is passed on to me in your messages of love, acceptance and belonging. I am glad to have been pointed here. Forever grateful.

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    1. That's all I'm doing - pointing. I'm glad you've found the posts. Thank you!

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  4. I search and search for answers. I am happy to find some resolution here. Delight in Jesus. It seems simple enough, but is it really enough?

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    1. There was a time it was always enough and then some. Now it's like a bit of a dark night. Not sure what is transpiring but it appears like the ebb and flow of spiritual life, this just appears a bit harder.

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    2. Well, what do we do in a dark night? We can wait it out until the morning light. We can carefully bump around and continue to do what needs to be done. We can take a snooze and wake up refreshed. We can hide in a corner all frozen with fear. But that's no fun and most (if not all) of the fears are fanciful anyway. If one's to be had, we can take someone's hand and not go it alone.

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    3. I'm waiting it out and keeping my eyes open and hopefully my heart too, please see update of my friend Cathy.

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  5. Delight in Jesus: Why wouldn't it be enough?

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    1. I don't know if it is enough, just to delight in Jesus. It doesn't go along the lines of how I was raised. I feel as though it is too comfortable and doesn't require enough sacrifice.

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    2. Own nothing. Forgive seventy times seven times. Pray for those who persecute you. Turn the other cheek. Go the extra mile. Hate no one. Carry your cross. Stop judging. That doesn't require sacrifice!?

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    3. Delight in Jesus, follow Jesus and live like Jesus. Now I see what you mean Father.

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    4. And if I may add this: to live like Jesus means that I would live my own unique life as truthfully and as beautifully as Jesus lived his. That's a profound challenge and invitation. I can't replicate Jesus' life because I live/you live 2000 plus years away and in different circumstances - but to live my own life as authentically!

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    5. I have enjoyed following this thread. I found myself thinking along the same lines as Anonymous above, and was grateful to them for posing the question to you. Feelings of understanding have washed over me today. Gratitude to all that share here. Especially you Father.

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    6. I'm grateful to all who post here as well. It's the Gospels - people are leaving the Catholic Church because we're not giving them the Gospels. Sometimes everything BUT the Gospels. The Christ-Center. All these new so-called evangelical churches are filled with former Catholics who have left because we fail to present a living Christ as he is shown to us in the Gospels. Delight in Jesus!

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    7. The source of the greatest suffering throughout human history is the attempt to deal with sin on our own, through our political, economic, military or cultural efforts. The key to our joy is in knowing that Jesus has taken on our suffering so that we may embrace the world in both its beauty and its tragedy. Jesus' Incarnation is all we need to remember. Delight in Jesus and all that He told us.

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  6. These comments are all so real and I relate to so many of them. I look forward to your posts and the replies. It all keeps me hopeful when most times I struggle with being hopeful. Thanks to all who post.

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  7. You are bring Jesus to us in an exciting way through the gospels, always on the move, performing miracles, visiting with the poor, the rich, the sick, the priests, the children. When I look up savior in the dictionary. It says, 1. a person who saves, 2. Jesus Christ. I thought that was neat.

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  8. And you know, that while we think of savior as the one who forgives sins and opens the way to eternal life - we need a savior in our immediate lives too: Jesus save me from my moody disposition, from this ungenerous spirit, from my self-pity, from self-aggrandizement. And then too: Jesus, save me FOR the work that's put before me today, save me FOR compassion and kindness today.

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  9. I'm so glad the replies stay posted. I like to reread and revisit them. So many are so helpful. Helps me to readjust the way I think and therefore speak.

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