Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lenten Mercy Meditation: "With that he left them..."


Prager: syndicated radio talk show host, columnist, author, public speaker

"Then the Pharisees came out and engaged him in discussion. To test him they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply to himself and said, "Why does this generation ask for a sign? I tell you this: no sign shall be given to this generation." With that he left them, re-embarked, and went off to the other side of the lake." (Mark 8: 11-13)

What's going on here in these few lines? Are the Pharisees really asking for a sign, even though in the previous verses Jesus had just fed thousands of people with the little bread and fish. (Mark 8: 1-10)

Or are they essentially asking for Jesus' credentials to teach what he's teaching, after all, they disagree with so much of what he has to say? And if that's the case, then what they're really looking for is an argument. Jesus response?...

He sighed deeply. Then Jesus moved away from them by sailing across the lake. Today he might say, "I have to get as far away as possible from all of this." 

The Church is terribly distracted and weakened by so much in-house argument. Pope Francis calls out cardinals and bishops where he detects it in the highest levels of Church life. There are Catholic organizations and publications that seem to have argument as their unwritten mission statement - each with its own vociferous agenda. Some clerics use the pulpit for all kinds of joy-stealing argument, instead of the proclamation of Jesus' Gospel as spiritual way.

Let's get free of this. I would never want to tire Jesus by so much religious arguing that he would feel the need to disembark and sail away.


9 comments:

  1. Those in high places usually get it wrong for a number of reasons. This can be said of labor unions, banking institutions, Walmart, IBM, Best Buy, and yes of course churches whether Christian, Jewish , Islam and even atheists have their issues and people in high places. We have to keep it small and even test , admonish and confront at times. Most are too skittish these days to say anything without anger. And when said without anger is still accused of something,

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    1. This is true. People in positions of power in all industries including religious institutions, get it wrong many times. And unfortunately, the people we put there from below in hopes of making changes, lose their grounding and fail to change things. They become like the other higher ups. And this does make people angry and causes hope to be lost.

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  2. I'm not in a high place and argument swirls all around and even inside me. I have to address this before all else.

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  3. We do need to address it and not ignore the issues. It takes work and persistence to get a point across. It is up to us individually to decide what battles to confront.

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    1. Decades ago I was washing my car in the seminary parking lot. Out of no where a priest came up to me and said, "Stephen, don't put your head on the block for everything," and he walked away. A suckerpunch. But he was right.

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  4. Sometimes the most church going religious people are the least Christ like. They judge others who don't share their beliefs. Jesus didn't tell his disciples cast off people unlike themselves. Didn't he help all?

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    1. Pope Francis is going to wash the feet of 12 refugees tomorrow night - Holy Thursday. Some folks will be in an uproar about that. Women? Non-Catholics? Still, he presses on with a message of inclusion and love.

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  5. The Eucharist has many layers of meaning and is all that really matters to me as it reminds us of the magnitude of Jesus' love for us. I can forget the negativity that surrounds us in life and focus on feeling touched by God. I never want to chase Him away

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