Monthly Archives: November 2017

ADVENT TIME – Year B

Preface

 

If, in 68 AD, after writing his Gospel, Mark had brought it to a bookseller in Rome and asked him to put it in the catalog, he would have found it difficult to choose among which works to place it.

 

Among the biographies of famous men? No. Although all focused on the character, Jesus, it is devoid of elements that normally appear in a biography. There is a lack of information about his birth, his family, the cultural environment in which he grew up. His way of thinking, his psychology, his personality are not explored. He comes up as an adult, taking for granted that everyone knows that he is a Jew who lived at the time of the emperor Tiberius.

 

The Gospel of Mark is not comparable to the myths. Jesus was a healer, but his story is not lost, as that of Aesculapius, in time, and his death and resurrection is not a re-release of that of Osiris, Adonis and Tammuz. Jesus was a real man, a carpenter by profession, sentenced to death for sedition by the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate and executed on a cross. Some of his disciples claimed later that he was still alive (Acts 25:19).

 

Not even the shelf where the books that narrate the deeds of the heroes like Alexander the Great and Hannibal are collected is the right place for the Gospel of Mark. Jesus did not lead the glorious military campaigns that have made Caesar and Octavian famous.

 

Could he be counted among the masters of wisdom? Great sages were expected to address the death in a heroic way as Socrates or with the fortitude of spirit of Seneca who, just at the time when Mark was writing his book, took his own life. But Jesus—Porphyry the skeptic declared—“took no strong and bold speech, but allowed himself to be insulted as a street rogue.” The wondrous works attributed to him could not attract the interest of savvy readers as those educated in the schools of the empire’s capital.

 

The Gospel of Mark is not categorized in any of the known literary genres  and this should be kept in mind to avoid the mistake of considering it a “Life of Jesus.”

 

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1st Sunday of Advent – Year B – December 3, 2017

Waiting for His coming

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/sMMKQy0pTTo

 

Introduction

 

“A man of noble birth went to a distant country to assume regal authority, after which he planned to return home. He summoned ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds of silver. He said, ‘Put this money to work until I get back’” (Lk 19:12-13).

 

From this parable and from the incorrect translation of some words of the Lord, as, for example, “I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you” (Jn 14:18), the idea surged up that, on the day of the Ascension, Jesus would leave of his disciples to return, in the splendor of His glory, at the end of time. The expression “return of the Lord,” although commonly used, could be misunderstood. The liturgical texts avoid it because Jesus has not left us; he did not go away, our life is not lived in his absence.

 

The Greeks imagined Zeus imperturbable on the Olympus, blessed beyond human misery. He was, according to the oracle of Pausanias, “the one who was, is and will be.” The Christian God is different, “the one who is, who was and who is to come” (Rev 1:8); not “the Lord who returns,” but “one who never ceases to come.” Entering in, he commits himself in the history of the world and renews, together with humans, the whole of creation: he cures the sick, heals the wounds caused by sin, turns off the hatred, preaches love and guides the world “into the way of peace” (Lk 1:79).

 

The early Christians implored: “Maranàtha: Come, O Lord!” (1 Cor 16:22). “Come, Lord Jesus” is the invocation which concludes the book of Revelation (Rev 22:20).

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Come, Lord Jesus! Come and with us renew the world.

 

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34th Sunday in Ordinary Time / Solemnity of Christ the King – Year A – November 26, 2017

God the Judge… To Save

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/W2SGe8c92sI

Introduction

 

“Go, cursed people, out of my sight into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt 25:41). These are the most terrible words that we find in the gospel and are not the only ones on the lips of Jesus. Luke and Matthew remember others: “I don’t know where you come from! Away from me, all you workers of evil” (Lk 13:27). “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom all that is scandalous and all who do evil. And these will be thrown into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 13:41-42). “Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the dark” (Mt 22:13). “But his master will come on the day he does not know, and at the hour he least expects. He will dismiss that servant, and deal with him as with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 24:51).

 

These phrases are clearly etched in our minds. They have inspired legions of artists who painted scenes of terror, despair, and torment. They have suggested lyrics such as the Dies irae, the most impressive of the descriptions of the Last Judgment. They have offered inspiration to musicians who have translated into sounds the anguish of the crucial moment when Christ will pronounce the final judgment.

 

The judgment of God has been presented and continues today to be seen by many as a dramatic rendering of account. Thus an encounter with the Lord, far from being desired and expected, is for everyone, even for the righteous, a big unknown. In the face of the One who “who can charge his angels with error” (Job 4:18) who can feel safe? Many Christians already consider a great luck being able to take a few years of purgatory.

 

Is this the justice of God?

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad because the Lord judges the world… with his justice.”

 

Watch the Bible Study Session held in Epiphany Parish, Mui Wo

by Fr. Alberto Rossa: https://youtu.be/W-Vgkoq2O_A

 

Rossa BIBLE CLASS

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