Leviticus 13:1-2,45-46; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45
On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is Michelangelo's famous painting of the creation of Adam, in which the outstretched hand of God the Creator almost, but not quite, touches the outstretched hand of Adam. Within that tiny gap between the two fingers is found - so we can imagine - the entire energy of creation, as the One-who-is reaches out to the one-who-is-not so that he might come to be. God said 'let there be', and there was.
In today's gospel reading Jesus reaches out and touches a leper who has asked to be made clean. In that moment when the outstretched hand of Jesus reaches the suffering body of the leper is found - so we can imagine - the entire energy of the new creation, as the Word become flesh reaches out to the one subject to the power of sin and death, so that he might live a new life. Jesus said 'I will, be clean' and the leprosy left him.
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1 Kings 12:26-32; 13:33-34; Psalm 106:6-7ab, 19-20, 21-22; Mark 8:1-10
Our readings today are antithetical. The first reading is all about selfishness. Jeroboam is only thinking of himself and his position. He wants to retain the power, so he creates false idols and lures the people to worship him and his idols instead of God. He creates priests willy-nilly to give people a false sense of power and security. He is sinning and causing the people to sin. The psalm reiterates that the people forgot the God who saved them and worshipped false gods and idols instead. This selfishness was sin and he dragged others down with him.
1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19; Mark 7:31-37
In today’s gospel the crowd brings to Jesus a deaf man with a speech impediment and begs Jesus to lay his hand on him. Note how Jesus deals with the man, one on one, sensitively, carefully and compassionately.
“He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned and said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (that is ‘Be opened!)”
1 Kings 11:4-13; Mark 7:24-30
Solomon was not loyal to his God. He tried hard to be loyal to his many wives and their gods but not his own God. Loyalty is a basic virtue.
We all know how loyal a dog is to his/her master. After absence from home it is a heart warmer to open the front door and have your dog leap with joy into your arms. “My Dog Skip,” the movie, showed this bond of love and loyalty between a boy and his dog. Solomon couldn’t be as loyal as Skip!!!
1 Kings 10:1-10; Mark 7:14-23
The heart of being Christian is proclaiming and following the message of Jesus. Jesus’ dialogue with his disciples in today’s gospel cuts to the heart of the Christian message asserting that internal disposition of heart, not punctilious external obligation, is central to following Jesus.
Doubtless Jesus was engaged in a discussion about the Jewish food laws as contained in the Jewish law. Does observation of these make one holy and lack of observation defile one? Jesus is forthright: “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from the outside cannot defile. . . .But what comes out of a man, that is what defiles him.”
1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30; Mark 7:1-13
….“you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants who are faithful to you with their whole heart.”
This statement seems to be the essence of our readings for today. The readings speak to our need to be truthful, honest and sincere in our relationship with God. In the Gospel reading it is quite clear that the message to us is to act out of sincere love for God, for the laws of God, out of our appreciation for all that God has done and will continue to do for us.
What struck me in this gospel reading was the last sentence of the reading. St. Mark says: "and as many as touched it were healed." The fame of Jesus in Galilee, even early in his public life, was such that when people heard he was coming they hurried to gather together their sick in hopes for a cure. On this day Jesus was recognized as soon as he came ashore at Gennesaret. And the townspeople rushed in a great frenzy to gather together their sick. They placed them on mats in the marketplace where they hoped to touch the cloak of Jesus as he passed by. When Jesus arrived he was not in a great hurry. He probably moved slowly through the town so as to give as many as possible the opportunity to reach up and touch him. There must have been great crowds in each town that Jesus passed through. And so there were probably a great many healings that day.
The Assembly elected the new General Coordination Council:
– The Ex-officio Members: Fr. Jacob Nampudakam SAC, Sr. Ivete Garlet, CSAC and Sr. Izabela Świerad, SAC.
– The Elected Members: Miss Donatella Acerbi – Italy, Sr. Bożena Olszewska, SAC – Poland, Fr. Jeremiah Murphy, SAC – Ireland, Miss Cheryl Sullivan – Australia, Fr. Gilberto Orsolin, SAC – Brazil, Mrs. Sonia Saldana – India, Sr. Beniamina Tropiano, CSAC – Italy, Fr. Florent Eloundou, SAC – Cameroon, Mr. Michał Grzeca – Poland, Miss Linda Barikmo – United States. Substitutes: Mrs. Rosa Colucci – Italy, Fr. Alexander Pietrzyk SAC, France, Fr. Norbert Sequeira SAC, India.
The new president will be elected during the first meeting of the new General Coordination Council.
Job 7:1-4, 6-7; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39
Job, in our First Reading, has had a hard time of it. He is downer and outer than anybody else in Scriptures. He is experiencing the crucible of fidelity. The Devil kind of makes a bet with God that if Job is squeezed enough he will cry out in some way of disbelief. The devil says that Job is a man of faith, because he has everything in hand and within his control. What we hear is a most natural response to the questions which suffering can create. Job asks the usual questions about the meaning of life. We hear two such questions and then his tormentful musings about the meaning of his personal life and that of all humankind.