Do not judge, that you may not be judged. Is the Lord telling us to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, to be naive and undiscerning? Part of the prophetic role of the baptized is precisely that: to be prophetic, not to abstain from taking positions. Part of our being sent is to call evil what is evil and good what is good. But this does not necessarily mean that we have to set ourselves up as judges of others.
Job 38:1, 8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41
With Jesus through the Storms of Life
St Mark's words might express the feelings of many people of shaky faith or none. When the storms of life rage overhead, people often can't keep themselves from a word of protest:
Where is God when I need him most?
After all, God is supposed to be at the helm of the ship. That's God's job. Instead, he sometimes seems comfortably sheltered from the maelstrom of human concerns. Perhaps he's just dozing. His captaincy sometimes seems hidden from view.
2 Cor 12:1-10; Mt 6:24-34
The Wonder of it All
“I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”
(2 Corinthians 12: 9)
The Christians at Corinth were divided. In his letters, Paul ministered to this community in crisis. He established his authority as a servant of Christ but not in the usual way. From childhood, we learn to boast about what sets us above others: rich friends, winning plays, top ranking, flashy electronics, big houses, fast cars. Neither wealth nor powerful allies serve as Paul’s credentials. Paul boasts in new and humorous ways. Speaking of himself in the third person, he acclaims the man who reportedly was lifted up into Paradise, where he directly encountered the mystery of God. But as for himself, it is his weakness of which he boasts. But who prizes loss and failure? This absurdity catches his readers’ attention and we listen.
The lessons for today are appropriate for people who experience distress and anxiety. At some points in our lives, all of us have fears and call out to God for rescue. But we usually don't do so from the perspective of first acknowledging that our anxieties are often due to our lack of trust and our inability to honestly confront our weaknesses and our daily need for God to reveal God's light in the midst of our lives.
We are a sinful people, easily duped by the enemy, distracted by the false lights that move our lesser selves. There are so many ways that we can transgress on our path to the Lord, countless side trips that can divert us from our true calling, to be reunited with God. I think most of us realize we are sinful, most understand that we personally are not immune from stumbling. That is why when we stop to reflect on the love of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus, we are both humbled and chastened, and with the psalmist we can give thanks for the greatness of the Lord.
Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
God loves a cheerful giver. I love this phrase from Corinthians, not just in its meaning for alms and good works. God doesn’t just mean that we smile when we write out a check or grin when we drop off clothes at Goodwill (thought I think that’s a good idea too.) When I think of God loves a cheerful giver, it reminds me of finding God in all things, in our day-to-day lives -- not only when we are in church or praying or performing service. I want to be a cheerful giver among my co-workers, my neighbors, the woman at the checkout line at the grocery store.
“. . . love your enemies . . .”.
Almost everyone is familiar with that command. And almost everybody thinks that, while perhaps an ideal, it is hopelessly unrealistic. Maybe. But maybe some context might help us understand how central this really is to being Christian.
What, after all, does it mean to be Christian? Not to save ourselves, as perhaps we once thought. God has done that for us. No, our job is to continue the work of Jesus – the Jesus who called people to change their priorities and submit to God’s gentle reign. Christians are a community of disciples, having disciple roles, and doing disciple work.
“Offer no resistance to injury . . . turn the other cheek.” These phrases are among the most famous and most difficult of any which the Gospels record as coming from the lips of Jesus. If we listen to them long enough to really hear them, before being frightened off by them, we usually hear in them an admonition to passivity in the face of conflict.
▪ Pope Francis, presiding over Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Pentecost Sunday, invited all the faithful to live with humble openness to the Holy Spirit and to put God before oneself. He said: We should not become lost in our own plans and projects, but always remember to look up and remember that the Church is not a human organization; it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Ezek 17:22-24; 2 Cor 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34
Can our God really help us? Can we really have hope in the midst of great struggles?
These are the questions being asked and addressed in today's readings - by Ezechiel's community, by the community in Corinth, and by the community under persecution, who first heard Mark's gospel, and by us today.
At the time of the Babylonian captivity, it seemed that the people had no more hope - and that they certainly wondered how God's promises could be fulfilled. Is is possible for God to be faithful? In the midst of this? The power of their captors seems overwhelming. Ezekiel explains that God really is powerful. God can, and will, take a shoot and plant it as their future. What appears to be powerful will be brought down and what is lowly will be raised up. Mary speaks like that in her Magnificat. The child conceived in her womb would be that surprising sign of God's fidelity.
Sr. Rebecca Joseph Ndiuni, Pallottine Missionary Sister, is our first fellow sister from the Maasai tribe, a society known for its commitment to preserving their culture and traditions. According to their customs, women must marry, bear as many children as possible, care for their family and the cattle. From birth, the family of a future husband is paying the dowry of a girlchild and men may have many wives. Hence, Rebecca was not exempted from this tradition, as her people from generation to generation are typical Massai. She comes from a large family; her father has 4 wives and 23 children, among them, Rebecca.
Archbishop Alik Banda of the Archdiocese of Lusaka in Zambia, together with three guests, all priests, namely Fr. Solomon Tembo, Fr. Kabungo and Fr. Bboloko paid a casual visit to the Pallottine Fathers´ community, at Green House, Westwood, on 28 May 2021. Together with the community of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters they had a family gathering of fraternal sharing and thereafter lunch in the Fathers´ community.