Jesus isn’t asking for your vote: He is pouring out his life for you, in mercy and grace

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Oct. 21, 2012
Isa 53:10-11; Ps 33; Heb 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45

  • Five weeks ago, we heard the first time in the Gospel of Mark when Jesus told his disciples about his coming Passion (8:31). Peter had just confessed that Jesus was the Messiah; and then, after Jesus tells them that he will suffer and die and rise again, Peter begins to rebuke him.
  • Four weeks ago, we heard the second time that he told them about his Passion (9:31). That time, they were too afraid to ask him any questions, but instead took to discussing among themselves who was the greatest.
  • And in our Gospel reading today, Jesus has just predicted his Passion a third time, in greater detail than before. And how do they respond? James and John come to him and ask him for a favor: that in his glory they might sit one at his right and the other at his left.

They don’t seem to be getting the message! (more…)

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¿Qué entra en y mancha el corazón?

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XXII Domingo Ordinario, Año B: 2 Septiembre 2012
Dt 4, 1-2.6-8; Sal 14; St 1, 17-18.21-22.27; Mc 7, 1-8.14-15.21-23

Después de nuestros cinco domingos en el Evangelio según San Juan, nuestra lectura de hoy viene del Evangelio según San Marcos. Y oímos que, poco después de que nuestro Señor Jesús alimentó milagrosamente a los 5000, ahora está en medio de una discusión con los fariseos y los escribas sobre unas cuestiones de la pureza ritual: del lavado de manos habitual, y también de los leyes rituales sobre la alimentación.

Y notamos que San Marcos hace una pausa para explicar a sus lectores, en el mundo griego y romano, qué eran estos costumbres judíos. Y nosotros también necesitamos esa explicación—porque la motivación de este lavado no era higiénico; no era para mantener la limpieza física y no propagar las enfermedades. No, fue para la pureza ritual, para mantenerse aprobado y sin mancha ante los ojos de Dios. (more…)

What enters and defiles the heart?

This is a translation of the Spanish homily that I preached on this Sunday.
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Sept. 2, 2012
Deut 4:1-2, 6-8; Ps 15; James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

After five weeks in the Gospel of John, our Gospel reading today comes from the Gospel according to Mark. And we hear that, shortly after our Lord Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5000, he is now involved in an argument with the Pharisees and the scribes about some questions of ritual purity: about the customary washing of hands, and also the ritual food laws.

And we notice that St. Mark stops to explain to his readers, in the Greek and Roman world, just what these Jewish customs were. And we need that explanation too—because the motivation for this washing was not hygienic, or maintaining physical cleanliness so as not to spread disease. Rather, it was for ritual purity, for keeping oneself approved and undefiled in the sight of God. (more…)