Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday word, 29 May 2007

8th Tuesday of the Year (29 May 2007) Sir 35.1-12; Ps 50; Mk 10. 28-31
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Of the Year

The liturgical calendar revolves around seasons: Advent/Christmas; Lent/Easter. The largest portion of the liturgical year has no proper season. This portion of weeks is accurately called "Of the Year." (The German Catholics call this portion the "Cycle of the Year.") Nothing is ordinary about the time between the two arrivals of Jesus: his first advent into human history; and his second when he returns in glory to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him, as the Letter to the Hebrews reminded us Ascension Sunday. The calendar is in service of the kingdom.

During the Weekdays of the Year (as opposed to those of Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter seasons) from this Monday thru June 11, on weekdays which are not solemnities or feasts, we will hear from Mark’s gospel.

[For any planners among us: from June 12 through September 1 we’ll hear Matthew’s gospel; from September 3 through December 1 from Luke’s gospel. On December 2 we will enter Advent with its own gospel readings.]

Today is an opportunity to recall two things about Mark’s purpose. First, Mark portrayed Jesus as the Strong Man, the one who could enter the house of Satan and bind him. The image reminds us that Jesus established a new house, that is, a new way of being.

The second thing is that Mark used the word gospel as a witness to the Christian communities of his day and place not as a precise account of the life of Jesus. The Spirit of Jesus shaped the individuals and households, indeed the entire household of faith in Mark’s first generation after the resurrection of Jesus. The Spirit, who makes Jesus more powerfully present in his resurrection, makes Jesus’ human life of responding to God more important than details of his life. It is to risen Jesus we turn ourselves.

Living lives shaped by heeding God’s desires, by charity, by practicing God’s justice cheerfully and in a spirit of joy is how we exercise the new strength Jesus won for us. Christian living forgoes a house, to use Jesus image, and gains many, an entire household of faith and new life even now.

Wiki-image of the German liturgical calendar is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Germany. Wiki-image from the Rossano Gospels Folio of St. Mark is in the public domain.

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