Friday, June 12, 2009

God continues to do 'new things' in our lives

Here are some comments, insights and observations about the readings offered during the Mass for 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“…for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here.” (Corinthians 5:14-17)

• As we begin reading a selection of extracts from the Gospel of Mark, on this 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are reminded that God is constantly doing “new things” in our lives. We have seen this at Easter, with the Resurrection of Jesus. We have seen it at Pentecost, when the apostles started preaching in different languages. And we see it for the Church today, through the 2nd reading, which reminds us to look beyond ourselves and instead focus on others.
• When we do think about others, rather than ourselves, we can appreciate even more the theme chosen by Catholic Mission for this year’s Church Appeal: ‘Our salvation is bound together’. In the readings of today, we see how the disciples come to appreciate that their salvation, and well-being, is inextricably linked to their mentor, Jesus. He protects them by calming the storm. They, in turn, realize how much they rely on him. People who are helped by Catholic Mission share a similar relationship with those who seek to lend them support.
• Of course, being less self-absorbed or less focused on our own wants and needs, is not easy. In some ways, the pressure to ‘have this’, or to ‘possess that’, is a sign that we are constantly surrounded by storms of temptation and desire. It is not easy to follow Christ, especially when it involves putting ourselves out, for the sake of others.
• Job discerns the challenge of being a person of faith in “the heart of the tempest”. Similarly, the disciples find themselves confronted by a storm and then having to experience the humiliation of being rebuked for their own lack of faith.
• Engaging in Mission is all about helping calm the storms that rage around those less fortunate than ourselves; it’s about bringing peace and hope. when others find themselves swamped; it’s about answering the cries of the needy, as we hear in the Responsorial Psalm.
• For some people, embarking on mission means taking a leaf out of Jesus’ book and “crossing over to the other side” (see the Gospel). For those who serve as missionaries overseas, they have recognized that to be truly effective in evangelizing to others, they have had to step away from their comfort zone. Catholic Mission makes it somewhat easier for those who take this leap of faith.
• This weekend, as Catholic Mission conducts its annual appeal, we pray you will join with us in helping do a ‘ new thing’ across more than 165 countries. As it reminds us in the Responsorial Psalm: the love of the Lord is everlasting. Your donation is evidence of this fact.

Useful references I drew upon in preparing these notes and comments included Break Open the Word (Year B – 2009). A useful website you also might like to explore are (click on the relevant date).

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