Thursday, January 17, 2013

dive right in or out

Hebrews 3:7-14; PS 95 If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts; Mark 1:40-45

Again, it is interesting to note how quickly the gospel of Mark has Jesus getting right into the mix of things.  Mark's gospel skips right over the infant narratives.  There is no genealogies either.  There is no joyous proclamation.  Marks gets right to the point. 

John the Baptist makes a cameo appearance doing his thing, but quickly the lens focuses in on Jesus.  Jesus, as they say, hits the ground running, full speed. 

Jesus dives right in.  So much happens within the first few verses of chapter one that without saying much already we know this Jesus doesn't mess around.  He is calling disciples, casting out demons, curing the sick, healing the lepers and all in a good day's work. 

Reminds me of a quote: it is easier to sit up and take notice then to get up and take action.  Jesus is definitely a man of action.   There is no procrastination in Christ. 

What about us? How often do we sit up and take notice yet fail to get up and take action. 

If anything, Mark's gospel reminds us that we should not be afraid to follow Jesus's lead and  jump right in and make a big splash.

Give the people something to talk about.

Here are the words of St. Paul from today's first reading, "Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today," so that none of you may grow harden by the deceit of sin.  We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end."

Here are a few words from St. Anthony of the Desert

"If we live with the picture of death always before our eyes, we will not sin. The apostle's words tell us that we should so awaken in the morning as though we would not live to evening, and so fall asleep as if there were to be no awakening. For our life is by nature uncertain and is daily meted out to us by Providence. If we are convinced of this and live each day as the apostle suggests, then we will not fall into sin; no desire will enslave us, no anger move us, no treasure bind us to earth; we will await death with unfettered hearts"

St. Anthony, at the ripe young age of 18, left all behind and entered the desert to follow more closely Christ.  In some sense, he dove right in by diving right out of the world and society.  In the desert he embarked on a life of solitude.  HE stayed in the desert until he was 105 years old. 

It is one thing to get hyped up about entering the desert but a whole other reality when it comes to staying for the long haul: perseverance is the name of the game. 

We can learn a lot fro St. Anthony.  How quickly we change our minds with the changing of fashion!  Yet, Anthony is steady and true. 

This is where our faith truly begins to be refined in the action of perseverance on the soul. 

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