Category Archives: The Holy Gospel

The Holy Gospel: November 25, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 18-33-37 Meditation:  “You Say So” Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus largely revolves around his interest in him.  What seems like a generic question, “Are you the King of the Jews?” comes out of the clear implication that if Jesus … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 18, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 13:1-8 Meditation:  “Not So Fast” Like the original disciples, we can be quickly and easily taken with impressive things.  The great buildings with their massive stones caught the attention of one of Jesus’ followers.  It seemed as if … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 11, 2012 (Year B)

Read: Mark 12:38-44 Meditation:  “The Great Contrast” Artists often convey their message through contrast.  In today’s lesson, Jesus uses the same technique to show us what true religion is. It’s not walking around in long robes, being greeted in the … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: November 4, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 12:28-34 Meditation:  “Right on the Border” That’s the way Eugene Peterson translates “you’re not far from the Kingdom of God” in The Message.  His rendering caught my attention, and has stuck in my mind. What was it that … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 28, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 10:46-52 Meditation:  “The Way is Open” How many times have you told yourself that calling out to God about something would be a “bother” to God?  How many times have you allowed someone to convince you that you … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: Octobber 21, 2012 (Year B)

Read: Mark 10:35-45 Meditation:  “Oops!” Jesus repeats the forecast of his pending crucifixion and resurrection in the verses skipped over in getting to today’s lesson. But no sooner had he used the encounter with the man in 10:17-31 to restate … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 14, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 10:17-31 Meditation:  “Two Questions” Today’s passage unfolds in relation to two questions: one asked by the man who came to Jesus, and one asked by Jesus’ disciples.  I have never felt that I fully understand this passage, which … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: October 7, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 10: 2-16 Meditation:  “No Place for Pretense” As Jesus moved increasingly toward Jerusalem, he had little time or energy for putting up with artificial or superficial religion.  There was no room for pretense.  Whenever he encountered it (whether … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 30, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 9:38-50 Meditation: “The Paradox of Generosity” Today’s lesson seems to go from one extreme to another—from leniency with those who are not “inside the circle” of apostolic fellowship, to severity with respect to self-discipline.  The first part of … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 23, 2012 (Year B)

Read: Mark 9:30-37 Meditation:  “Understanding the Lineup” Whether its traveling or shopping, there’s something in us that wants to be at the head of the line when the doors open.  Competitiveness flares up among an otherwise quiet group when it’s … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 16, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 8:27-38 Meditation:  “From Confession to Call” When I visited the Holy Land, one of the most moving places for me was Caesarea Philippi, the place where today’s lesson occurred. I have always viewed this exchange between Jesus and … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 9, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 7: 24-37 Meditation:  “Everyone is Eligible” The two stories which comprise this week’s lectionary reading combine to tell us that no one is excluded from the mercy of Christ.  The first story takes place in Tyre and Sidon; … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: September 2, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Meditation:  “Beyond Appearances” Jesus pulls no punches in this week’s lesson.  In what must have been a scathing denouncement of superficial spirituality, he made it clear that reality is born from within.  It’s possible to … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: August 26, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 6:61-69 Meditation:  “The Saddest Question in the World” The previous weeks’ lectionary readings culminate in today’s passage.  The challenge has been extended.  The metaphors have been laid out.  The message is clear. And the response is…..”many of his … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: August 19, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 6:51-58 Meditation:  “Who Does He Think He Is?” The current lectionary readings are taking us deeper and deeper into metaphor and mystery, and that’s more than the folks who demand literalism and explanations can handle. Don’t forget—the religious … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: August 12, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 6:41-51 Meditation:  “Ordinary Holiness” Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders for a number of reasons.  In today’s lesson it’s because he was “merely Jesus the son of Joseph” (v. 42 The Living Bible). In other words, he … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: August 5, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 6:24-35 Meditation:  “The Gift or the Giver?” The lectionary is asking us to deal with a crucial aspect of the Gospel:  the temptation to create the faith on our terms.  Last week, we saw that the crowd wanted … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: July 29, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 6:1-15 Meditation:  “Go Up Higher” Today’s lesson is the familiar story of the feeding of the 5,000.  Because it is an event that we normally explore from the vantage point of the feeding itself, I have decided to … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: July 22, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 6:30-34 Meditation:  “Long-Haul Discipleship” If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that this is one of the passages which I believe is pivotal for our discipleship.  I’ve studied it a long time and found it … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: July 15, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 6:14-29 Meditation: “Paying With Your Life” The gospel would not be realistic if it bypassed the note of martyrdom.  There are at least two lessons to be taken away from this story. First, we must include the possibility … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: July 8, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 6:1-13 Meditation:  “Formed in the Fire”  (1) We would all prefer a spiritual formation that takes place on a cruise than in a crucible.  But that’s not the way it is.  In today’s gospel lesson, and again in … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: July 1, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 5:21-43 Meditation:  “Turmoil!” This section in Marks’ gospel could be titled with the one word:  turmoil. Turmoil between Jesus and religious leaders.  Turmoil between Jesus and his family.  Turmoil between Jesus and his disciples.  And today, turmoil between … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 24, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 4:25-31 Meditation:  “Necessary Suffering” If you follow this blog, you know that I have been blessed by reading Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward.  Jeannie gave it to me as a gift, and I am so glad she did. Today’s … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 17, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 4:26-34 Meditation:  “Live With the Mystery” The Christian life is counterintuitive.  We live in an age when we want to “know” as much as we can.  We are accustomed to asking for answers, and (most of the time) … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 10, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 3:20-35 Meditation:  Common Ties You’re probably familiar with the television programs that trace the ancestry of selected persons.  Almost always, some interesting predecessor or fact surfaces in the exploration.  Most of us have an interesting heritage if we … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: June 3, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 3:1-17 Meditation:  A Gold Star in God’s Window Jeannie and I have had the opportunity to watch Ken Burn’s masterful film series “The War,” on PBS.  Like Burns’ other films, this one captures the subject in ways that … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: May 27, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 15:26-27; 16:4-15 Meditation:  Jesus Puts a Face on God Pentecost Sunday is a good time to focus on one aspect of the significance of the incarnation; namely, Jesus puts a face on God.  Jesus said it: “He who … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: May 20, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 17:6-19 Meditation:  “Christ is Praying for You!” Jesus had just declared victory (16:33), and the very next thing he did was to pray.  In many respects this is the Lord’s prayer; it is surely his high-priestly prayer. As … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: May 13, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 15:9-17 Meditation:  “From a Philosophy to a Photograph” If Jesus had said, “Love one another,” he would have said no more than philosophers and sages before him had already said.  He would have added nothing to what the … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: May 6, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 15:1-8 Meditation:  “How Close Can We Get to God?” Over the years of my ministry, I have been asked this question (or ones like it) many times.  Some ask with a belief that God is “somewhere out there”—far … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: April 29, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 10:11-18 Meditation:  “Good Shepherds” If you have followed this blog for a while, you have seen previous posts in which I have commended the image of “shepherd” as a much-needed model for ministry.  Today’s lesson focuses our attention … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: April 22, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 24:36-48 Meditation:  What an “Open Mind” Really Is We like to use the term “open-mindedness” as a sign of our personal health and our communal hospitality.  We use the term as way of saying we are nice people, … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: April 15, 2012 (Year B)

Read;  John 20:19-31 Meditation:  “When It’s Hard to Believe” I think Thomas has gotten bad press.  In some ways, he was the most honest apostle of the lot.  He was not about to claim an experience he was not having, … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 25, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 12:20-33 Meditation:  “Looking at the End” Jesus gave his final public discourse in today’s lesson.  “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified,” he said (v. 23).  We will never know what was going … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 18, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 3:14-21 Meditation:  “Lift Up Christ!” I believe the Christian mission can be summarized in the three words of today’s title:  lift up Christ.  It’s exactly what Jesus told us to do, and his instruction carries with it a … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 11, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 2:13-22 Meditation:  “Take These Things Away!” John was inspired to put the cleansing of the temple at the beginning of his gospel to make the point that Jesus’ life and ministry was going to involve getting rid of … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: March 4, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 8:31-38 Meditation:  “When Religion Changes” Every New Testament scholar I know sees the time that Jesus spent with his disciples at Caesarea Philippi as the “turning point”—not only for Jesus himself, but also for the apostles.  Jesus described … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 26, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:9-15 Meditation:  “Now Hear This!” We only read of God speaking outloud a few times in the Bible.  This is one of those times.  We trust the “whispers” of God through the Spirit; we must pay attention to … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 19, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 9:2-9 Meditation:  “The Voice” If you’ve been following this blog, you know I approach biblical texts and other literature trying to “find something new” for the edification of our faith.   But I also think there are times when … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 12, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:40-45 Meditation:  “No Doubt About It” There are passages in the Bible which set the record straight.  This is one of them.  It takes what we often think and compares it with what Jesus always thinks. The leper … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: February 5, 2012 (Year B)

Read: Mark 1:29-39 Meditation:  “Extend Your Hand” In his Tractate on Mark’s Gospel 2, Jerome noted that Peter’s mother-in-law had to offer her hand to Jesus in order for him to take it.  Jesus did not force himself on her, … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: January 29, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:21-28 Meditation:  “Seeing Is Not Always Believing” There was a time in my life when I thought that if I could just “present Jesus” well enough, something would click in the audience, and people would flock to him.  … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: January 22, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:14-20 Meditation: “Repent” I wonder why we tend to go to the extremes when we are exploring biblical concepts.  Take repentance, for example.  Our minds can quickly go to “white-knuckle resistance” as the revival choir sings the closing … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: January 15, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  John 1: 43-51 Meditation:  “Discovery through Experience” When Nathaniel asked Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”, he was approaching religion the way many still do—namely, attempting to get answers before making a commitment. But the door into … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: January 8, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:4-11 Meditation:  “Many Baptisms” We often hear that baptism is a “one time event,” and I understand theologically what that view means and represents. But today’s passage, coupled with a sermon from Gregory of Nazianzus (Oration 39), expands … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: January 1, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 2:22-40 Meditation:  “Presented to the Lord” There’s no better way to begin the new year than to “present” ourselves to the Lord.  What Mary and Joseph did with Jesus, we can do with ourselves and with our families.  … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: December 25, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 2:1-20 Meditation:  “As Told To Us” When I come to familiar times in the Christian year, I pray to find “something new” in my reading of the Gospel lessons.  So, I approached the Gospel lesson for Christmas Day … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: December 18, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 1:26-38 Meditation:  Mary, Model of the Holy Life I believe the Reformation was of God, but I do not believe it was perfect.  We lost some things through the turmoil.  One of them was a proper devotion to … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: December 11, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  John 1:6-8; 19-28 Meditation:  The Paradox of True Greatness For the most part, John the Baptist was seen by the general public as a true prophet—the first in Israel for about 400 years.  St. John Chrysostom pointed out in … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: December 4, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:1-8 Meditation: “The Beginning of the Gospel” Sometimes in a retreat, I will use this passage to ask a question, “Who was your John the Baptist?” To this day, I have never had anyone say, “I don’t believe … Continue reading

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