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Showing posts with label Miracles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miracles. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Stolen


Pierce the heavy veil
Pass the moment mute, miracles
Stolen from a dream

Kneel at the altar
Lift prayers to Aphrodite
Mother of muses

Longing to be touched
Wet souls washed in starlight, tears
Fall in the ether

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Homily – Mark 5:21-43 ©


The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.07.01


Faith and Power

The Gospel for today is a lesson on faith.

It is steeped in stories of divine power and magic, but it is really about faith, faith which means trust.

It is a call to all people who suffer, it is an encouragement to hope, for to believe in the coming of a better day.

It is easy to read this narrative and make the story about Jesus, about his power. This is not the right way to read it.

It is unlikely that such miracles ever even occurred. We live in a world where disease and illness afflict us, where death occurs, all of it in accordance with the laws of nature, laws which God established for the good of all creation.

God does not abrogate God’s own law.

What the gospel intends, is to encourage us to have faith, faith in the notion that everything we suffer is a part of God’s divine plan, and that plan includes our salvation, which means an end to all suffering, for all time.

The gospel writers used the stories of miracles, and healing to convey their faith.

The narrative has two layers.

It is important that we push through the surface, go past the stories of divine power and miracle making, and get to the story of faith, the trust that washes us clan and makes us well, even in the midst of our pain.


Little Girl, I Tell You to Get Up

When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.
 
Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she spent all she had without being any the better for it, in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. ‘If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself ‘I shall be well again.’ And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. ‘My daughter,’ he said ‘your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.’
 
While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, ‘Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble?’ But Jesus had overheard this remark of theirs and he said to the official, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.


13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Challenge


To face the unknown
Standing apart, building walls
Then the senses burst

The dreams of youth, drag
Eroding paradigms fail
Withering and weak

The disaffected
Sleep in a field of visions
Buried memories

The violence of birth
Miracles of love and pain
The struggle for life

People cannot live
Bound by hope, as if fated
Can’t be whole and free

Turning with the Norn
A dance with destiny, slip
The self is dissolved

The world is spinning
The future is in motion
There is nothing fixed

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Juke 7:11-17 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.06.05

Miracles and Magic and Raising the Dead

Jesus went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people. When he was near the gate of the town it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her. ‘Do not cry’ he said. Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you to get up.’ And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying, ‘A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people.’ And this opinion of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside.

(NJB)

What is Prophecy?

What is the message that the authors of Luke’s Gospel are giving us; that magic and miracle making, that wonder working and acts of power are equivalent, perhaps greater than works of the prophets of old.

None of the authors of Luke’s Gospel ever met Jesus. At least half a century had passed from the time of Jesus’ death, to the time that Luke’s Gospel was written. By the time this Gospel was written; Palestine (Judea and Samaria) were completely under Roman rule, Jerusalem had been ruined, the temple destroyed, and the population scattered across the Empire in the second great Diaspora.

There were no witnesses to the events Luke describes; the raising of the widow’s son. No one to give the story of the reaction of the crowd. The story itself is a fabrication, it is a myth, it never happened, but it became a part of the tradition and was handed down as evidence that Jesus had both great compassion and great power.

There is little insight to be gained from this reading regarding the teachings of Jesus. Let me suggest this, the raising of the dead man at Nain, was not a physical miracle, it was the assertion of the notion that widow should not be left alone, with no husband, and no son to protect her. The resurrection of the widow’s son is a metaphor not a miracle, it means that in place of the woman’s son, the Church will not step up. The church will pick up the familial obligations for the woman, to protect her and keep her in life.

This is the role of the church, as a guardian of the meek, as a caretaker. This is a miracle, because it is in contradistinction to the common way of life, which would have forced the widow out into the margins of society.

God does not violate the laws of nature; not once, not ever. If we are going to accept this story as a part of the Gospel we must find a way of reading it that rules out the supernatural. Because there is no such thing as magic.

Now listen, this reading does just that. It is not that the widow’s son died, and returned to life. It is that Jesus appointed the church to care for the widow, in place of her dead son; this keeps her in life, and this is what puts Jesus directly in the tradition of the prophets, not the miracle making, the wonder working, the acts of power, and the magic, because these are fantasies. It is his work as an advocate for Justice, for community, and compassion that make him into powerful prophet that he was.


9th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of John 2:1-11 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.01.17 (Sunday)

Miracles as Apologetics

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said; ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him. (NJB)

Jesus, the Second Son

Where is the truth in this myth?

Jesus was not magic.

God is not a miracle worker.

Read literally; this story is a lie. Jesus never turned water into wine. It is likely that the entire event never happened.

There was no wedding at Cana.

Mary did not call on Jesus to work wonders. People did not follow Jesus because they saw him to wonderful tricks.

So what is happening here? It is a narrative regarding the reversal of expectations.

It may be a story about Jesus and John the Baptist. It may be an apology of sorts; a defense of Jesus given to the followers of John.

John came first, but John was the lesser of the two. The people might have expected the best to come first, like the wine at the wedding, but like the stories of the Patriarchs, the second son was favored.

This is the best understanding. The Wedding of Cana is not a miracle story, it is a parable. It intends to convey this simple truth; Jesus does not carry the mantle of John, he carries the promise of the covenant.


2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time