In Chapter 13, Paul and Barnabas are told to go to on a mission (v2). How did they get this mission? How was it that God spoke to them and they knew that they had a specific mission to accomplish? They prayed. They worshiped and listened. They also fasted.
Some people may say that fasting is something done in the past; that Jesus would not want us to fast any more. But here we see at least six believers fasting. The fruit of this fasting and worship is clarity in God’s will. The fasting was a gift of self to God. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, worship is now an act of thanksgiving for His goodness and mercy towards us. When united to worship, this fasting takes on the disposition of the worship that it accompanies. Gift giving assumes a relationship between the giver and the one receiving the gift. So the first Catholics saw themselves as having a relationship with Jesus. Continue reading
El Espíritu empujó a Jesús al desierto. Es éste un lugar ambivalente: prueba y purificación, tentación y encuentro con Dios y con uno mismo. La estancia de Jesús en el desierto tal como la relata Marcos tuvo su lado tenebroso, Satanás y las alimañas, pero también su gloria y su luz, pues “los ángeles le servían”. En el desierto pudo Jesús vivir su iluminación particular sobre la meta y los medios para anunciar el Reinado de Dios. Jesús, triunfa y la causa de Dios se impone sobre lo meramente humano. El evangelio de Marcos propugna un cristianismo más radical, más conforme con los orígenes, se centra en la esencia del evangelio, como dice el Papa Francisco. Es un evangelio exigente: quiere acabar con las disculpas de que “es lo que siempre se ha hecho”, “lo que todos hacen”, “mañana lo haré”… Necesitamos pasar por la situación de desierto para reforzar nuestra experiencia de Dios. Jesús salió también reforzado en el desierto. Continue reading
Q. Why do we say that there are forty days of Lent? When you count all the days from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, there are 46.
A. It might be more accurate to say that there is the “forty day fast within Lent.” Historically, Lent has varied from a week to three weeks to the present configuration of 46 days. The forty day fast, however, has been more stable. The Sundays of Lent are certainly part of the Time of Lent, but they are not prescribed days of fast and abstinence.
Q. So does that mean that when we give something up for Lent, such as candy, we can have it on Sundays? …
Chapter twelve accounts the death of the First Apostle James and the arrest of Peter. Herod wants to be popular among the people and has many guards to guard him. The biblke states that there were four squads of four guards. Doing the math, that means sixteen guards were guarding Peter to keep him in jail. He was shakled by “double chains”. Two chains are holding Peter in place and two guards are right next to him on each side. Two guards are right outside the door and the others are about the place. Sounds like he is heavily guarded. Does this have anything to do with the resurrection of Jesus and only the two at Jesus’ tomb? Who knows. Either way, Peter getting out is not a very likely prospect.