Pondering Mk 7:1-9

“You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”

The word of God is continually being “nullified” in our daily life. We call Jesus our teacher; yet we cling to the words of “elders” in preference to the message of Scriptures.  It seems right and just to follow the lessons taught by people we respect in parental roles, or those considered “learned”. It is tradition handed down through the ages.  It’s misuse was shown by the Pharisees.  

In early times, when questioning was rude and slavish obedience was associated with the Commandments, it was natural to think that the parents knew best. It seemed natural then to accept the words of authority. In an age where we feel all grown-up and rebellious toward all things traditional, there remains a tendency to take “celebrities’  words at face value. Despite the obvious burden of  negativity, there remained the overriding compulsion to adopt new and “unorthodox” pronouncements slavishly – ingrained lies the habit of accepting the words of “experts”. A new tradition spawns to enslave the vulnerab

Jesus took on the form of a slave to invite humans into the “Kingdom of God”. He offered to heal humanity of its many diseases, and to liberate it from all forms of slavery and the shackles of soulless traditions. In our pride and stiffness of heart, we turn divine covenants into man-made  burdens, hard to bear: devoid of inner grace. Divinely inspired “Commandments” splintered into hundreds of “laws” that only few understood. Knowledge became a powerful tool, and the servants became masters – each good custom corrupted the world. In Jesus’ presence the disciples did not fear the consequences of breaking the human traditions regarding purifications, fasting and like observances. In his life and teachings  Jesus testified that the Lord does not take pleasure in hollow sacrifices and trivial tinkering with outward acts of celebrations. The Word of God is love; it is the commandment above all other commandments. Acts of piety and purification must be centred around the love for God and neighbour. Failing in that, worship is an empty act that nullifies the Word and stunts spiritual growth.

Lectio Divina: Mark 6:14-29

Pope Francis ( may God bless you papa), stirs up the imagination. Some see in him John the Baptist; some St Francis of Assisi; some as one of the prophets. We can see him as an apostle for the Twenty-first century. His apostolic ascent marks a distinctive change, from the old to a new; a draining of old wine turned sour, and its replacement by new wine in a new flask.  With introspection, in many areas there is a new awareness of what discipleship means. The ocean is filled with souls, in a rich diversity, craving salvation through Christ. Groups under empirical modernism, secularism, LGBT rights, harsh fundamentalism, cyclic poverty, marginalised minorities, find themselves isolated and captives of their consciences. His leadership of the “Mission”, has been remarkable – the poor and the widows have found a voice and a home; shackles made of fake consciences are falling before the light of recovered Mercy.
His teaching is more attuned to modern demands for satisfaction based on logical thinking. While he encourages traditional forms of devotion, he also urges us to think like adults. People find it challenging when he asks us to question the way we pray the Lord’s Prayer. He is really asking the faithful is to understand and pray in a meaningful way when they recite even formulated prayers. When Jesus says we are to adopt a child-like attitude to faith he was not demanding childish blind faith. As we grow older, he calls us to think like grownups and to act as grownups. In his parables he wants us to be filled with wonder at God’s creative force, just like children. And, to understand, with a mature attitude, the great mystery of the kingdom of God.
Each effort at reform is challenged by negativity. People quote scriptures and tradition to protect their tenuously held positions of power and patronage. Like Herod, Antipas, they are willing offer a sacrifice on a silver platter to please the power of Mammon.

The Feast at Cana: A Visualisation

 

Setting: A feast to celebrate the wedding of a couple in the small hamlet somewhere on the dusty road to Jerusalem.

Dramatic Personae: Jesus, Mary, The Bride and Groom, Jesus’ Disciples, Guests, Servants, Feast’s Steward.

Action:

Chorus:  “ Cana, blessed are you for ever! Shifting sands can’t obliterate your presence from history. Never will you be forgotten. Blessed are you for hosting the saviour of the world. In your humble settings he gave the world new wine. Drink to strengthen and fortify humanity on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem.” 

(Jesus is seated at a table at the centre of the stage in animated discussion with the disciples.)

Enter Mary (Left wing): “Son. The wine is running out!”

Jesus, distracted from his conversation with the disciples, has a twinkle in his eye:

“Woman. What has that got to do with you, or, me? My time has not yet come.”

Mary (unperturbed, turns to a servant): “Do whatever he says”. 

Jesus smiles, shrugs, and says to a servant:

“Fill those stone jars for ablutions with fresh water to the brim”.

“Now draw some and take it to the steward for tasting.”

The Steward, sips the new wine drawn from the stone jars. Slightly inebriated:  “ That’s good! Bridegroom, people serve the good wine first. And, when the men have drunk well, then they bring out the cheeper stuff. But, you, you’ve kept the good wine for the last”.

Merriment continues.  

Chorus: “What will these humans satisfy? Not transient joys, nor fruits from the burden of bitter hearts. They were blind;  hardness was in their hearts. A new wine has been given to them. New waters from Meribah, now wine to quench the persistent thirst. It invigorates and refreshes the traveller in the journey through the wilderness of life. He said that he would give living waters; he gave more. He gave us both food and drink for viaticum.    

 

Featured

We Are Thus or Thus

Grace the golden orb 

Beams into primeval flame, 

That shoots

Coded desires

To the rounded mask

(Teeming with ideas 

High aspirations 

And multitudes of emotions).

 

The darts, selectively coupling

with fraternal correlatives, 

Slip to the darker side. 

At measured pace

The orb rotates

Capturing to itself a myriad marriages. 

At appointed point

There’s a stop and stillness; 

Obverse stands nakedly, 

In bright rays 

Illuminated,

A meshwork 

of Cause and Affects. 

 

Transformed by appetites

For gold, frankincense and myrrh,

The orb dull-drifts to recesses of darkness;

But is saved by the unions transcendental

That counter pull to warmth of the primordial Source-

Directed  by its own discernments, 

Attractions

Selections

Volitions, 

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Peter’s Principle

Drippingly

Awashed 

in glittering ripples

I wade deeper by paces

Unmindfully,

As the clouds grow darker.

Below the surface 

Jocund schools of fish

And denizens of the deep

Approach,

Curiosity sweeping aside inhibitions

While

Darting between swaying weeds 

And shelter of rockery.

The waters get deeper and darker,

Darker still the sunless wells,

Threatening 

Compelling curiosity;

The weeds too seem changed,

Stronger 

They menacingly

Wave intruders away.

Gasping,

I break the troubled waters,

As darkness covers the sky.

In Desperation

I cry,

“Help me Lord, I sink!”

Helped by his firm,gentle grip,

I surface;

The clouds drift away,

The sea’s calm and peaceful again.

Floating Water Hyacinths

Splashed in noon-time glitter,

Opaque waters run deep.

Rocked on current’s crest

Coifed 

in purple,

Reclining 

on green leaves,

Sweet hyacinth,

You gently pass on, 

Indifferent

To the host’s restlessness

Or, inclement weather.

On the bank, 

An ageing bark

Stands tall,

Mocking your rootlessness;

Himself anchored,

His heavy foliage 

Covering 

Brown scars,

Brooding reminders,

Foreboding a season of smoke 

and red hot furnaces.

You?

No dark thoughts

Of inevitability.

You just bask in the moment’s

Tranquility,

Absorbed

With constant blue above you.

You shrug and pass along

Past green glades,

Even stony shores,

Untouched.

Never a thought

Of pitched forks, confluences,

Or,

Open mouthed eternity.

Blessed in your own rootlessness.