October 11, 2015
Rev. Jean-Paul Labrie,
Today we continue reading the Gospel of Mark from where we left
off last Sunday. Last Sunday our Gospel told how Jesus was tested
by the Pharisees about the requirements for divorce. Recall that
these chapters come from the second part of Mark's Gospel, which
chronicles the beginning of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem.
In today's Gospel, an unnamed man approaches Jesus and
about what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replies that one
must follow the commandments of the Law of Moses. The man
acknowledges that he has observed all of these since his childhood.
Jesus then says that only one thing is lacking: he must give his
possessions to the poor and follow Jesus. The man leaves in
sadness, and Mark tells us that this is because he had many
The belief in resurrection and eternal life was a relatively recent development in Jewish thought at Jesus' time, and it wasn't shared by everyone. The Pharisees taught that there would be a resurrection from the dead; the Sadducees did not share this belief. Jesus taught that there would be a final judgment for everyone and eternal life (the Kingdom of God) for believers.
Jesus makes two requirements of the wealthy man who approaches him. First, he must give up his possessions. Throughout history, some Christians have taken this literally. Their example witnesses to us a radical commitment to the Gospel of Jesus. Some have read this as a particular requirement directed to this specific individual. Still others have sought to explain the meaning intended by the word possessions as those things that prevent one from following Jesus. Christians have generally understood that at the least, following Jesus requires that believers hold material possessions loosely and remain vigilant against seeking security in accumulating possessions.
The second requirement Jesus makes of this man is the invitation that Jesus extends to all would-be disciples: “follow me.” Jesus very much wants this man to be his disciple. We believe that the Christian faith is one in which each believer is in a personal relationship with Jesus. Just as this Gospel tells us that Jesus loves the man and is sad when he departs, so too, Jesus loves us and is saddened when we are unable to follow him.
We see in this Gospel reading another example of Mark's pattern, which shows Jesus offering further elaboration about his message and meaning to his disciples. To his disciples, Jesus laments the challenges faced by those who are rich in following him and entering the Kingdom of God. In reply to the disciples' astonishment at the strictness of the standard that Jesus speaks about today, Jesus reminds his disciples that nothing is impossible with God. Salvation is determined by our ability to rely completely upon God.
Peter replies to Jesus by boasting that the disciples have already given up everything. Jesus acknowledges that those who have given up everything for the sake of the Gospel will be rewarded. This reward begins now, in the new community that one will gain in this life, and will continue in the eternal age to come. Our personal relationship with Jesus is also an invitation to the community of faith, the Church.
Used with permission
Rev. Alex Antony Maria Doss, HGN
Rev. Kyle L. Doustou
Pat Collins, Mother of Senator Susan Collins, Reflects on Attending Pope Francis’ Historic Address to Congress
September 26, 2015
PORTLAND---“It made me feel closer to Jesus, like if I was listening to Him, Pope Francis’ address would be what He was saying. The Holy Father touched people’s hearts and changed some lives. It made me so proud to be a Catholic.”
The powerful feeling was one of the many things that Pat Collins took with her from her front row seat in the gallery on Thursday as Pope Francis became the first Pope to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
Each congressional member was issued one ticket for a guest of their choosing to observe the historic moment. For Senator Susan Collins, the choice was easy. Her mother, Pat, is the former head of the Catholic Charities Maine board and has served as a director of religious education at Holy Rosary Parish in Caribou.
On Friday, after returning home to Maine from Washington, D.C., Pat reflected on the overhwelming experience, the chance encounters that illustrated to her the true impact of the Holy Father’s words, and what she will always remember about the day.
“It was wonderful. Up in the gallery, you would see cardinals, monks, nuns, and lay people,” said Pat. “Almost everybody was Catholic, but his remarks were for all Americans, not just Catholics.”
Security measures befit the arrival of a Pope making an unprecedented speech. Public safety officials lined halls and personal items were kept to an absolute minimum.
“There were no electronic devices of any kind allowed in,” said Pat. “I had my identification and tissues!”
The heightened security added to the excitement, already at a near fever pitch, for an address described as one of the toughest tickets to obtain in history.
Senator Collins was among the small bipartisan group of lawmakers who accompanied Pope Francis into the congressional chamber (picture included below).
“Just amazing,” said Pat about her daughter’s personal encounter with the Holy Father. “She was thrilled. Some of the other people who joined her to welcome him were speechless when he first arrived. They couldn’t even talk.”
When Pope Francis entered the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol, the crowd erupted. When he began to speak, a silence fell over the floor of the House as the audience of lawmakers, top military brass, Supreme Court justices, and Cabinet members listened intently.
“Everybody hung on every word. It was awe-inspiring,” said Pat. “The response to the Holy Father’s speech was so warm. There were many standing ovations and just so much applause. I was impressed with his delivery. It was calm, measured, and strong, yet pastoral.”
After the Pope’s address, curious about how others were impacted by his words and presence, Pat asked several people what they liked best about the speech.
“Every single person I talked to had a different answer,” said Pat.
At lunch, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told Pat that he would always remember Pope Francis’ call to “be one big family and take care of each member of our family.”
Dr. Christopher Puto, the president of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and the guest of Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, sat next to Pat at the address. For him, it was the four examples of Americans that Pope Francis had cited for furthering the common good: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
“I also spoke to a Protestant woman who told me that the Pope’s comments were making her re-examine her position on the death penalty,” said Pat. “Those are just a few examples. Literally everyone I talked to had a different answer.”
And for Pat herself?
“It’s him. That’s what I’ll remember best. His presence. I think he is so welcoming and encourages openness and dialogue. He has been wonderful for the Church, and I think he is just what the Church needs now. He made a profound impact on everyone. He really did.”
DEC. 8, 2015 - NOV. 20, 2016
The Holy Year
Dec. 8, 2015
the Feast of the
Sunday, Nov. 20,
Our Lord Jesus
Christ, King of
the Universe and living face of the
Father's mercy. The logo and the motto together provide a fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year is all about. The motto Merciful Like the Father from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36, serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure.
Most Catholics experience the faith through a single cultural lens. Yet people all around the world live and imagine it in a rich diversity of ways. Catholics & Cultures is a growing, changing chronicle of the role of Catholicism among the people and within the cultures where it is lived.