Daily Bread

2 Sm 24:2, 9-17; Ps 32; Mk 6:1-6

A prophet is not without honor except in his native place….
A therapist friend confessed that his son preferred to tell his troubles to a particular attendant at a nearby gas station. That’s a perfect example of how children welcome the wisdom of a stranger and ignore the very same advice from their parents. Likewise, often congregations hear better when a visiting preacher takes the pulpit. The Gospel text says, “He was amazed at their lack of faith.” There’s hope though. If we do as we say others should do, if we practice what we preach, it will be noticed, remembered and very possibly imitated.
Help us to be open to truth wherever we encounter it and be an expression of the truth for others, we pray.

2 Sm 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30-19:3; Ps 86; Mk 5:21-43

Daughter, your faith has saved you ….
So many lovely details: the woman, whom Jesus calls daughter, and the only woman so addressed by Jesus in the Gospels, has suffered for 12 years which is the very age of the dying and much-loved daughter of Jairus. Jairus is a synagogue official who would likely have turned away the unclean woman, the very one Jesus heals and, in so doing, keeps Jairus and his daughter waiting. It seems that Jesus is equally available to the rejected and the much-loved. We should be, too.
Jesus, thank you for the grace of your presence; when it is time, allow us to reveal your face to another, we pray.

2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13; Ps 3; Mk 5:1-20

Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.
In today’s readings, David and Jesus are each confronted by men who are, one might say, unhinged. One is possessed by so much grief and anger that he meets David and his heavily-armed soldiers with only stones and curses. Jesus encounters a man raging against the chains and the demons that bind him. In both cases, these violent ones are treated with compassion. David allows his attacker to live, explaining that God may have made him that way. Jesus exorcises the demoniac of his legion of demons and tells him to return to his family and praise God. If social media is any indication, there are a lot of raging folks out there. Perhaps we can take a lesson from David and Jesus. Meeting fire with fire is a surefire way to burn up the world. Let us tell the truth, but calmly!
Gentle Jesus, make me an instrument of your peace.

2 Sm 12:1-7a, 10-17; Ps 51; Mk 4:35-41

"Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"
In times of war, famine or disaster, we say that God surely is absent. How else can such horror and ugliness go unchecked? We assume God has abandoned us. When the disciples cry out to awaken Jesus, they reveal this mindset. All they see is immediate danger. The Lord has left them to fend for themselves. When we’re powerless we cannot comprehend a God, whose love cannot be separated from us. We drown in doubt. When we question the Lord’s commitment to us, we're not even crying out to a sleeping Jesus; rather, we’re lashing out at what we imagine is an empty stern. There's no question about the Lord’s commitment to us. Our great peril lies in our inability to recognize that we're the ones who've abandoned ship.
Steadfast Savior, strengthen my faith so that I may reach for you in times of trouble.

2 Tm 1:1-8; Ps 96; Mk 4:26-34

With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
A good rule for any public speaker is to know the audience. Jesus adapted his language for the needs of those assembled. He used simple everyday images, gently and cautiously leading them. The familiar language was interesting without being threatening. If Jesus simply exposed their flaws and need to change, they may have walked away. He couldn’t speak directly because the people weren't ready for the challenging reality of his message. Those able to seek a deeper meaning under the seemingly plain illustrations slowly came in their own time to realize how the parables called them to accept Jesus and to acknowledge him as the Messiah.
Thank you, gentle Jesus, for taking the time to reveal your divine truth to me in a way I can intimately know you.

Acts 22:3-16; Ps 117; Mk 16:15-18

Now, why delay?
Even when we know what’s in our best interest, procrastination, uncertainty or laziness can keep us from doing what’s truly good and right. It’s pretty easy to sit back and do nothing, but our baptism calls us to take action. Jesus asks us to embrace him and his forgiveness for our own benefit. Our disinterest or seeming lack of urgency delays our inviting the glory of God to be at work within us. With that said, our acceptance of the expectations that come with being Christ’s followers cannot be taken lightly. Baptism for the apostles was not just a ceremony. It demanded extraordinary prayer and preparation. They had to fully commit, and maybe that's the real question at hand. Do we tarry because we're unwilling to truly change?
Persistent Savior, gently push me to call on you when I resist your loving gifts of holiness and mercy.

2 Sm 7:4-17; Ps 89; Mk 4:1-20

I will fix a place for my people Israel.
David is misguided initially on how the Lord desires him to build his house. When David talks to Nathan about building a temple for the ark of the Lord, that night the Lord enlightens Nathan on what it means to build the house of David. God doesn't desire a house or temple for himself. He wants David to build a lasting dynasty. The Lord seeks to secure a place for his people where they can flourish undisturbed for generations to come. The Lord does not want him to erect physical structures but to raise leaders. The sanctuary in which the Lord desires to dwell already exists. He seeks to reside within us, in the temple of our own bodies.
Welcome, Lord. Be my constant companion. I delight in your dwelling within me.

2 Sm 5:1-7, 10; Ps 89; Mk 3:22-30

David grew steadily more powerful, for the Lord of hosts was with him.
David’s advancement to Israel’s throne and his establishment as king lay entirely with his reliance on God. David reached greatness and occupied his place of prosperity for so long through God’s choice and help. David rightly acknowledged the divine grace that paved every step of his journey. From the start when the Lord proclaimed that the shepherd boy would grow great before his subjects and his enemies, David trusted, obeyed and consulted God. David had the Lord’s favor, but he gave voice to his understanding of how God’s presence and help were integral to his success. We, too, must acknowledge the vital role that the Lord plays in our achievements.
All knowing and supporting Father, backbone and strength of everything we do, thank you for elevating us to the greatness to which each of us has been called.

2 Sm 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27; Ps 80; Mk 3:20-21

Again the crowd gathered at the house, making it impossible for them even to eat.
Mark’s Gospel is the original “Fast and Furious.” Even Jesus’ family can’t keep up with him. Tradition says that for 30 years the loudest noise he made was with a hammer and saw. Now, he is trapped in a maelstrom, “He is out of his mind!” I guess a lot of us prefer a tranquil Jesus. Flannery O’Connor in Wise Blood “saw Jesus move from tree to tree … a wild ragged figure.” Holden Caulfield self-identifies with, “next to Jesus, was that lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones, that poor bastard.” Indeed, a catcher in the rye, sacrificing everything to save the poor in peril, will always seem “insane.”
O Shepherd of Israel, rouse your power, and come to save us!

1 Sm 24:3-21; Ps 57; Mk 3:13-19

Jesus summoned those whom he wanted, and they came to him.
Today, Jesus designates his Twelve, his apostles, a motley crew, to be sure, including Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed him, lest anyone assume their incorruptibility. But no women are mentioned. His mother was in a separate category. Mary Magdalene would receive her commission at the empty tomb. Paul, a late-comer himself, would be schooled by other women, like Prisca and Phoebe, all over the Mediterranean Basin. You might say Pope Francis is taking Romans 16, the grand catalog of collaborators, as his modus operandi to enlist anyone and everyone into the mission of the church. Meanwhile, is Jesus summoning me? Does Jesus want me?
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge!