Mark Chapter 17

Homily Notes for January 28, 2018

Olympic Gold Medalist and one-time presidential candidate Bill Bradley tells of the time he was attending a political dinner in Washington. A waiter came around with butter. He said, “I would
like two patties, please.’ The waiter replied, “I’m sorry, sir; it’s just one to a customer. Bradley msaid, “Well, I guess you don’t know who I am. I am a senior member of the US Senate. Before
that I was an all-star with the NY Knicks. Before that I was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford” The waiter answered, “Well, I guess you don’t know who I am.” “No I don’t,” Bradley admitted. “I’m
the guy in charge of the butter and you only get one.” Senator Bradley’s words did not have too much authority with the waiter.”

In today’s gospel we hear how Jesus spoke with authority and people were spellbound and amazed. There are at least four reasons why Jesus’ words were so powerful:
• clearly understandable and memorable; (“The spirit is willing, but flesh is weak.”)
• revealed the mind and heart of God (The parables of the Prodigal Son and the Last Judgment)
• reflected his life-style (no rolex watches, luxury cars, mansions, and private jets)
• produced results w/ the power to chance lives (healings & conversions);

Do the words and deeds of Jesus hold our attention? Or, do we forget them or harden our hearts? WE HARDEN OUR HEARTS WHEN we don’t take the time to read the gospels;
we think that God can’t or won’t work in our lives; we are more interested in ourselves and our wants that God; we allow the concerns of the world to consume us; and
we are afraid of what God might ask of us. We stand when we listen to the gospel. We make a three-fold sign of the cross on our foreheads, our lips, and our hearts. There is a prayer to pray along with the signing. “May the gospel be in my mind, on my lips, and in my heart.” Here is some homework, a challenge. Read a chapter a day from the Gospel according to Mark until you finish it.

Catholic priests are assigned particular readings for each and every Sunday. Many Protestant ministers are free to choose whatever reading they want to preach on at any given service. My
homework in today’s homily reminds me the story of a Protestant minister who gave a much bigger assignment: read the entire​ Gospel of Mark by the next Sunday. When it came time to
preach on that day, he asked, “How many of you have read Mark chapter 17?” After almost everyone held up their hands, he said, “In that case, I am going to preach about telling lies.
Mark’s Gospel has only 16 chapters.”