Commentary on the Gospel of
We are in the part of Mark's gospel where we hear Jesus consoling his disciples about the trouble to come for them. Of course, this is really important for Mark's disciples - the first to read this gospel - for the troubles they are facing. And, it is really important for us, as we face the troubles of our time.
When Jesus said that no one knows when the end of time would be, he sure was right. For us today, while we might be deeply concerned about the growing critical condition of our planet, the real issue of our concern is about the end of our lives. Who among us hasn't had a relative or friend die recently. I'm most affected by it when the death involves someone who is younger than me - something that happens more and more frequently.
Every other trouble we face is some kind of mini-death, which is difficult to face. The common effect of these experiences is that they can shake us. They can disturb our confidence and upset our sense of security.
What Jesus wants to do for us today is what he did for his first disciples. He wants us to not let our hearts be troubled. Jesus knows he will be with us in the midst of everything. He wants us to have confidence that we are never alone. And, he wants us to trust that he has won the victory over sin and death - over every sin; over every death.
The way we can let our faith be deepened is to express our gratitude to our Lord at very times each day. We can thank the Lord for being with us - in whatever situation in which we might find ourselves. And, the more we place our trust in the promise of eternal life, the more fearless we can become. To be without fear is so empowering. I tis so liberating. It can allow us to face any challenge - even death itself. Death is just a scarecrow. It isn't frightening for us at all. Therefore, we can be bold. We can be courageous. We can face great difficulties, knowing that we will fall into the hands of a loving Savior. This lack of fear, this freedom, makes selfless love so much easier. I don't have to "calculate" what this or that act of love will "cost" me. In fact, Jesus has assured us that the secret to happiness is that we will really find ourselves when we lose ourselves in love.
We can practice this faith - really exercise it and strengthen it, perhaps like a muscle we haven't used much - by simply practicing surrender. Not being so cautious becomes less scary and helps us to be more confident in loving. We can say, "Lord, I know that nothing can separate me from your care for me. Help me love this person with your own type of love, thinking less of myself, and more for the other person. Let me be bold and free."
Let us be confident before the trials and tribulations of our day, placing our lives in his hands.