Today’s Thoughts: In today's Gospel reading, Mark considers the problem of life after death and its implications. Jesus takes the side of the Pharisees, believing in resurrection from the dead, as opposed to the view of the Sadducees. This is one of the reasons why Jesus frustrated the Pharisees so much: although he seemed to be one of them according to this criterion, he refused to interpret Scripture as literally as they did or to put as much importance on a strict and literal interpretation of the Law. He goes beyond (not against) what many Old Testament texts seem to assume concerning life after death.
The wider question which Jesus is addressing here is how we are to interpret Scripture. A literal interpretation is easy for us to understand and so to follow, at least insofar as our having confidence in doing the right thing is concerned. Anyone who is willing to come to grips with Scripture, soon recognizes that this approach has its problems. The interpretation of the Scriptures is best left to the scholars, what is important for us is how we as individuals read Scripture and draw sustenance from God through it.
What I am referring to here is prayer. If we are to have a living friendship with God, we need to be in conversation with him. Scripture, as the Word of God, plays an important role here but cannot be taken literally or assumed to have only one "message" in a given passage. Scripture is rather a place where we listen to what God says through a particular passage. The Spirit will lead us to pay attention to one aspect of that reading, to a word or expression, or will inspire us with a new understanding of ourselves and who we are.
What is most important here for us is first that we pray, regularly, with or without using the Scripture, and then that we reflect on what we are doing and what we experience in prayer. And then go on to live in the strength of that Word.
Mark’s Gospel today ends with the great affirmation that God is the God of the living and we encounter this living God first and foremost through prayer. God is not waiting for us to survive life, God is actively nudging us through prayer and in other ways so that we give life to his kingdom every day.
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...