Dearest Liturgical Year B,
How I feel I have failed you! One of my favorite cycles, because paired with the Gospel of Mark, B includes a beautiful month-long reflection on the Bread of Life Discourse of John 6. How long ago August seems!! Reflecting on what’s left of this Liturgical Year, I invite you to join me on a 16 Day Journey through the Gospel of Mark. Each day will offer highlights of this short but powerful Gospel’s chapters as well as questions for reflection.
As we prepare for that great season of preparation, Advent (my favorite!!) let’s take a minute for a little Gospel intensive with this super intense Gospel.
CAVEAT: There are many ways to study Scripture. Pushing through a chapter at a time is not necessarily recommended as a typical practice… but if it gets us to open our Bibles, it can be worth it! Often we find ourselves too intimidated by Scripture--where should we even start?! Or we jump into the lectionary--without any frame of reference of where we are in this greatest love story ever told. Our 16 Day Journey is unique to the Gospel of Mark, as it is the shortest Gospel. Remember, this study is YOUR STUDY… if you get hung up on Mark 1:1 and want to pray with that for the whole of 16 days, do it! Being docile to the Holy Spirit is key. And like a good novena--if you miss a day, just jump right back on the donkey and head into Jerusalem… don’t give up just because you get behind! Also, this study of Mark can be done AT ANY TIME. I just like to procrastinate so I’m going to fit it in riiiight before we switch over to Luke :-) This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).
Let’s Do This!
Gospel of Mark: Day 1
The Gospels or “good news” tell us about the Life of Jesus--His words and deeds. As God decided to become man--to walk and talk among us--to save us, it is of the utmost importance that we sit with these life-giving words of the gospels and allow them to pierce our hearts, open our minds, challenge our life choices, and inspire us to love more deeply.
Contained in the first chapter of Mark are the following scenes from Jesus’ life:
The Preaching of John the Baptist
The Baptism of Jesus
The Temptation of Jesus
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
The Call of the First Disciples
The Cure of the Demoniac
The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law
Jesus Leaves Capernaum
The Cleansing of the Leper
Journaling Questions for Reflection
After reading the first chapter of Mark, give yourself the freedom to pick and choose which questions are most moving to you… as the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer time.
“You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased (Mark 1:11).” Is it the desire of my heart to have the Lord say these words about me? How often do I contemplate the end of my life? Do I believe that I have to earn the Lord’s love? What does it mean to be pleasing to God? How do I know that the Lord loves me?
He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him (Mark 1:13). What desert am I facing? Who are the wild beasts in my desert? What dangers do they hold? Where am I most tempted? Who are the angels ministering to me? How can I get better at asking for help? At accepting help? Who do I minister to in the desert? Have I ever thought about my guardian angel or the existence of angels? How can I ask my guardian angel for help?
This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15). Where do I need to repent? What is my relationship to the Gospels? When do I take time to reflect on the good news of Jesus? Who in my life needs to hear this good news? How can I better trust the Lord’s timing?
They abandoned their nets and followed him (Mark 1:17). What nets do I need to abandon? What goods in my life are taking me away from the ultimate good? How am I using my gifts to serve the Lord and His people?
Then the fever left her and she waited on them (Mark 1:31). How has the Lord healed me? Having been healed, am I ready to serve? What is keeping me from taking action? How are service and gratitude related?
“Everyone is looking for you (Mark 1:37).” Who in my life is looking for Jesus? How can I help in their search? Who do I need to be a light to this week? Who needs to hear about my healing? Who do I need to pray for? How am I seeking Jesus today? This week?
“If you wish, you can make me clean (Mark 1:40).” Have I given the Lord permission to heal me? Why or why not? What are my fears in letting the Lord into the dark places? The unclean places? Where is my shame? How can I better accept the Lord’s mercy and love? Who is someone in my life that offers me an example of how to trust in the Lord? What saints can I call upon for their help and intercession?
Day 1 Challenge
Share the Gospel After taking time to reflect, share your favorite quote or passage with others. Challenge them to spend time reflecting on the life-giving words of the Gospel. You have no idea who in your life needs to hear this today!