I am writing this post from Saint John’s University in Minnesota where I am taking a class on the Gospel of Mark. My course began last Monday, it is now Wednesday, and I’ve spent the last couple of days immersed in the world of Mark. It’s as if the entire set of Gospel readings from Year B of the lectionary has been distilled into a single, intense infusion of good news.
If you’ve never read Mark in a single sitting (I first did this a few years ago), you might be amazed at the rapid-fire pace of the narrative – that is, up until Jesus and his disciples arrive in Jerusalem and the narrative suddenly brakes to something akin to a frame-by-frame sequencing of Jesus’ final days and hours.
You might also be amazed at the gospel writer’s frequent use of the word ‘amazed’ to describe the reaction of the people to the mighty works wrought by our Lord. The people are amazed. Astounded beyond measure. Filled with awe. Over and over again.
Their amazement caused me to realize, when I stop to think about it, how amazed I am to be here in Minnesota. How astonished I am at the works of God that brought me to Sacred Heart Monastery, to my various roles within the Community, to my current, though temporary, role as a student here at Saint John’s…
Whether we move through our lives at a rapid-fire pace or methodically take things in frame by frame, I think we can grow so accustomed to the people and places that surround us that we forget the wondrous works of God that led us to that place, to these people, to this work. We sometimes forget to notice that all around us, in many different ways, blind eyes continue to be opened and the lame continue to get up and walk. Often, the blind eyes are our own, closed to the awesome glory of God that fills the whole earth. Often, we are the mute, our mouths withholding the proclamation of the good news. Often, we are the lame, not willing to get up and “go into all the world.” We ourselves need the good news of Jesus to heal us, that we can go forth to heal in his name.
Whether through the slow, daily infusion of the lectionary cycle, or a single, intense immersion in the entire gospel, may our eyes and hearts be opened to the mighty works of God and the good news of Jesus. May they fill us with astonishment, amazement, and awe.
Postscript: I am here in Collegeville, MN, taking summer school graduate courses at Saint John’s School of Theology. I will be here for a total of five weeks. More to come…