Friday, January 28, 2011


1. Jesus has asked that a boat be kept in readiness because of the large crowds and then has used the boat as a pulpit to teach in parables. Without any alteration to Jesus’ situation, Jesus and his disciples head off across the sea in that same boat. The additional boats indicate that Jesus’ followers are increasing in number.

2. All experienced the storm, the miracles, the misunderstanding, and none of them have yet come to faith. The theme of the boat holds the narrative together. Indeed, the boat is in some ways at the center of the story: will it sink or not?

3. Sea was always thought to be a place where demons reside. Mark presents the stormy sea as a place of potential chaos, caused by demonic powers. In a way that parallels Jonah’s sleeping in a boat during a storm (Jonah 1: 1-17). Jesus is comfortably asleep on a cushion and indifferent to the storm raging about them, and the dangers that threaten to sink the boat.

4. His response is to show mastery over the storm, and his use of the imperative mood to address the wind and the sea reinforces the idea that the storm is generated by demonic and chaotic powers. The result is immediate as the wind ceased, and great calm came over the waters.

5. The disciples have shown their inability to understand Jesus, and he indicates to them that he is the Lord of creation. The praise of YHWH as Lord of land and sea is recalled as Jesus rightly speaks harshly to his disciples.

All of us go through the experiences of facing different kinds of storms in our lives. We face, storms of loneliness, frustration, rejection, financial crisis, relationship crisis, betrayal, sickness, accidents etc. Very many times we think, Jesus keeps sleeping in spite of our loud cry. Jesus does sleep purposely, to see how much we really trust Him. Jesus would have still calmed the sea even if the disciples had not disturbed him; He would have even appreciated their faith if they had remained calm trusting their Master. Remaining calm would mean, praying patiently with a trust that the Lord would rescue us from storms of life in due time.

The Gospel of Mark – A Commentary


Mark 4:26-34 26 He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." 30 He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

1. The kingdom is like the seed cast into the ground (4:26). The sower lives through his sleeping and waking hours. The human being, has nothing to do with the seed’s growing into the blade that cuts through the soil, then the green ear, and finally the ripe grain. He returns to the action only when he puts in the sickle for the reaping of a harvest that owes nothing to his efforts.

2. The image of harvest and the usage of sickle for the same recall the prophetic description of the end time and God’s final judgment in Joel 3: 13. Kingdom of God is like the mystery of growth, beyond human control.

3. The kingdom of God will grow and bear fruit, but it will not be the result of the successful labor of the disciples. The harvest is the outcome of the gracious gift of God, despite the ambiguity of those who sow the seed.

4. It is known to us all the mustard seed is not the smallest of seeds, but it is used only to show its smallness. A mustard seed did in fact grow into something very like a tree. A traveler in Palestine speaks of seeing a mustard plant which, in its height, was higher than a horse and its rider. The birds are very fond of this black seed and we can always see a cloud of birds over a mustard plant.

5. This parable says, never to be daunted by small beginnings. It may seem that at the moment we can produce only a very small effect; but if that small effect is repeated it will become very great. Everything must have a beginning. Nothing emerges fully grown.

We give credit to the organization of an event only when the minute details are taken care. Diligence in small things adds to the degree of perfection. We give paramount importance to small things simply because we take bigger things for granted. When a person builds a huge house spending a lot of money, he is more concerned about choosing the colour of the paints, type of electric switches, design of the taps and other small details. We need to take a little more care in little things. If a person who loves his/her beloved wholeheartedly fails to smile at him/her, the love which he/she has for his/her beloved does not make much meaning to him/her.


The Gospel of Mark a Commentary – Francis Moloney

William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible

Thursday, January 27, 2011


1. The words of Jesus on the correct place and function of the lamp are a warning. It is common sense that a lamp comes to be placed on a stand, so that its light can illuminate the surrounding. When privilege is given to someone, it is not to be hidden nor kept in secret.

2. The secret of the kingdom of God is given so that it will be made manifest and come to light. Jesus’ words are directed to the disciples. They are privileged, but they also have serious responsibility to manifest the light.

3. True disciples must have right hearing, recognizing that much has been given to them. Yet more will be given to those ‘inside,’ while those ‘outside’, who have closed their ears definitively to the word of Jesus, lose every privilege. The disciples of Jesus are urged to recognize the responsibilities that are theirs.

4. The measure to which a person gives himself to know the truth determines his reward. The energy, effort, and degree of commitment, the time and depth of thought- all that a person gives to know the truth – determines his reward.

5. In our life there is always a balance. Our getting will be determined by our giving.

· This is true of study. The more study we are prepared to give to any subject, the more we will get from it.

· It is true of worship: The more we bring to the worship of God’s house, the more we will get from it.

· It is true of personal relationship: One of the facts of life is that we see our reflection in other people. If we are cross and irritable and bad-tempered, we will probably find other people equally unpleasant and the vice –versa.

Very few may object to this fact, that the more one gives the more one receives. It is true in all the cases. The one who is generous with his/her talents, money, time and resources will get it back hundredfold. Of course receiving it back hundredfold, should not be the primary motive. One of my friends was sharing with me today, that he spent 1000 rupees from his pocket to buy Marian statues to distribute to the poor families and he received 1500 rupees that same day from an unknown person. Recently I had the experience of giving the best seller ‘Purpose driven life’ which I bought to present it to my close friend, to one of the priests whom I met casually in the Railway station. That priest gave me, in spite of my resistance, more money than I spent for the book and moreover I received another best seller ‘Talk like Jesus’ that same evening from my Regional Superior. In losing we lose nothing, but we only gain.

The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
The Gospel of Mark – A commentary by Francis Moloney
William Barclay- the New Daily Study Bible.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


1. Jesus aggressively sets the miracle in motion by calling the man with the withered hand: ‘Rise up.’ With the deformed man by his side, Jesus turns to his potential accusers and raises a point of law. He knew what was going on in the hearts of the Pharisees. They just wanted to corner him with some accusation.

2. Jesus knows that there is no urgency about the man’s condition, but still He wanted to teach a lesson for the Pharisees. He throws a question at them. The Pharisees recognize that he has placed them in an impossible situation. “To delay healing for a day is to deny the Torah’s true intention, which is the glory of God and the benefit of man.”

3. They remained in silence and it hints at Jesus’ superiority in legal debate. Ultimately Jesus’ confrontation with his critics lay in the claim of his ministry and not in a different interpretation of the Sabbath law. Jesus proves to them that it they who are sick with withered hearts and it is they who need the cure.

4. The conflict story comes to a close with the coming together of the Pharisees and the Herodians to form a common plan. The Pharisees (leaders with pretentions to a high level of religious purity) and the Herodians (political leaders who collaborated with a foreign secular power) who are the most unlikely partners from the opposite end of the Jewish leadership join hands to destroy Jesus.

5. The first miracle of Jesus was greeted with amazement, the glorification of God and acclamation: ‘We never saw anything like this!” (2:12). The closing miracle reverses that acclamation and brings the rivals together to work against their common enemy Jesus.

We have often heard some people saying, ‘Well, everything was good and nice in the beginning but slowly things turn out to be really bad.’ Quite a few times we taste success at the initial stages but in the later stage just the opposite takes place. People whom we thought would constantly support us gradually turn out to be people who ditch our lives. Jesus teaches us to take life easy. We should not be excited too much when we succeed and at the same time we should not get frustrated when we fail. We should learn to put our total trust in the Lord who will gradually reveal his plans to us and He will give us the strength to face both success and failures with a certain level of serenity.

The Gospel of Mark - Moloney


1. The Torah does not forbid such activity, although Deut 23: 35 expressly forbids the reaping of grain with a sickle on the Sabbath. It appears however the scribal tradition had come to take a conservative stance, interpreting all actions resembling reaping as a breach of Sabbath rest.

2. The presence of the Pharisees in the field, complaining to Jesus about the behavior of his disciples, indicates the artificial nature of the pericope. This is the first time the Pharisees have been actively present of have spoken to Jesus. The stage is now set for the direct involvement of the Pharisees, leading to their decision, taken with the Herodians.

3. Jesus compares the action of his disciples with the action of King David (1 Sam 21: 1-6). The relationship between the two episodes is weak. Though both the events takes place on a Sabbath day, the disciples are not driven by extreme hunger, nor are they accused because they eat. The issues is this, if such unlawful practice was condoned for David and his companions how much more should actions done on the Sabbath be condoned in light of the uniqueness of Jesus.

4. Human beings are far more important than rules and regulations; far more important than ceremony, ritual and religion. The first duty of a human being is to worship God and to meet the needs of his fellow human beings.

5. The best way to use sacred things is to use them for others. The Sabbath was never so sacred as when it was used to help those who needed help. The decisive factor in the use of all things is love and not law.

Once we decided to find faults with others, we can see nothing but only faults. Even the upright actions of the others will appear to be hypocritical. The Pharisees are determined to find faults with Jesus and His disciples. We have thousands of opportunity to find faults with others. Between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, between community members, between Superior and the Subjects, Employer and employees so on and so forth. In the same way if we decided to see only good things in others, we will only see the good things. Therefore it is our decision and right attitude that determines perception.

The Gospel of Mark – A Commentary – Moloney
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
William Barclay’s study Bible

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


1. There is no change in time as Jesus goes to the house of Simon on the Sabbath. He heals a man (v 21-28) and then a woman (v29-31) in immediate succession. As Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever Jesus went to her and touched her. The fever departed immediately and she began to serve them. This miracle is an ideal example for the healing narrative: problem, request, touch, miracle, demonstration.

2. A respected religious leader would not take any woman by hand. There are precedents for rabbis taking the hand of men but there are no examples of rabbis doing so for a woman and certainly not on the Sabbath. Jesus could be accused of contracting uncleanness and violating the Sabbath.

3. He further allowed himself to be served by this woman. This may appear normal enough to us, but no self-respecting rabbi would allow such a thing. As Rabbi Samuel ( C.E) had said: ‘One must under no circumstances be served by a woman, be she adult or child. Jesus’ attitude and approach to a woman is a clear indication of the reigning presence of God, vanquishing the reign of evil, symbolized by devil possession, taboo and physical illness.

4. Jesus was tired, very fatigued. The day had been long and full of stress, yet He made Himself available, even at an odd hour. A person can approach Jesus anyplace, anytime – at any hour of the day or night.

5. Jesus’ early rising, going to the traditional setting for personal prayer (a lonely place) and his prayer indicate that the events have their origins in God. Jesus is not a free agent. After the first day of restless activity and total success over a variety of evils, he turns to God.

Jesus is teaching a great lesson on availability and approachability. These two should go hand in hand. He did not distinguish between men and women, he was available for all. Being available alone is not sufficient, we should also be approachable.


The Gospel of Mark – A Commentary by Francis J. Moloney

The Preachers Outline and the Sermon Bible