Faith Daily | 4 February 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Epiphany Four
you have taught us
that all our doings without love are worth nothing:
send your Holy Spirit,
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you;
grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake.
Amen APBA p533
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 6: 7-13
7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Sandra
Mark believed that the opposition to Jesus was led by those who were religious, such as the scribes and some Pharisees from Jerusalem. It will be religious people who plot against Jesus and bring about his arrest and death, and religious people, chief priests and scribes, who will be among those who mock him whilst he is hanging on the cross.
Mark prepares us for this now and explains the reason for the opposition between Jesus and the religious leaders as being they neglect God’s commandment, in order to uphold man-made traditions. The example which is then given is the 5th of the ten commandments, Honour your father and mother, in contrast with the man-made tradition that this commandment could be avoided if one declared one’s property set aside for God.
What Jesus was actually attacking is the use of religion for one’s own agenda and purpose even to further one’s own ends which is a perversion of the real aim of the law, which was to show us how to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. The occasion that provokes the dispute is to do with hand-washing – a religious activity, not part of the written law but a practice of the Pharisees and scribes, who set up a tradition and exalted it into a position of such important that anyone who does not observe it is condemned and regarded as out of favour. Mark is stressing that this is not what is required. What defiles comes from within.
FINAL PRAYER: From Taize
May the God of hope fill us with all joy
and all peace in believing, that we may
be overflowing with hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit.