Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279
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January 23, 2021
MARK 1:14-20
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The First Reading for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time tells the story of Jonah (3: 1-5; 10), whose preaching unexpectedly caused the “wicked” people of Nineveh to repent and avoid destruction. Sometimes things are not what they appear to be. Sometimes, we miss the opportunity to discern and perceive what is really happening in rushing to judgment. Take the year 2020, for example.
It is now commonplace to judge the year 2020 in terms of a pandemic, governmental corruption, riots, civil unrest, and even insurrection. No doubt, the year offered more than a lifetime of challenges. But closer examination reveals another and, perhaps, more important story. The year 2020 will go down in history as an epoch time of courage in the midst of uncertainty, hope in the midst of despair, and love in the midst of hate.
Millions upon millions of people throughout the World rose to the occasion in the service of others. Doctors, nurses and support personnel, traveled into danger zones to bring aid and comfort to the sick and dying. Black and white people marched together in the cause of racial justice. Scientists, often demeaned by those in power, succeeded in developing a vaccine. Ordinary people discovered ingenious ways to communicate and bond in a time of social distancing. And finally, we elected to governmental leadership people of common sense and decency (political differences aside). Serious problems remain, and the future is uncertain. But maybe, just maybe, we rediscovered our humanity in a moment of ambiguity, terror, and hurt.
Jesus ascends into Galilee, taking over the outreach of John the Baptizer who has just been arrested. No reason is given for the action against John. The arrest is a bad omen. Jesus exerts great courage since assuming John’s position will endanger the work and person of Jesus himself. It sometimes happens that great people put themselves in harm’s way for others’ sake. Such is the story of Jesus reflected in the verses of Mark’s Gospel.
Jesus confronts the powers who arrested John by proclaiming the “Kingdom of God” in the realm of the Emperor’s rule. Jesus did not merely predict the future coming of God’s providential rule but practiced it in his outreach of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Such tactics threaten those interested in preserving their power. It will not be long before the authorities who executed the Baptizer will seek to destroy Jesus.
We cannot help but identify with the first disciples Jesus called. We might think ourselves unworthy of such a responsibility as realizing the Rule of God in the here and now of life. Jesus called people who knew something about the struggles of life. He understood the God of Heaven not in terms of an overlord who threatens but a parent who loves. Jesus was executed on a Cross even as John was beheaded at a party. Nonetheless, the “Kingdom” is risen and keeps on rising. The Baptizer is a Saint, and Jesus is the Risen One. They both would liberate and save those who would put them to death. 
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for not only announcing the “Kingdom of God” but making it felt in your deeds of courage and self-giving.