In our first reading we have one of the great prophecies of the Old Testament. It is a prophecy with many aspects. Jeremiah speaks these words in the midst of one of the most terrible events to affect the People of Israel –the Babylonian captivity.
We hear in this Sunday’s Gospel how Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs to proclaim the Gospel. There are similar accounts in Matthew and Luke which have a bit more detail. But here we are presented with Mark’s typically more compressed and succinct account of the event.
We don’t often observe Jesus being disempowered and perhaps this is the only incident of this kind we find in the Gospels. It seems that because of the people’s lack of faith he could perform no miracle in his own home town. This is surprising because we usually think of Jesus as being all-powerful and capable of doing anything.
The two miracles performed in today’s extract from St Mark’s Gospel both involve women, one a little girl and the other a mature woman suffering from a haemorrhage. Actually, there are only four healings of women recorded in the Gospel, these two together with Peter’s Mother in Law and the woman bent double, The first three of these miracles are recorded in all three of the Synoptic Gospels and the last only in St Luke.
Today we celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist; it is a midsummer feast just as the Birth of Christ is a midwinter feast, John being born six months before Jesus
Jesus speaks to us in parables. Indeed it says in today’s Gospel that Jesus wouldn’t speak to the ordinary people except in parables. However, we are told that he did explain everything to his disciples in private.
The Gospel text set before us today is a difficult one. It doesn’t come up very often in the liturgy because the Tenth Sunday is often missed out due to the particular timing of Lent in any given year.
The inauguration of the Holy Eucharist is celebrated first and foremost on Maundy Thursday in its natural place the night before Jesus died on the Cross. But because that celebration takes place very much in the context of the sadness of the events of Christ’s passion and death, the Church gives us this second feast in the course of the year to help us to get to explore more fully the Eucharist, the commemoration of the Last Supper.
Last week was Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church, one of the most important feasts in the Church year. We are the Church and Pentecost was our feast. Now as the first thing we are invited to look at as we move forward is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
The Feast of Pentecost ranks among the most important in the Christian Calendar; it is up there with Christmas and Easter as marking a crucial moment in the story of our salvation