All things are possible (Mk 9:23-9:23)

“Jesus said to him.

‘If you are able!

All things

Can be done

For the one

Who believes.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τὸ Εἰ δύνῃ, πάντα δυνατὰ τῷ πιστεύοντι.

 

This is unique to Mark.  Jesus said to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  If you are able (Τὸ Εἰ δύνῃ), all things can be done (πάντα δυνατὰ) for the one who believes (τῷ πιστεύοντι).  Jesus responded that belief was the key ingredient for any success in this area.

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The Gift of Faith

Christian faith is a gift from God.  We do not earn it.  However, we can refuse this gift.  We must accept this gift with our mind, our heart, and our will.  Our whole person believes in Jesus Christ.  My mind believes that it is true.  My heart says I trust.  I will love and have a concern for others.  The initial Christian faith is a gentle longing, a search for meaning.  For some it comes in a blinding flash, like the apostle Paul.  Dorothy Day (1897-1980) found it working with the poor, while others see it in the presence of a priest or minister who witnesses to goodness, or at the time of a tragedy or death.  Still others grow up within a cultural community of Christians that grows with them throughout their life.  My faith in Jesus Christ is a continuous growing mysterious reality.

 

The Christian God

The Christian tradition believes in a monotheistic personal God who has had a unique presence in Jesus Christ.  We truly care to live with the mysterious life of God who has an impact on our lives.  The God of Israel was Yahweh, whom the Christians consider God the Father.  There is also the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Yahweh, that is present in our lives.  Jesus is the Son of God, the Father.

Sinners until death (Sir 23:16-23:17)

“Two kinds of individuals

Multiply sins.

A third incurs wrath.

Hot passion blazes

Like a burning fire.

Hot passion

Will not be quenched

Until it burns itself out.

Whoever commits fornication

With his near of kin

Will never cease

Until the fire burns him up.

To a fornicator,

All bread is sweet.

He will never cease

Until he dies.”

Here Sirach is like Proverbs with a numerical proverb that is a little unclear. Some sinners multiply their sins, basically those with sins of passion. However, another kind of sinner incurs the wrath of God. Obviously, fornication is wrong. Hot passion blazes like a burning fire until it is quenched and burns itself out. The big sin is sexual fornication with a relative. Sirach believes that this fornicator will not cease until fire burns him up. Each fornicator believes that all bread is sweet, since they make no distinction on who they get involved with. They will only cease their bad habits at death. This is a strong condemnation of the indiscriminate sexual offender, especially those who get sexually involved with their own family members.

Quiet wise words (Eccl 9:17-9:18)

“The quiet words of the wise

Are more to be heeded

Than the shouting of a ruler

Among fools.

Wisdom is better

Than weapons of war.

But one bungler

Destroys much good.”

Qoheleth believes that you should listen to the quiet words of the wise rather than the shouting of a ruler among fools. This is somewhat revolutionary saying that the wise are better than the rulers. This strong statement indicates that wisdom is better than war weapons. However, there is a caveat. One bungler can destroy much good.

The appetites of humans (Eccl 6:7-6:9)

“‘All the toil of man is for the mouth.

Yet the appetite is not satisfied.’

What advantage has the wise ones

Over the fools?

What do the poor have?

They know how to conduct themselves

Before the living.

Better is the sight of the eyes

Than the wandering of desire.

This also is vanity.

This is chasing after wind.”

Qoheleth believes that the reason that people work is so that they can have something to eat. However, the problem is that the appetite for food is never satisfied. What advantage does the wise person have over the foolish person? In fact, the poor people know how to conduct themselves. Then Qoheleth warns against wandering desires. After all, remember that this is all vanity and chasing after the wind that cannot be caught.

Your servant (Ps 119:121-119:128)

Ain

“I have done what is just.

I have done what is right.

Do not leave me to my oppressors.

Guarantee your servant’s well being.

Do not let the godless oppress me.

My eyes fail from watching

For your salvation.

My eyes fail from watching

For the fulfillment of your righteous promise.

Deal with your servant

According to your steadfast love.

Teach me your statutes.

I am your servant.

Give me understanding.

Thus I may know your decrees.

It is time for Yahweh to act.

Your law has been broken.

Truly I love your commandments

More than gold,

More than fine gold.

Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts.

I hate every false way.”

The psalmist believes that he is the servant of God. He has always done what is just and right. As usual, he did not want to be left to his oppressors. He wanted to be protected against the godless men. His eyes were beginning to fail because he has been waiting for salvation and righteous promises. Of course, he wanted to feel the steadfast love of Yahweh. He wanted to learn and understand about the decrees of Yahweh. He wanted Yahweh to act now because his laws were broken. The psalmist loved the commandments of Yahweh more than even fine gold. He wanted all his steps to follow the precepts of Yahweh. He hated false ways. So ends this section on the sixteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Ain.