Arulvakku

05.02.10 KING HEROD

Posted under Reflections on February 4th, 2010 by
King Herod heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”  But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.” Mk 6, 14.16
Today’s reading is very interesting. Mark, the author, has written it with a journalist’s hand, we can say. The three areas that he touches in the reading are important and even today’s news papers will work the same way. 
They are : the people on high places (King Herod), the sex scandal, and the religion. One thing is certain that what we have read in todays reading is historical. If it was not true, then the first century people (authority) would not have allowed this story to go around among the people. Historians have written more than enough about King Herod and his wicked ways. 
Also, what is written about Jesus is more than true because the people thought that he was a prophet. He was behaving as a prophet and he spoke of himself as a prophet. Because he was doing prophetic works. Elijah, who according to Jewish tradition would return to get things ready for the final judgement.
Here, Herod speaks theology. He speaks about resurrection. But he is wrong in saying that John is risen in Jesus. Resurrection is not the work of John or Jesus, it is the work of GOD. 
His guilty conscience pricks. 
His guilty conscience is not at peace. 
Whatever happens around is a constant reminder of the wrong that one has done.  
Whatever be the ugly story, in it, there can be found real encouragement to faithful witness and constant hope.

04.02.10 NOTHING FOR THE JOURNEY

Posted under Reflections on February 3rd, 2010 by
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick– no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”
Mk 6,8-11
Jesus is sending his disciples as missionaries two by two. Probably one has to be a witness for the other. Or only when two bear witness together on anything, then the facts are acceptable. There is no time for dispute and verifications. Two together are already sufficient to verify. So what they preach has to be  accepted without much suspicion and doubt. 
The author here allows them to take a walking stick along with them and they are allowed to wear sandals.  So it is a journey and that too a long journey. Walking stick is a support when they are tired, yet they have to keep on walking with the help of the stick; They cannot give up because they are tired. Keep going and going. Sandals again are for a journey – that too a journey along difficult (rough, thorny) paths. 
So their missionary journey is long and difficult. 
They are not to take food, money, a second tunic etc. The journey is for an immediate return. There is no holidaying or picnicking along the way. It is not a leisure trip.  It is: go for a job, finish the job and return. That is why they are asked to shake off the dust if not welcomed.  There is no time to plead, argue, convince etc.
There is another interesting note on this:
It is said that when a Jew goes on a trip to a foreign land on his way back he stands at the border  and shakes off the dust  from his sandals before entering into his own land (Israel). He should not bring in the dust of another country thus bring another (land’s) god in. God is in the dust too. See 2 kings chapter 5 where in Naaman asks for two sacks of sand from the land of Israel to build an Altar for the LORD and to offer sacrifice for the LORD. God is mingled with the sand.
So if they do not accept your message then they do not  believe in the God whom you are presenting them with. Shake off the dust. Move to another.
So carry only the message and nothing for the journey 
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