Mark 4:35-41

As noted in previous posts, Barclay has a tendency to “naturalize” some of the events in the life of Jesus.  One of the main ways he does this is by suggesting that demon possession, for example, was merely a psychological illness; a serious illness to be sure, with staggering consequences, yet truly a product of the mind.

Now, I don’t dismiss that psychological illness could play a role in something like demon possession, and that the power of cultural beliefs (here, a cultural belief in the reality of demon possession) can exacerbate and extend suffering in some cases.  Let us indeed consider the  nuances.

Still, from a very (fortunately) limited experience and from second-hand information, it is hard for me to dismiss the other possibility – that demons take some form in reality.  That is, people are sometimes stricken completely outside of their wishes (however masochistic these can be), and the condition manifests a kind of power and fury that borders on supernatural.

The trouble with this “naturalizing” of miracles, as I see it, is two-fold:  One, it often seems a stretch to draw out of the context that these things were other than supernatural acts.  Two – even if . . . → Read More: Mark 4:35-41


Quick note:  I hope/plan to finish the Gospel of Mark before Holy Week, and then to finish reading the second part of the Pope’s study on the person of Jesus.  It’s really, really good, and I unreservedly recommend it if you’re at all interested.

I’ve taken to heart this notion that Jesus, when called upon, did not insist on his own need for rest or solitude.

He did take opportunities for these things, and it does not seem that he experience the kind of ambitious restlessness which is common today.  Rather, he did not look at a person in need and say, “Maybe later, but now I need to rest.”

A self-indictment is necessary here:  I have spent too much time insisting on my own equilibrium, mainly at work.  At home, this is just an impossible thing, far even from ludicrous.

But at work, you know – no one cries, or screams.  At least, not the co-workers.  They’re not your direct charges at all times.  You can almost pretend to be something else, in order to protect your interests.


I’ve taken the example of Jesus to heart at work.  Rather than *barely* hiding my exasperation over one thing or . . . → Read More: Self-forgetting

Letter to the Editor

Now interrupting the series of posts on the Gospel according to Mark for this (important?) bulletin…

In other places I have commented on my love of local newspapers.  We get the Joliet Herald News, and I read every issue.

This guy, a columnist named George Gaspar, finally got my goat one too many times.  I am compelled to write …A LETTER TO THE EDITOR!

Here is his column.  Below is my response (not sure why it’s in bold).


With 300 words or less, the Editor has put me at a disadvantage.  I can’t have all of my grievances redressed, so we’ll’ve [sic] to settle for the major point.

Mr. Gaspar obfuscates the point in his March 2 “Viewpoint” column.  He would swing the weight of women’s rights like a medieval mace in order to beat the Church back into the Dark Ages, where it becomes an easy target to malign and calumniate.  (This would be interesting to explore; at a glance, I would offer that Thomas Aquinas could express a better argument in sighs than Gaspar has in this column).

Let’s be honest – whether the “extremist” Republicans or the “extremist” Catholics want to turn back the clock is . . . → Read More: Letter to the Editor