Welcome to Saint Mary’s Church, Harborne, Birmingham, UK.

Order of St. Augustine.

Archdiocese of Birmingham

“Before all else, live together in harmony, being of one mind and one heart on the way to God.”  St. Augustine.

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                                       Fr. Bernard’s Homily for

                                         Sunday 14th January

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Come and See


Mark 1: 35-42

 

During this year, on the Ordinary Sundays, that is when we wear green vestments, we read the Gospel according to Mark, continuously from week to week.  It might be helpful then to say something about this Gospel.

 

It is the first of the Gospels to be written, and it is the shortest.  It was written about the year 64 AD, after St Paul had written his various letters.  Mark was not one of the close disciples of Jesus, so he relied  on St Peter as his source,  Peter who would have given him a very intimate picture of the man Jesus.  He tells little of the teachings of Jesus.  Rather, he tells of Jesus’ healings of the sick of body and spirit, his power over evil spirits, his reaching out to those on the margins of society, he tells of Jesus’ repeated predictions of his passion and death.  He then leaves us to draw our own conclusions.

 

Some years ago, an actor who was temporarily out of work, in order to keep his mind sharp, set himself the task of learning by heart the Gospel according to Mark.  Eventually, when he had completed this formidable task, he decided to perform it publicly.

Amazingly it became a most popular performance.  He recited the Gospel in theatres up and down the country.  The only props on the stage were a table with a glass of water and an ‘open Bible’ as he said ‘just in case’.  Capacity audiences in the theatres listened spellbound to the Gospel according to Mark.

 

As we listen to the Gospel passages week after week, we try to build up in our minds a picture of the man Jesus.  We know he was  the Son of God, but as St Paul tells us, he ‘emptied himself of his divinity’ and took on our humanity with all its limitations.

So what sort of man was he? Can we gradually build for ourselves our own image of the Human Face of Jesus.  As we grow in appreciation of what an attractive human being he was, we try to take some of his qualities to ourselves.

St Paul was overwhelmed by the intimate awareness of Jesus that he developed.  He took to himself the qualities that he saw in Jesus and endeavoured to make them his own, so that he could say ‘I live now, not I but Christ lives in me.’

Nobody could ever imagine that Paul thereby suppressed his individuality – quite the contrary.  Rather his individuality was enhanced and enriched.

 

Looking at to-day’s reading, it tells us something of John the Baptist.  Although John had established a mission for himself which attracted great numbers of people, he diverted attention from himself – he was merely preparing the way for another greater than he.

Today he points out this other: ‘Look there is the Lamb of God’, pointing to Jesus and encouraging two of his disciples to follow Jesus rather than himself.

 

We have taken up this proclamation of Jesus as we prepare for Holy Communion, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’.  It is well to recall where these words come from, how they are an insight of faith on the part of John the Baptist, s faith that we now  endeavour to share.

 

The two disciples then follow Jesus, probably a bit tentative, not quite sure how to get to speak to him.  Jesus gives them the opportunity, ‘What do you want?’  For want of something better to say, they ask ‘Where do you live?’  We can imagine Jesus, with a little smile saying ‘Come and See’

 

‘Come and See’: that is the message to each of us of today’s Gospel.  The two disciples went, spent the evening with Jesus, and they returned to tell anyone interested ‘We have found the Messiah.’

 

They do not tell us what was said as they talked, but clearly they were overwhelmed and convinced.

 

Each of us is invited by Jesus to ‘Come and See’ – see for yourselves.  Each of us endeavours to encounter Jesus in our own way, and to bring him into the circumstances of our own lives.

 

Each Sunday, as we listen to the Gospel passage, we hear the invitation ‘Come and See’,  and endeavour to grow a little more each time in our understanding of the man Jesus, being attracted to following his way, taking him into our very lives, so that like Paul, we can begin to say, ‘I live now, not I but Christ lives in me.’


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