1) Opening prayer
All-powerful and ever-living God,
direct your love that is within us,
that our efforts in the name of your Son
may bring mankind to unity and peace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 4,21-25
He also said to them, 'Is a lamp brought in to be put under a tub or under the bed? Surely to be put on the lamp-stand? For there is nothing hidden, but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light. Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!'
He also said to them, 'Take notice of what you are hearing. The standard you use will be used for you -- and you will receive more besides; anyone who has, will be given more; anyone who has not, will be deprived even of what he has.'
• The lamp which gives light. At that time, there was no electric light. Imagine all that follows. The family is at home. It begins to get dark. The father lifts up the small lamp, he lights it and places under the tub or under the bed. What will the others say? They will began to scream: “Father, place it on the table!” This is the story that Jesus tells. He does not explain. He only says: Anyone who has ears to listen, should listen! The Word of God is the lamp which should be lit in the darkness of the night. If it remains closed up in the closed Book of the Bible, it is like a small lamp under the tub. When it is united to the life in community, there it is placed on the table and it gives light!
• Be attentive to preconceptions. Jesus asks the disciples to become aware of the preconceptions with which they listen to the teaching which he offers. We should be attentive to the ideas which we have when we look at Jesus! If the colour of the eyes is green, everything seems to be green. If they are blue, everything will be blue! If the idea with which we look at Jesus were mistaken, everything which I think about Jesus will be threatened of being an error. If I think that the Messiah has to be a glorious King, I will understand nothing of what the Lord teaches and I will see that everything is mistaken.
• Parable: a new way of teaching and of speaking of Jesus. Jesus used parables, above all, to teach: this was his way. He had an enormous capacity to find very simple images to compare the things of God with the things of the life which people knew and experienced in the daily struggle to survive. This presupposes two things: to be inside, involved in the things of life, and to be inside, involved in the things of the Kingdom of God.
• The teaching of Jesus was diverse from the teaching of the Scribes. It was a Good News for the poor, because Jesus revealed a new face of God, in which people could recognize themselves and rejoice. “I bless you, Father, Lord of Heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do!” (Mt 11, 25-28).
4) Personal questions
• The Word of God, a lamp which gives light. What place does the Bible have in my life? What light do I receive?
• Which is the image of Jesus that I have within me? Who is Jesus for me and who am I for Jesus?
5) Concluding prayer
Taste and see that Yahweh is good.
How blessed are those who take refuge in him. (Ps 34,8)