30 September 2018 - Ordinary 26

Vicar’s Reflection: 30th September 2018, Ordinary Sunday 26

Many a filing cabinet has a folder labelled “miscellaneous”; into which we put anything that is not easy to categorise or as the Cambridge dictionary says: ‘a mixture of various things that are not usually connected with each other.’ When Mark wrote his Gospel, it is said that he gathered up the recollections of Peter and set them down as best he could remember, but not in order. There is some evidence that Mark was Peter’s son (1 Peter 5.13). You can see as you read through the middle section of Mark’s Gospel, from the calling of the first disciples to the Last Supper, that it is a cluster of teachings, off-the-cuff lessons, recounting of events, healings and encounters of various kinds. Then there is this section in today’s reading which is kind of like a miscellaneous cluster of teachings in response to an innocent enquiry from John asking Jesus about an outsider using the name of Jesus. I can imagine Mark thinking, as he listened to the disjointed recollections of his elderly father, where on earth can I put all these sayings that don’t fit anywhere else? I know! Right here where Jesus gives John a blast. So we have these rather harsh words about cutting off hands and feet, millstones around necks, worms, salt and fire. Quite a mixture really! If there is a common connection it is that the mission to seek and save the lost must take higher priority than anything else. Not so miscellaneous after all.

Alex Czerwonka

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