Soundings

By Father David Fisher

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Want to learn more from different perspectives about our lessons? Soundings is a an opportunity for our Clergy to provide different insights into our readings and scripture. You may not always agree with the Clergy's interpretations. But that is why Soundings was created. To invite thoughtful discussion. You are welcome to email the author of each article to provide your comments. Welcome to Soundings!


The Plumb Line

By Father David Fisher

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From 1978 – 1980, I taught philosophy and religious studies at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL. At Blackburn, all students worked – some in housekeeping, some in the kitchen, and some in construction. One day as I walked across campus I encountered a student I knew. He was standing ,beside a somewhat off key wall, cursing a blue streak. “What’s wrong”, I asked? “Oh, Prof. Fisher; sorry. I forgot the plumb line on this @$*&% wall and I’ll have to tear it down and start over.” I resisted the temptation to cite the prophet Amos: The Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A plumb-line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘See, I am setting a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

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Prophets Are Not Without Honor

By Father David Fisher

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Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Mark 6:4-6 The prophets of ancient Israel are often seen as predictors of future events. While some prophets did prophecy in this sense, the core of their mission was to see through the half-truths and lies which the powerful used to conceal their wrong-doing. When the prophet Nathan tricked King David with a parable ending with the accusation “Thou art the man!”, David realized that his duplicity in arranging Uriah’s death in battle had been revealed.

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To Be Made Well

By Father David Fisher

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In a recent blog post, James R. Dennis, O.P. writes:

At the time of the events reported in today’s Gospel from Mark, Jairus’ daughter was twelve years old. The woman had suffered from her hemorrhaging for twelve years. These two are linked together, as the life flows out of them. One is a daughter of a man of honor and prestige, the other an “unclean” woman lost in her desperation. Both the woman with the blood disorder and the little girl who had died are impure; by touching them, Jesus will share in this impurity. And yet, through the touch of this unique Rabbi, both will find new life.

Both Jairus and the woman with the blood disorder ask “to be made well” (sozo in the Greek). This implies not just a curing them from their physical ailments, but also making them whole, restoring them, saving them. Both Jairus’ daughter and the hemorrhaging woman were made well. But Jesus offered them more than simply restoration of their health; He offered them life.

I don’t think these two stories are simply about Jesus’ remarkable power, or even about miracles. Jesus didn’t come to show us how powerful He was; He came to show us how much God loved us. He came to teach us about the extraordinary power of faith, and about the limitless compassion of the Living God. And if we will reach out to touch His Son, we also will be made well, and live.

The Third Sunday After Pentecost

By Father David Fisher

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Despite the value of mustard seeds for flavor and medicinal purposes, it is not something you want in your garden. Think mint on steroids. It does grow into a fairly large bush, maybe four feet tall, and will spread quickly to every horizon. And what would you do with all that mustard plant? If you have ever cooked mustard greens, you will know that a little bit goes a long way. It has a horseradish kick, and you are not going to eat like you would potatoes or tomatoes. Mustard, in the Middle East, is a weed growing on the hillside, filling in the untamed and agriculturally undesirable spots. )

John Dominic Crossan, commenting on the parable of the mustard seed, observes that “The point is not just that the mustard plant starts as a proverbially small seed and grows into a shrub of three, four, or five feet in height. It is that it tends to take over where it is not wanted, that it tends to get out of control, and that it tends to attract birds within cultivated areas, where they are not particularly desired. And that, said Jesus, is what the Kingdom of God was like. Like a pungent shrub with dangerous take-over properties.” (Jesus A Revolutionary Biography, page 65).

A House Divided

By Father David Fisher

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And Jesus said “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
In the USA today, we face a crisis in imagination.
Divided as we are, we are unable to imagine ourselves as one nation under God nor to imagine those we fear or hate as neighbors to be loved.
Divided as we are, we are unable to imagine a solution to our
discontent that reaches out in love toward the stranger, rather
than using force - force of ballots, force of argument, and
in the end, force of arms – to destroy our enemies.
We refuse to recognize our oneness as creatures of a loving God.
fashioned in His likeness.

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