Gospel Reflections

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 8:27-35

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Bernadette Turgeon

Published: September 16, 2018

Read Mark 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" They said... Read More…


In today's second reading James teaches that Faith must be demonstrated in one’s works. In the Gospel Jesus said;  “For whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”

These are strong messages and speak to us who live in a world of self- indulgence. Faith of itself is dead if our neighbor is in need and we do not respond.  What good is our Faith? It always amazes me, how simple deeds can make the biggest difference. I live in a city that has lots of homeless, many of them Veterans. Catholic Charities sponsors a soup kitchen and shelter. This meets the needs of many homeless. However, we still have homeless people walking the streets, many because of mental health issues.

In our parish the Parish Nurse program has a knitting group each Tuesday. Most participants are elderly and meet for companionship. One woman was knitting a beautiful wool blanket. I asked if she was making it for someone special. Her response was “yes”. The special person was homeless. I continued to have this discussion and found out that this was the sixth blanket she had made. There is a park, in the midst of our downtown area with a special bench. She brings the blankets to the bench, says a special prayer that God would make sure a needy person gets it and walks away. “The bench” is where clothes are left.  Some leave lunches each day, anything the homeless would need. I picked up on the “walking away.” When I questioned her on that statement she looked at me, a Sister of Notre Dame and asked, “Don’t you trust God?”

I have not left anything on the bench and I also knit. As the weather gets colder I will visit the “bench”. It will be very hard to walk away. Since she asked if I trusted God and I said “yes,” I will.

Our world is full of so many needs both simple and very complicated, but I do believe no matter what our circumstances, our faith and the example of Jesus Christ who gave His life for us should help us take up the cross with the needs of others attached.

We could write a 1,000 page book just listing all the needs of the world, maybe it would have to be many thousands of pages. As I reflect on the reading of this Sunday, I just have to look around the parish I work in, the city where I live, the children that I work with, the call of other Sisters on Notre Dame and know that my Faith calls me to follow Jesus on the cross .

As you reflect on the reading of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary time ask yourself are there needs in your neighborhood, your cities and towns, our country, our world  where you can be part of alleviating the problem?

A blanket on a park bench is a small act, but not so small if a homeless person has nothing to keep himself/herself warm on a cold night.

 

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