Gospel Sermons For Sundays After Pentecost (Middle Third)
Willy Loman lived in a world of indifference; nobody seemed to care about him and others. It was a world where people thought mostly of themselves. Willy was a traveling salesman, but not a very good one. For many years he had been on the road, traveling from one city to another, one hotel to a second. His area was all of New England. Several times each year he would make his rounds, going from his home in New York north to Waterbury, Connecticut, then on to Providence, Boston, and north still further to Portland and Bangor in Maine before returning home.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.