Why People Don't Believe Them and What You Can Do About It, Cycle A
March 7, 1961, was by all appearances an ordinary day. My brothers and I were sledding under the yard light just after dusk on the small hill between the house and the barn. Mom and our little sister were in the kitchen fixing supper. We could tell something was wrong the moment Dad got out of the car. His shoulders sagged and there was no light in his eyes. "Daddy's gone," was all he said, referring to his father, his voice breaking and his eyes filling with tears, as he passed us on the way to the house. Two words, and my whole world collapsed.
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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.