In todays gospel and that of next Sunday Jesus is wandering on the fringes of
Palestine, in the land to the north and then next Sunday to the east, across the Jordan
River. He is depicted as avoiding the hostility of his adversaries and instructing his
followers who are traveling with him, free from the crowds that followed him when he was
teaching in Galilee. The miracle story doubtless reflects an actual incident in the life
of Jesus. It also is aimed at those members of the community who, because they would not
hear, could not speak about the work of Jesus. Note that like so many of Jesuss
miracles, this one is relatively simple. Marks repeated theme is that Jesus did
indeed do signs and wonders but refused demands for spectacular signs because he was not
merely a wonder worker but a prophet, a prophet who opens the hears of all, as the first
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Andrew M. Greeley's
Columns for the
Once upon a time there was a lake which
usually froze over in the winter. It was a great place to skate and very safe as long as
the weather remained cold. Normally parents began to worry about the lake only after March
15 because the lake was in the Middle West where winter lasts till, like May, sometimes.
Anyway, this one winter was quite warm (for the middle west) and little pools of water
often appeared in the lake at the end of a day, though they froze again over night. The
police warned everyone who lived near the Lake to be careful because the ice might be very
thin in some places. Parents in turn warned their children, who, like kids often do,
skillfully tuned out everything their parents said. So a lot of parents ordered the kids
to stay away from the lake. Well, one week in late February there was a fierce cold spell
and the Lake seemed to have returned to its old, icy self. The kids all wanted to skate.
Teachers told them not to. Their parents told them not to. The kids listened and nodded
dutifully. How, they said, could there be thin ice when it was so cold. Most of the kids,
more because of fear of being punished then fear of the lake, stood on the shore and
watched as five of them, three boys and two girls, shouting that the others were
chicken skated all around the lake and had a grand old time. Then all five of
them were for just a moment in the same place and, well . . . You know what happened.
There was a sound like someone had fired a gun. The ice cracked all around them and they
were suddenly on an ice island in the middle of the lake at least twenty feet from any
other ice which was still cracking and breaking up. Then the little ice island
looked like it was going to sink. Then one little boy, the worst chicken of all because he
was smart, ran into a house and called 911. In ten minutes a police helicopter
arrived and lifted the five kids off the ice island. Do I have to tell you what the cops
said to them? Or their parents? Or how long they were grounded from skating?
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