The talk by Rev Fr Joseph Stephen started after a short praise and worship. In explaining scripture Mark 3:31-35, Fr Joe asked the audience to bear in mind that St Mark wrote this gospel between 30-60AD before the fall of the Jerusalem Temple in 72AD for the gentile community who later became Christians. This scripture is not about Mary or his brothers but about Jesus who is the Good News [Evangelium in Greek].
People wear masks in that they want to project the good side of themselves and oftentimes to get approval of others. People are afraid to look deep within, fearful of what they may discover which not be good, likeable. When experiencing the down sides of their personality, they pray and pray and wonder why God is not answering their prayers. It took a long time to delve looking into ourselves in Christian Spirituality. Only in the last century did psychologists invite us to look within to discover the darkness/unknown.
Around 400AD, St Augustine wrote “Lord, help me to know myself that I may know you better” encountered the Good News who is Jesus. Augustine went from being a pagan who led a very colourful life to become a Christian, then a priest, then bishop and theologian and doctor of the church. He looked within.
Fr Joe said that hope, in the context of church, is Jesus himself who is the about the new life he offers. Lent is a time of silent inward journey, working on things and asking God to teach us so that we will experience Easter.
(Talk was organised by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal group; Report by Kenna Lau)
24 January 2018