Sermon Notes by Fr. Eugene A. Thalman M.M. for homilists and religion teachers.
Embargo: Catholics are welcome to read after Noon, Sunday


Recently Marlo fell in love with Fontina. Once a week he takes her out for dinner. Once a month they go for a long walk in the park. Sometimes they just sit and don' t say anything. When he comes home from work he is very tired. But he still telephones Fontina and chats with her for a couple of minutes. At work he is often thinks of her. He has even taken on an extra job so that one day he will have enough money to marry Fontina. Sometimes he doesn’ t eat lunch and uses the money to buy flowers for Fontina. Although his work is very demanding and requires his close attention, he wears a pin she gave him and he often thinks of her and smiles. Why does he do this things? He loves Fontina and wants to make her happy.

THIRD CONFLICT The story of Marlo and Fontina helps us understand today's gospel about Jesus’ third battle with his critics. Mark continues the story of why people criticized Jesus and put him to death.

According to Jewish law, there was only one mandatory fast per year. A fast meant that you didn't eat anything during the hours between dawn and sunset. However, John's disciples and many Pharisees fasted two days every week: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everyone agreed that John the Baptist and these Pharisees were holy people. Therefore, if Jesus were a good person, he and his disciples should also fast.

Jesus answers: "If someone invites you to a wedding feast and you refused to eat, it would be an insult to the couple. Some occasions are appropriate times for fasting and other times are appropriate times for rejoicing. Now, the Savior has come and it is appropriate not to fast but to joyfully celebrate.

This made the Jewish leaders very angry. Jesus was saying that sometimes fasting did not make God happy! Jesus had the audacity to say that he knew what God was thinking and what things pleased God. "Who does Jesus think he is?"

Perhaps there was some disputes among Mark's early Christian community in Rome about fasting. Some said: "If you want to please God, you have to fast two days a week." Others said: "No, other things are more important such as attending holy hours, reading the bible, reading special prayers.

The Pharisees saw God as a ruthless factory boss. He values a worker according to the number of computers he produces. The Pharisees says that the more days one fasts and the more prayers one says, the more she pleases God. Jesus teaches us says that the purpose of all devotions is to express our love and devotion to God. Otherwise these fasting and prayers have no value and may even be harmful to oneself and others.

In these verses of Mark, Jesus now teaches us that our devotions must be appropriate to the circumstances of our life. Marlo did not quit his job in order to spend more time with Fontina. Indeed he did his job better so that he could better care for Fontina. Marlo did many things to express his love: flowers, telephone calls and he fasted so he could buy gifts for Fontina. Marlo expressed his love for Fontina appropriately.

CHOOSING Today we at Lady of Fatima ask ourselves: "This week how will I show my love for God. What kind of prayers and practices will deepen my friendship with God? The Eucharist is the center of our devotional life here at Our Lady of Fatima. But in addition we have a variety of wonderful religious activities through which we deepen our relationship with God and make God happy: But in addition there are our Marian Movement of Priests, October Devotions, Sunday Afternoon Holy Hour, our Saturday night silent prayer, Retreats. Stations of Cross, St. Cruzan Day, Bible prayer group etc. We are also encouraged to say beautiful prayers, meditate on Holy Scripture, read spiritual, visits to the Church. These are all wonderful devotions and can please God.

Our task this morning is to discover those devotions which are appropriate for me? Under the circumstances of my life, my family obligations, my work, my health, what devotions might be suitable ways for me to please God, our heavenly Father?

Maria is a Filipina maid. She takes care of a baby. When she gets up she is too tired to pray. She just says: "Good morning, Jesus. Thank-you for another day." Then she makes breakfast for her employer. She is busy all day. During the day, when Maria meets someone: a member of the family, a neighbor, another Filipina, the lady who sells fish, she says silently: "You are my sister. May God give you many gifts today." But at night when she puts the baby to bed she sits until the baby falls asleep. When the baby falls asleep, Maria experiences God's presence and likes to think about God.

We could give millions of examples because each person situation is different. Let us think about the kind of appropriate things we will do this week to show God that we truly love him.


ONE WORD: Devotions

THEME: Our devotions must be appropriate to the circumstances of our life.

SCRIPTURE: `"Why is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?"

Desired Result: Father, last week I thought about my devotions, I am going to make some changes that I think might make God happy. I am going to try Maria's approach.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: #2698 "The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer."


1. After Christmas I went to the Maryknoll house at Stanley. I was in our small chapel-my favorite place of prayer. Then a priest brought some visitors into the chapel. I think it would have pleased God if I got up and spoke a few words to the visitors. Instead, I continued to pray and they were impressed. "Fr. Hoh is such a holy man."

2. Lovers like to express their love for the beloved in a variety of ways. Gifts, telephone calls, little acts of service, spending time with the beloved and even say things that sound silly and exaggerated. I once heard a girl say: "I love him so much, I could die!" God isn't turned off by such expressions if they flow from a heart full of affection.

3. At ninety, my mother makes God happy. She does not walk well. But each day she says three rosaries. Each decade of the rosary is for a different person. Then she has a packet of beautiful prayers. She is so busy praying that there is just not time to finish them all before she falls asleep. That is a suitable way for her to pray.

4. Albert is a university student. Each evening he comes home on the last ferry. Martin works in Central, he shows his love for God by reading the Psalms on the ferry back to Cheung Chau. He often falls asleep. But God knows that Martin loves him and that Martin enjoys praising God by praying the Psalms. This is a suitable way for Albert to pray.


CHEWING THE WORD OF GOD-AME_________________

Mark 2: 18-22 Yr. B (8th Sunday) February 27, 2000

  1. The Pharisees treated God like a greedy e__________r whom we please by doing more and more fasting and say more and more prayers.
  2. Jesus reminds us that we should choose devotions that are a___________e to our state in life, our family o_________ns and those which deepen our r___________p with God.
  3. The foundation of all our devotions is a desire to show our L__e to our Loving F_____r.
  4. (Optional) (Write on back) Make a practical menu of the things you wish to do routinely each day to please God.