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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Jesus and Gehenna 

 



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The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time continues our journey through the Gospel of Mark. In this week's readings we look at a gospel that’s very sobering, very serious, but very important, and that's Jesus’ teachings on hell, which he refers to with the Aramaic word Gehenna. So before I jump into the gospel, just as a kind of preface, I think it's really important to notice that although in our own day and time the topic of hell, the idea of eternal separation from God, has become very unpopular, it’s important to remember that in the gospels, if you look at the New Testament in the gospels as a whole, Jesus actually speaks about the fires of hell, the punishments of hell, the reality of Gehenna more times in the Gospels than the rest of the New Testament combined. So this is really an important issue in the teaching and preaching ministry of Jesus Christ, so it needs to be important for us as well, however unpopular it might be. So what we’re going to do today is look at what he has to say about this reality, and then try to make sure we understand it in it’s First Century Jewish context and in light of the tradition and the official teaching of the Catholic Church. So the gospel for today is from Mark as I said, but in this case we’re looking at Mark 9:38-48...

 

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