Sybil 2007

Gospel text

Mark 1, 12-15

12. The Spirit immediately brings him to withdraw to an isolated place. 13 And he spent these forty days in this isolated place to be confronted with his vulnerabilities and the desire to be all-powerful, surrounded by wild animals. However the messengers of God supported him.

14 After John's imprisonment, Jesus went to Galilee announcing the good news from God aloud: "The time has come for the world of God to begin to reach you. Let yourself be transformed by trust in this good news. "


In the midst of our disappointment and our isolation, the desire for authenticity is still there and waiting for our consent

Gospel commentary - Homily

Are we different from Wall Street traders?

Some time ago, a financial tsunami completely changed our world. The stock market gimmick from some speculators to hide them from high-risk mortgages collapsed like a house of cards, resulting in bankruptcy a myriad of financial institutions. The consequences are enormous. First of all, there are people like this woman from the American East, mother of two children, who had contracted one of these loans without talking to her husband, and who preferred to kill herself rather than facing humiliation of losing her home. But there is also the impact on the economy with credit restriction: banks no longer have the cash flow to lend and do not even trust each other. Dark days are coming for large sectors of our society. What happened? Whose fault is it?

The financiers will come up with their own solutions, while the politicians will try to limit the damage while setting new rules. Yet a financial crisis is nothing new. But unless we oversimplify everything to mean speculators, we have here a fine example of human history in which good intentions, brilliant finds, and perversions intermingle. Because at the origin of this initiative was the noble intention of giving access to property to people who otherwise would never have been able to. In this context, can we find some light in today's Gospel?.

Jesus has just had a shocking experience when he was baptized by John the Baptist, when he discovered himself loved in a particular way by God. He feels the need to step back from what he has just experienced. Without the usual everyday life to distract, he finds himself alone with himself, confronted with everything that inhabits him. The Gospel says, "He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan. Which I translate as: "And he spent these forty days in this isolated place to be confronted with his vulnerabilities and the desire to be all-powerful". For Satan is the symbol of God's adversary in us, therefore the symbol of all that in us prevents us from being the true, authentic and wonderful being that God has created. Also, before demonizing the financiers and brokers, let us think again of Jesus: he too tries to follow his desire for a better world expressed by his baptism following the preaching of John the Baptist, who also experiences to be a privileged being in relationship with the source of this world; but at the same time he experiences his limits, he experiences internal tension of being divided by contradictory forces aroused by the possibility of controlling everything, escaping from physiological constraints and personal history, and avoiding triviality through an international reputation. And in the Jewish world, the number forty has a symbolic value, since it means the time of a generation, in other words, a whole life. Jesus lived this confrontation all his life, like us.

But is this all that the Gospel has to say to us: Jesus was like us in the rifts we can live? Here, a sentence is central to understanding this story: "The angels served him. Which I prefer to translate as: "The messengers of God supported him". In other words, Jesus had people in his life who helped him through his vulnerabilities, he experienced events and beings that helped him avoid those pitfalls that would have kept him from his deep being and his mission. And that is why Jesus begins to proclaim: "The time has come for the world of God to begin to reach you. Let yourself be transformed by trust in this good news". Jesus has just experienced this world of God transforming him from within.

Whoever we are, financial, hardworking, religious, entrepreneur, teacher, retired, the world of God is in us and constantly asking to occupy a little more space, not by doing more things called "religious", but by more authenticity. Most often, this demand takes the form of a call to love and to avoid the multiple forms of fleeing from our own life. Also, to speak of "repentance" or "conversion" does not mean "to feel guilty" or "to make an effort", but simply to consent to desires that come from the best of oneself, out of the hubbub of so many other desires. This is why the human journey is above all the consent to be transformed by the calls of life in itself.

Are financiers and brokers different from us? No. They reflect us, they reflect the complexity of life where contradictory desires assail us, as it happened to Jesus. But Jesus said: it is enough to say yes to what we perceive best in oneself, and victory will come. Do we really believe it?


-André Gilbert, Gatineau, October 2008