Cougar Dad's Club

Cougar Convers(at)ions - Dad's Bible Study

Next meeting: Friday, February 9, 7:30-8:00am
Location: Karen Vickery office (Lower School main floor)

Questions?  Contact Jason Neff, jneff01@gmail.com or 785.383.0927

Study Notes for Friday (2/9/18) meeting

Printable packet:

Study notes.9Feb18.pdf

READ: Mark 1:40-45

 

40 And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

 

 

PERSONAL MEDITATION - Fr. John Bartunek, from The Better Part

 

What Christ Wants

 

“How merciful the Lord Jesus is towards us, how abundantly kind and good!”

 

– St. Cyprian

 

 

Christ the Lord

 

Leprosy was widespread and incurable at the time of Jesus.  Besides being highly contagious, this bacterial skin infection produces paralysis, nauseating deformities such as the wasting away of fingers, facial features, and entire limbs, and a revolting stench (akin to rotting flesh).  Ancient societies gathered lepers into “colonies” isolated from other occupied centers.  They required anyone suffering from the disease to stay a hundred yards away from noninfected people and carry a bell, which could be rung to avert a close encounter with the healthy.

 

Lepers thus lived in isolation, filth, and poverty until the disease progressed sufficiently to cause their death.  It was (and still is) a powerful analogy for sin, which is a widespread, contagious disease with similar effects on the spiritual plane: it isolates people from one another, causes deformities in character and understanding, and yields a moral stench unbearable to one’s own conscience and the consciences of others.  It also leads to death – spiritual death – and at the time of Christ, it too was incurable.

 

When Christ looks upon this leper and cures him with the mere touch of his hand, he manifests not only his astonishing power over the physical cosmos, but also the ultimate reason behind his coming to earth: to return the outcast hearts of mankind to a living communion with God by taking away our sins.  Jesus Christ is the saving Lord of lepers and sinners – if only we kneel before him with faith.

 

 

DAD’S MEDITATION

 

When someone possesses what we consider to be a defect or abnormality – whether it be illness, poverty, family situation, personality, or intelligence – the easy answer is to just look away and pretend that person doesn’t exist.  Worse still, we can highlight this defect in our jokes or thoughts.  We can make that person, in our mind, nothing more than just the defect or abnormality we see.

 

In my own life, I’ve experienced this in many different ways.  One common instance is with a street beggar – if I have a few dollars, maybe I’ll feel good about myself for helping someone, but I often do it quickly...barely looking into the others’ eyes, wanting the entire situation to just go away so I can get about my day.  It’s as if I don’t want the “leper” to get too close.

 

Recently I experienced this attitude in a different way – at work.  At my office we have weekly investment team meetings to discuss our investment positions.  The analysts in the office, like any other office, have team members of varying abilities: some top performers, some average, and some who really struggle.  Everyone knows the struggling “office lepers,” and beyond struggling in their work, they also tend to have quirky personalities and be less socially comfortable.  The “office lepers” tend to be the object of jokes in offices after our larger meeting.

 

I’m not sure why, but last week God inspired me to look at one of these individuals – to really look at him with the dignity he deserved as a human person made in the image and likeness of God.  And I saw all of my ugly smirks, jokes, and arrogance for what it was – the real leprosy.  I also saw how I have done nothing to help that person.  Here is a colleague I’ve known now for over two years, and I haven’t even offered him something equivalent to the few dollars I could give a beggar on the street.

 

Is there anyone in your life you need to really see for the first time?  Someone who has been a leper to you?  Have you allowed your kids to see you treating someone or speaking about someone as if they were a leper?  How do you fix that today?

 

 

REFLECT:

 

  1. What are some of the ways we tend to disguise (especially from ourselves) our need for God?

 

  1. How can we teach our children to humbly and confidently ask God for what we need?

 

  1. How do you think Christ’s apostles would have reacted during and after this encounter?

 

  1. What can we do to teach our children how to really see and help the “lepers” in their own lives, especially at school?  What specific examples can you think of that are teaching moments?

 

 

FURTHER STUDY: Catechism and Ignatius Bible Study Notes

 

Catechism:

 

1504 Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands,109 mud and washing. The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from him and healed them all.”111 And so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us. (695; 1116)

 

Ignatius Bible Study notes:

 

1:40 a leper: Leprosy was a skin disease that made victims unclean, i.e., unfit to participate in the liturgical life of Israel (Lev 13:1–8). Because ritual uncleanness was considered contagious under the Old Covenant—infecting everyone who came in contact with it—lepers were isolated from society to keep those who were clean separated from those who were unclean (Lev 13:45–46). Jesus reaches across this divide when he touches the leper, and though others would be defiled by such contact, he conquers the uncleanness by the greater power of his holiness (1:41; CCC 1503–5). See note on Mt 8:1–9:38.

1:44 say nothing to any one: The “messianic secret” is a leading theme in Mark. Jesus frequently enjoins silence on demons (1:25, 34; 3:12) and men (5:43; 7:36; 8:30; 9:9) to conceal his identity as the Messiah (CCC 439). Several considerations account for this strategy. (1) Jesus wanted to avoid a sensationalist reputation of being no more than a wonder-worker. Publicizing his deeds by word of mouth comes with the danger that rumors will begin to disconnect his miracles from his saving message. (2) He wanted to sidestep popular expectations that the Messiah would be a political and military leader. (3) He did not wish to ignite the wrath of his enemies before the appointed time of his Passion. See introduction: Themes. show yourself: The Mosaic Law required Levitical priests to inspect lepers and determine their status as clean or unclean (Lev 14:1–32). With approval, an individual pronounced clean would offer sacrifices at the Temple to be reinstated in the worshiping community of Israel. See note on Mt 8:4.

The Cougar Dads Club is open to all HSP men!  

The Dads Club offers HSP Dads an opportunity to interact and contribute through:

  • Periodic social activities - School kickoff social, Braves night, Pig Roast, and more!
  • Faith formation through bi-weekly Scripture reflections on the Sunday mass readings - our "Dads Cougar Convers(at)ions" (Friday mornings from 7:30-8 in the Vickery office at the Lower School)
  • Cougar Dads service day at HSP

Our biweekly newsletter - the Cougar Dad Cave - is designed to keep Dads appraised of Dads Club and Dad-oriented HSP activities, as well as provide ongoing faith formation through Scripture, the Church, and other media relevant for fathers.

Email Jason Neff, Cougar Dads Club leader at jneff@hspdads.com for more information.