When we start something new we usually begin by counting our resources.  Do you recall the line in the movie The Princess Bride when Inigo Montoya, Westley and Vizzini had to reassess their plans to save the princess because of Inigo’s paralyzed condition?    Facing huge odds and in need a new rescue plan Inigo said to Vizzini, “We must first list our resources, my brains, your brawn, and his wit.”

This is typical for any new beginning, to start by listing the resources we have to work with.

St. Mark’s claim to the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ begins differently, however.  St. Mark’s view of this new beginning calls for a coming to repentance.  To turn from our old ways, as if to say don’t rely on your known resources, this is something very new.  So new, that when you come you must turn away from all you have and know with a willingness to follow “the one who is more powerful than I who is coming after me… and he will baptize (begin anew for you) with the Holy Spirit.”

This new beginning is a call to turn away from our known resources and trust in different resources that come from God by the Holy Spirit.

In many ways we are a paralyzed people; paralyzed by fear, hopelessness, poverty, and injustice.  But this is nothing new, the people from all of Judea and Jerusalem were similarly paralyzed and yet when they heard this crazy word of a new beginning coming from the wilderness, they ALL went with a willingness to turn away from their known resources toward a faith in something unseen.

How are we blinded by our dependence on the resources we have?

How might we turn away from things we depend upon to rely (instead) on a renewed faith?

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