Snakes and poisons


The local priest, David, likes to go rock climbing in Patagonia when he gets a break, which means he has a clear eye and a firm handshake. We get on fine. Today was the time for Mark 16:18.
This Gospel passage always brings to mind the old images of those crazed zealots who used to gather up arms full of adders and fling them about rented halls, daring the Gospel to protect them. Some were lucky. Same with poison. They drank it by the jugful.
Some were unlucky.

David didn’t linger on the reading, other than to say the snakes and poison were an exaggeration of the dangers we all face as we fight our way to the end of our journey. No argument from me.
Anyway, David and I had our usual two minutes after Mass and I said to him that maybe the reading was not meant to be exaggeration: there could be a literal truth to it.
That got his attention.
‘What say,’ said I, 'that a missionary wandering the trails of the Congo comes upon a tribe who wants to listen to the Word and and a witchdoctor who doesn’t. And what if the witchdoctor set about to poison the missionary at the first opportunity, and to be rid of God’s word and the freedom that is one of its foundations.
‘What say,’ I said to Father David, ‘if that’s where the poison doesn’t work?’



St. Paul was apparently bitten by a venomous snake when he was shipwrecked on Malta but suffered no harm. (Acts 28:1-6)


God is in control of all things. If an individual poisonous snake affects you or not is part of his design.


Y’all got one or two snakes to worry about.

We got 5 of the top ten most venomous snakes in the world. :stretcher:


Be careful. I saw a show on one of the poisonous snakes. Even if you pick one up that looks dead you can get the poison and die very quickly.


Those sects that hold this scripture about snakes and poison as literal just can’t stand to take John chapter 6 literal.


This is about St. Benedict medal…

“…St. Benedict’s life: he’d been living as a hermit in a cave for three years, famous for his holiness, when a religious community came to him after the death of their abbot and asked Benedict to take over. Some of the “monks” didn’t like this plan and attempted to kill him with poisoned bread and wine. Just as St. John the Divine was miraculously saved from being poisoned, when St. Benedict made the sign of the Cross over these things, he came to know they were poisoned, so he toppled the cup and commanded a raven to carry off the bread.”

For more info about the medal…


The snakes are Satan and the poisonous drinks are heresies. If one is well grounded in the Faith and the Teachings of the Church, one will not be tempted by Satan nor diverted by heresies.


Yet one should not tempt the Lord.


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