Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reflection: Mark 5:21-43

Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time -Mark 5:21-43

Today’s Gospel includes two accounts of Jesus’ healing powers. The first story tells of a synagogue official who was desperate. His daughter was seriously ill and close to death. The official begged Jesus to come and heal her.  Immediately, Jesus went with the official to his house.

However, in the crowd around Jesus, there was another person who also longed to be healed. It was a woman who for many years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had tried all sorts of medications and treatments but nothing helped her. Her hemorrhages continually became more severe. She also was desperate. There was no one else to whom she could turn. She had heard of Jesus and the stories of his preaching, his kindness, and his power to heal. The woman’s faith in Jesus was absolute. She truly believed that if she were able to touch Jesus’ cloak, she would be healed. She knew that she didn’t need to talk with Jesus. She simply needed to touch his garment!

Thus, as Jesus was passing by, she did just that. She quietly and unobtrusively reached out and touched Jesus’ cloak. In that instant, she was healed! However, soft though her touch was, Jesus experienced power flowing out from his being into another.  And he immediately asked: “Who touched my clothing?” Jesus was not angry. He simply wanted to see the face of the person who had touched him and had been healed.

The woman approached Jesus, uncertain and intimidated. Was Jesus angry with her? However, when the woman fell down at Jesus’ feet, he lovingly looked at her and said: “Go in peace! You are cured! Your faith has saved you!” What a wondrous and profound gift Jesus gave to this woman!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Jesus would heal us as he did the woman with the hemorrhage? What is the “bleeding” that we are experiencing? Is it a physical illness, a difficult relationship, the struggle to make ends meet or perhaps the leftovers of shame in our lives? Will we come to Jesus and ask him to heal us, and to make us whole again?

Do we trust that Jesus is healing us, even if we don’t feel it? During these times we need to trust Jesus. We need to believe that he is at work in us, even if we can’t see it or feel it! At these times, we daily need to reach out and touch Jesus’ cloak. His love and healing power will flow through us! And over time, we may realize that we have been healed! However, we have to have complete trust in Jesus and in his love and care for us! Jesus will not disappoint us!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Reflection: Mark 5:1-20

Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 5:1-20

Today’s Gospel is the story of the man who had an unclean spirit.  This man had been dwelling in the tombs.  His disorder was so severe that no one was able to restrain him, not even with a chain.  

When this man caught sight of Jesus, he ran to Him, threw himself on the ground, and cried out: “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”  The man then begged Jesus not to torment him.   Jesus then asked the spirit: “What is your name?”  The spirit told Him: “Legion is my name.  There are many spirits.”  The spirit then begged Jesus not to drive the spirits out of the territory but into a herd of swine that was nearby.  Jesus did as they asked.  Immediately the herd of swine rushed into the sea and was drowned.  When the people realized what Jesus had done, they were astounded and afraid.  Then they begged Jesus to leave their town.
As Jesus was leaving the town, the man he had healed came to him.  The man wanted to follow Jesus.  However, Jesus gently told the man to go home to his family.  He was to announce to them what Jesus had done for him.  The man left and did as Jesus requested and he proclaimed the wonders that Jesus had done for him.  Mark writes, “All were amazed!”

Today take time to remember some of the wonders that Jesus has done for you throughout your life.  Some of the wonders may have been life-changing events.  Other wonders may have been subtler and may have taken place over a period of time.  Do you proclaim the wonders Jesus has done for you to the people in your life?  Do you share with your family or friends how Jesus is present to you and how Jesus is blessing you?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Reflection: Matthew 5:1-12

The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 5:1-12

Today Jesus is teaching his disciples. In his teaching, he gifts them with the Beatitudes. We all are familiar with the Beatitudes. However, do we take the time to sit with these eight beautiful teachings and ask ourselves: “How do I strive to be a living example of this beatitude?”

Today is Sunday, the beginning of a new week. I invite you to read the whole Gospel passage and reflect on it. Then I invite you to simply reflect on the first Beatitude for 5-10 minutes. Ask yourself: how do I live this beatitude in my daily life? What does it mean to me to be poor in spirit? Do I strive to be poor in spirit as I go about my day? Then move on to the second Beatitude and consider the following reflection questions:  Whom do I comfort? How do I strive to show my concern and comfort to others? Whom do I ignore when they need comfort?

If you have sufficient time, you may continue with the other six Beatitudes. Another option is to take one Beatitude a day for the next six days. This will enable you to reflect deeply on each of the Beatitudes and also on how you strive to live them out in your daily life.

Jesus does not want us simply to act.  Jesus wants us to act mindfully, deliberately, and lovingly! Will we choose to do this today? We may not only give a great gift to another, we may receive a great gift as we share the little that we have!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Reflection: Mark 4:35-41

Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 4:35-41

Today’s Gospel begins as Jesus and his disciples are getting into a boat. Remember, Jesus had been teaching all day. He had been surrounded by crowds of people. Most likely, Jesus just wanted some peace and quiet. He must have been tired.

As they crossed the sea, a severe storm came up. The waves were high and strong and the boat began to fill with water. The disciples became afraid. They were concerned for their safety. However, Jesus remained sound asleep despite the violence of the storm. He was completely unaware of the disciples’ fear and concern.

Finally, the disciples woke Jesus up. They accused Jesus of not caring about them. Didn’t He know they were in danger? Didn’t He care about them? Jesus immediately commanded the wind and the seas to be still. And Mark says: “There was a great calm.”

Can you remember a time in your life when the “seas were high” and you were afraid of “drowning?” What was that time like for you? Did you turn to Jesus as His disciples did? Or did you try to control your boat all by yourself? Perhaps the question for us is: do we trust Jesus? Do we turn to Jesus when we are in need? Do we truly believe that Jesus is with us? If not, perhaps we can “wake Him up,” tell Him we are sinking and that we need help! I pray we will! Jesus IS with us!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Reflection: Mark 4:26-34

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 4:26-34

Today Mark writes about seeds– the seeds that we plant in the ground as well as the seeds we plant in our lives.  Seeds are integral to the food chain.  There are billions of seeds that are planted in the earth every year.  Yet, I typically take these seeds and their produce for granted.  I go to the grocery store and buy what I want or need without appreciating the farmers who labor for hours in the fields who share with us the fruit of their labor.

Every human being plants seeds and produces a harvest.  We can plant seeds of harmony, joy and peace; or we can sow seeds of anger, discord, jealousy, or hate.  I invite you to take a moment and ask yourself: What type of seeds am I planting?  You might think over the past few days and review how those days went.  Were the fruits of your choices and actions love, peace, reconciliation, and harmony?  Or were the fruits of those days discord, anger, or indifference?  Be mindful today!  Strive to interact with others in a respectful, kind, and loving manner.  It is a great gift to give!  And perhaps today someone may give you this gift!