In the Gospel for Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Jesus learns that the daughter of the synagogue official has died. Jesus tells him to not be afraid and to have faith. Jesus brings the young girl back to life. We all have relationships that need new life: an estranged family member, difficult co-worker, stalled prayer life, and more. For healthier relationships, something has to change. We have to change. Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid; just have faith” (Mark 5: 36). How about you?
The Psalm for Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time is a cry to God for help against adversaries. Perhaps they mock the psalmist for reliance on God in difficult circumstances. Yet the psalmist still trusts in God for sustenance. Anxiety is one of my adversaries. Oftentimes I struggle to start the day. I find comfort in prayer. I am doing God’s work, not my own. God sustains me through the day. Who sustains you?
Jesus tells the parable of the mustard seed in the Gospel for Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time. He compares the seed to the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of God grows from the smallest of seeds into the largest of trees. The good we do makes a difference. Any act of love has an incredible impact. God knows the ripple effects of the smallest of kindnesses. The loving things we do really matter. They make the loving presence of God more real here and now. What seeds are you planting?
In the Reading for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, God tells Ananias to rescue Saul blinded by his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Despite Saul’s reputation for persecuting Christians, Ananias responds, “Here I am, Lord” (Acts 9: 10). I admire the trust Ananias has. He generously responds despite the risk to his life. Fear can paralyze me. I want to do the loving thing. Yet I am worried about what’s going to happen. I pray to say “Here I am, Lord.” How about you?
In the Reading for Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Samuel reports that King “David grew steadily more powerful for the LORD of hosts was with him” (2 Samuel 5: 10). Like David, God is with me. Jesus lives in every one baptized in water and the Holy Spirit. Jesus empowers me to face the struggles of daily life with faith, hope, and love. These virtues strenghten me like vitamins for the soul. What spiritual vitamins do you need?
Jesus appoints the twelve Apostles in the Gospel for the Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time. He appoints them that “they might be with him … and [that] he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3: 14). Notice Jesus appoints them first to be with him. Then they can preach and drive out demons. A disciple’s first responsibility is a loving relationship with Jesus. I get preoccupied by what I am supposed to do. I neglect what I am supposed to be … in love with God. Everything else follows. What are you “being” today?
In the Gospel for Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, a large crowd followed Jesus. They had heard how he had cured many. “Those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him” (Mark 3: 10). I am sceptical of healing miracles. In today’s world of modern medicine, miracle stories seem quaint and naive. Beside, I’m healthy. My blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar are good. Yet I still need healing from anger, jealousy, and other moral ailments. I picture myself reaching out to touch the healing hand of Jesus. How about you?
Saul commissions David to fight the Philistine in the Reading for Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time. “Go! the LORD will be with you!” the king tells the shepherd boy. With his sling shot David prevails. I do not believe God condones violence. I do admire David and Saul for their confidence in God. Up against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, they relied on God’s help. I face daily struggles, some more difficult than others. I take confidence that God is with me. The Lord be with you today.
God sends Samuel to anoint a new king in the Reading for the Memorial of Saint Anthony. God chooses David, the most unlikey of Jesse’s sons. “Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16: 7). My vision is often blurred. I see things unfolding and people behaving my way. When I see with God’s eyes, good things happen in surprising and unexpected ways. Does God surprise you?
Jesus cures the paralytic in the Gospel for Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time. After squabbling with the Pharisees over forgiving the paralytic, Jesus tells him to get up and go home. When the paralytic does, the crowd exclaims, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2: 12). I too have experienced the power of God in my life. I have never seen anything like the birth my sons, the smile of my wife, the kindness of a stranger. How about you?