James writes about a living faith in the Reading for Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time. “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2: 17). Pope Francis’ faith is alive. He puts his faith into practice. He does not only talk about love. He visits prisoners. He embraces little children. He comforts troubled souls. How do you put your faith into loving action?
The Pharisees test Jesus in the Gospel for Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time. “The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him” (Mark 8: 11). They sought proof. They wanted a sign from God that Jesus was the messiah. I have demanded proof from God. When my mother died, I doubted God’s promise of life after death. God gave me loving reassurance. How do you know that God loves you?
Jesus heals the sick in the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Scholastica. “Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed” (Mark 6: 56). Laying the sick in the marketplaces makes me think of those in need of healing today. As a follower of Jesus, I have the power to heal those I meet in my “marketplaces”. I can reassure my wife who is facing a challenging day of work. I can tell my paralyzed brother I am praying for him. I can ask the grocery store clerk how her day is going. I can visit a sick friend in the hospital. And more. How do you heal those you encounter everyday?
Sirach praises King David in the Reading for Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time. “With his every deed he offered thanks to God Most High, in words of praise” (Sirach 47: 8). Sirach portrays David as a person with a grateful heart. David thanked God for everything. He realized his dependence on God. A talented and competent leader, he always gave God credit for his accomplishments. And he relied on God’s mercy when he sinned. Christians do well to follow his example. Only with God are all things possible. For what recent blessings have you thanked God?
Jesus astonishes his neighbors in the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Agatha. “They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,’ ” (Mark 6:2b-3a). The Nazoreans did not believe an ordinary villager could work miracles. Like them I underestimate others ability to help me. I do not want to admit I need help. I might appear vulnerable. Everybody needs help. We cannot do it alone. God provides for us through the loving care of others. In what surprising ways does God provide for you?
Jesus cured a man possessed by unclean spirits in the Gospel for Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time. Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Unclean spirit, come out of the man!’ … and the unclean spirits came out” (Mark 5: 8b, 13a). The Risen Lord still has the power to drive away unclean spirits. Jesus can heal us of our demons of fear, worry, addiction, grief and more. From what demons do you ask for healing?