Scripture this week reveals to us the power faith holds, and the blessings we receive, once we believe and trust in God. Scripture is rich this week with stories of Jesus healing the wounded, casting out demons and saving the lost. Jesus did this as he went about preaching the Word of God to the people. The crowds followed Jesus everywhere – crowds of people seeking healing and happiness. Crowds of people who placed all their faith in Jesus Christ. They hung on his every word and they took the steps necessary to be near him.
He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” – Mark 1:38 (NRSVCE)
And we know that is was through their faith that Jesus was able to work his miracles. The faith of the paralytic, and his companions, allowed for the healing they sought. Sadly, many during the time of Jesus did not have faith in him, and as a result they did not enter into the rest God offers. It seems that lack of faith hasn’t changed today. Looking around the modern world we still witness people seeking healing that Jesus Christ offers – real, true eternal healing and rest. However, many are like the ancestors Paul talked about in today’s first reading. They do not receive healing because, even though they have received the Good News, they do not believe in its message.
My Recent Vacation
I just returned from Florida on Wednesday – a trip I took with my husband. It was a great trip and we enjoyed spending time together with our friends. However, my heart was saddened on several occasions. You see, I ran across several individuals who lacked faith during my trip. I met an Atheist, I met a man who claimed to be “spiritual but not religious”, and I met a man who practiced Daoism.
None of the men held an internal happiness. The Atheist, in particular, was a very unhappy man who I would describe as angry and bitter. My heart hurt when he referred to the stories of the Bible as “fairy tales”. The “spiritual but not religious” man was discontent with his life and the man who practiced Daoism had clearly not found happiness or rest. Sadly, they were all set in their beliefs and they would have no part of following Jesus.
What Went Wrong?
So what went wrong? They had all heard the Good News at one point in their life, yet, they have rejected it. As a result they are living outside the space where Jesus works miracles. And in the case of the Atheist, his outright disbelief held him captive in a world that lacked light. I guess I will never know what happened to these men; however, Jesus does know and he still loves them. Jesus still wants to work his miracles for them so that they can have rest, but he needs their faith in order to do so.
You see, God created these men just like he created us – to love and be loved in return. Maybe somewhere in their lives God was presented as an angry controlling God. Maybe they blame God for their heartache and pain. Maybe they believe that Catholicism and Christianity doesn’t offer the mysticism and beauty they have found elsewhere. Maybe they have been judges harshly by Christians. What saddened me the most was that they had all turned away from the source of all love, all light and all peace.
These encounters have called me to spend more time understanding how to share the love of Christ with individuals like these men. The world is full of people who, like the ancestors Paul speaks of, do not profit from God’s word. Yet, I believe if those who lack faith come to know God, really know him, they will turn towards him. God has placed inside our hearts a space that only he can fill. It’s up to individuals like you and I to share Jesus with those who have fallen away. We must share him with love in our hearts and not with judgement. It is love that people need and Jesus Christ is the source of all love.
God will direct our steps, he knows us and he knows how to use us for his kingdom. Remember, on the seventh day God rested as he proclaimed everything was “very good”. We are invited into God’s rest as well; however, before we can have such rest we must love as God loves. We must love all of his creation – even the Atheist, the Daoist and those claiming to be spiritual but not religious. God will call you to share his love with your family, with friends, and with strangers. As you fall deeper and deeper in love with scripture God will speak to your heart through his word. He will reveal to you truths that you will carry in your heart everywhere you go for the world to see. As your heart fills with love and God’s word you will become an instrument of peace and love for the world – a lamp on a lampstand for all to see.
Let all that you do be done in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NRSVCE)
Exclusion and Family Heartache
If you would like to read more I invite you to visit my blog post titled “Exclusion and Family Heartache”. In it I share how the pain of exclusion affects families and blocks love. Here is the link: Exclusion and Family Love
I hope you find your way home towards the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ – the one who is love himself. May you speak and think words of love, forgiveness and mercy as you sing and praise of God’s glory! – Carolyn
Sacred Heart of Jesus – have mercy on us.
Mother Mary – pray for us.
Saint Paul – pray for us
Today’s Readings Hebrews 4:1-5, 11; Psalm 78: 3 and 4BC, 6C-7, 8; Mark 2:1-12
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