Thursday, January 15, 2015

Encourage and Love

By Beth DeCristofaro

The Holy Spirit says:  Oh, that today you would hear his voice, “Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert, where your ancestors tested and tried me and saw my works for forty years. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. (Hebrews 3:7-10, 13)

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”  Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”  The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.  (Mark 1: 40-41, 45)

“You know, O my God, that I have but today on this earth to love you.” (St Therese of Lisieux) Help me, O God, to make it count. 

Recent readings have been full of the healings of outcast lepers and frightening demoniacs.  Jesus reaches out his hand and heals.  The readings also have shown us that throughout history there has been much need for healing whether due to illness, living conditions or, as in the exodus through the desert, hardening of hearts to the healing, guiding presence of God.  As I read today’s readings I was so struck by the seeking, softening, healed, jubilant heart of the leper who could not stop himself from publicizing what Jesus had done for him even through the Lord had told him not to!  The Gospel goes on to say that because of the man’s proclamations people kept coming to (Jesus) from everywhere. 

Imagine what that restoration would feel like?  To be in pain, bleeding, hungry, ill clothed, smelly, and most likely homeless, uninvited to anyone’s home.  Then, in an instant, to feel strong, sores closed and vanished, senses which had become dulled returned!  Able to go home!  The line of the song “How can I keep from singing?” comes to mind.  What would I do?  What would you do?  What do we do with the many (mostly minor) miracles occurring around us every day?  O would we have to endure such a problem that people keep coming to God every day, everywhere, because we could not help ourselves publicize what God does in our lives.

How might I make today count?  We live in turbulent times but love abounds when one is ready to see it.  January 18 begins the 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Join in this global effort for prayer and dialogue which recognizes the enriching reality of diversity and seeks healing unity.  How can I enact the loving God today amidst diversity and division?

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