Thursday, January 21, 2016

He Cures

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

By Beth DeCristofaro

Illustration of Luke 9:2
Terri Scott[i]
When David and Saul approached (on David’s return after slaying the Philistine),…The women played and sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: “They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship.” And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David. (1 Samuel 18:6, 7-8)

He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. (Mark 3:10)

For all who are tempted to sin against life,
that they might turn from darkness
and embrace the infinite love and light of God;
We pray to the Lord
And that we might have the courage and conviction
To embrace the infinite love and light of God
In a world full of distracting and misleading choices.
We pray to the Lord.
(Adapted from Intercessory Prayers for Life, USCCB)

One of the most difficult tasks that I had to undertake as a manager was laying off a dedicated and skilled employee due to budget cuts.  In advocating for her as decisions were being deliberated, my own supervisor gave me a bit of advice which has stayed with me.  She said that the organization and the programs we provided had to be prioritized above any one person if the service to be rendered is at risk of ending.  It did not make it any easier or comforting but it put things into perspective for me. Relationships between boss and employee, between company and worker can be awkward.  Even if relationships are good, the balance of power is never even.

Saul, as King, was anointed by God to lead the people but he got lost in that balance of power.  His jealousy of David’s feats and popularity were fueled by his sense of privilege.  His reaction became deadly and swung the story toward an ending which would be tragic for his legacy.  God anointed Saul who was a very human person and another would replace Saul.  Today, leaders are often themselves motivated by inner compasses which lose their bearing toward the good of their peoples.

Yet God still loved Saul, David and us today.  Jesus’ inner compass never wavered from pointing at the source of Life and Love.  In yesterday’s Gospel he cured a man in defiance of the leaders’ rigid rules.  He continued to heal, not looking to lead but to serve, to reconcile, to bring hope, to point the way to eternal union with God.  He touches even those most lost and despairing today through us who point the way to God by our good works and faith.

Tonight is the Prayer Vigil for Life on the eve of the March for Life.  Spend some time in prayer for an end to abortion, human trafficking, oppression by dictators, abuse, racism, war, torture, the death penalty, and religious persecution.  The USCCB invites us to join pilgrims who petition for “a greater respect for all human life.”

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