Monday, February 01, 2016

Look Upon My Affliction

“Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.” 2 Samuel 16:12

Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” Mark 5:6-7

“Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love.” St. Therese of the Little Flower (Some sources also attribute this to St. John of the Cross)

Mark’s Gospel is filled with stories of demons who recognize Jesus as the Son of God while those closest to Jesus fail to fully understand his nature. The Lord definitely looked upon their affliction and cured them of the possession (as David prayed for himself).

Sources explain that the man in Mark’s Gospel was an outcast from society, dominated by unclean spirits, living among the tombs. The prostration before Jesus indicates Jesus’ power – this time over evil spirits like in Mark 1:27:  “He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”

Ironically, as Jesus chased away the evil spirits, his fame spread.  When the people closest to Jesus realized what he was doing, his fame spread but not in a good way.  His fame would spread and lead to his trial, conviction and execution.

In fact, foreshadowing that, in today’s story, when the people realized what Jesus had done, they asked him to leave.  Jesus agreed but as he was departing, the man who had been cured asked to stay with Jesus.  Unlike the disciples who were called AWAY from their lives, this man was volunteering to join the ranks.  However, Jesus did not call him to stay in the company of the disciples.  Instead, Jesus asked him to stay among his own people and preach the Good News. The man obeyed.

“Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Mark 5:19

Jesus does not ask everyone to drop their current life to follow him.  For many, they can stay right where they are to evangelize their environment.  What is your environment?  How can you evangelize there? 

In his sermon Sunday at the Church of the Nativity in Burke, Fr. Bob Celinski quoted St. Therese of the Little Flower in this way:  “Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love.”

Whatever your environment, if there is not love there, it is our job to plant those seeds. Just like Jesus put love in the tombs where the man was possessed by demons and David put love where he was being cursed, we are asked to put love out there so we and others will find it. If we do that for the Lord, then “perhaps the LORD will look upon our affliction and make it up to us with benefits.”

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