Tuesday, February 14, 2017

He Saw Clearly

Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar. When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself: "Never again will I doom the earth because of man since the desires of man's heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."  Genesis 8:20-22

Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, "Do you see anything?" Looking up the man replied, "I see people looking like trees and walking." Then he laid hands on the man's eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. Then he sent him home and said, "Do not even go into the village." Mark 8:23B-26

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Exasperated Jesus cannot stay angry with his children for long.   The Pharisees had just come to him for a sign.  Jesus reminded them that he fed four thousand people with seven loaves of bread and had seven baskets filled with left-overs. They still did not “get it.” 

Yet, upon arriving in Bethesda, the people brought Jesus a blind beggar who needed to be cured.  And Jesus could not resist fulfilling their prayer.  “Ask and you shall receive.”  According to the notes in the New American Bible, “Jesus’ actions and the gradual cure of the blind man probably have the same purpose as in the case of the deaf man (Mk 7:31–37). Some commentators regard the cure as an intended symbol of the gradual enlightenment of the disciples concerning Jesus’ messiahship.”

The Lord God dried up the flood waters which covered the land – he could not stay angry with Noah and his children for long then either. Likewise, Jesus acts accordingly.  Jesus knows that the light is slowly illuminating the minds and hearts of his disciples.  He persisted in mercy.

Jesus cannot hold a grudge for long.  We should be so kind.  Resolving conflicts peacefully is not a natural skill for any of us.  We hold grudges much longer than Jesus.

This Saturday, you can learn more about how to sharpen your skills at conflict resolution when the Arlington Peace and Justice Commission presents “Conflict Resolution: An Alternative to Violence.”  The presentation will be Saturday night, February 18 at the Church of the Nativity in Burke, VA. 

After Mass at 5 p.m. and a pasta dinner, there will be a keynote presentation by Fr. Clement Mweyang Aapengnuo, Ph. D., who is the President of Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies in Ghana.  A panel of local experts and activists will then respond to Fr. Clem’s Keynote address.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by sending a note to peace@arlingtondiocese.org.

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