Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hold Up Your Head

The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen. So the LORD said to Cain: "Why are you so resentful and crestfallen. If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master." Genesis 4:4B-7

He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation." Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore. Mark 8:12-13

God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria,
Bring healing to those suffering from violence,
Bring comfort to those mourning the dead,
Strengthen Syria’s neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees,
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
And protect those committed to peace.

God of Hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies,
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
And give us hope for a future of peace built on justice for all. 

We ask this through Jesus Christ,
Prince of Peace and Light of the World. Amen.

Today, we witness an emotionally exasperated Jesus who has lost all patience with the smartest men in the temple.  We have seen wild swings in Jesus’ emotional state throughout Mark’s Gospel.  He can be compassionate in one instant and angry the next.  People want – and have come to expect to witness – the great feats of healing.  However, they are not very interested in the deeper message to preach the Good News of love in action.

Jesus has already cured the man with the skin disease, calmed the seas, banished the demon from Legion, cured the woman whose daughter was bleeding.  He raised Jarius’ daughter, cured the woman who touched his robe and cured the deaf man. Yet, the Pharisees demand a sign.

To top it off, Jesus just served a banquet to five thousand people from seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. After all that, you can almost imagine seeing Jesus raise up his hands in exasperation and get into the boat, refusing to suffer the fools around him. Jesus cannot and will not stay angry for a long time.  However, today, that’s all she wrote…or he wrote in the case of St. Mark.

Yet, by verse 22, he will once again be giving sight to a blind man. Because the same way Jesus throws up his arms in exasperation mirrors the way he throws up his arms in praise.

The story of Cain and Abel and the demanding Pharisees show how sin is always lurking at our door – the sin of testing the Lord. The Lord urges Cain to be the master of his temptations.  Yet, Cain yields to his baser instincts and kills his brother.

Every day, we have choices.  Do we give in to our baser instinct to be the keeper of ourselves or to be the keeper of our sisters and brothers? How do we spend our time, talent and treasure? One of the challenging issues of the day continues to be immigration. 

The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration welcomed a federal appeals court ruling that upheld a temporary restraining order against the travel ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries that also temporarily suspended the country's refugee resettlement program.

"We respect the rule of law and the American judicial process. We remain steadfast in our commitment to resettling refugees and all those fleeing persecution," Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, said in a statement Feb. 10.  "At this time we remain particularly dedicated to ensuring that affected refugee and immigrant families are not separated and that they continue to be welcomed in our country," the statement said.  

However, it is only words if we do not turn those words into action. You can use the resources provided to make your voice heard by our political leaders on the refugee issue here:

No comments: