Our Gospel story this weekend speaks of Jesus healing a possessed man. We look to Jesus to cast out evil, but we also have a responsibility to tackle it as well. A certain spirit of uncleanliness can infect our lives. Vulgar speech can become routine. Ignoring common courtesies or not practicing simple politeness can take root. Aggressive driving can become the norm. All of these little things can progress to an attitude in which others are unimportant, where they do not count. The unclean spirit that had taken hold of the man in the synagogue had no respect for him. It only cared for itself. Our respect for others shows our own attentiveness to Christ’s teaching. With faith in Jesus, a pure heart, and a nature of service, it is possible to clean out that which is unclean. St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “Those who really love God, love all good, seek all good, help forward all good, praise all good.” At times, unclean spirits gradually work their way into our lives through stress, frustration, and disappointment and we forward that negative spirit onto others through words, actions, e-mails, and disappointed behaviors. We can come clean, clean up our act, and kick out anything unclean hiding out in the recesses of our hearts by following the footsteps of Jesus.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Human life is sacred because God created us in his own image and likeness. As our Creator, He alone is the Lord of Life; therefore no one can claim the right to intentionally destroy another human being. Each and every person must be respected. Human life must be protected absolutely from the moment of creation – the moment of conception until death. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (1:5). The miracle of life is something to be greatly respected, protected and praised.
This Monday, January 23 marks the 39th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. that remembers the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in our country. Hundreds of thousands of people from across our country come to peacefully march upon our nation’s capital to speak up for the unborn child and the miracle of life. Our attendance at the March for Life is our way to say to our government leaders and to the American public that we honor those children who have died; and we will continue to work for legislation to protect all life.
Even though you may not be able to attend the march, please pray for respect for all life. Life is precious, life is a gift from God, and may we never forget this precious gift of life.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
God’s call can come at any time. It can be in the dead of night, as it was with Samuel. It can be in the middle of the afternoon, as it was with Andrew and Simon Peter. God’s call can break into our daily life dramatically as it did for Saul who later became Paul the Apostle. Or God’s call can creep into our experience day by day, as we strive to conform our lives according to God’s will. We do not create our own lives or futures, regardless of our liking for planning and organization. We are called into being, called to serve and called into the unknown future by a God who knows and loves us and never departs from us. The “practice” of the faith is really the daily activity of prayer and charity through which we respond to God’s invitation to believe. Our response to God is found in what we do with all the divine calls that mark our days and nights with possibility.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Happy Epiphany! The word Epiphany is from the Greek language and literally means the “manifestation, or striking appearance.” The celebration of the Epiphany is a reminder that God will not be limited by human expectations. The Child born in Bethlehem as the King of the Jews is made manifest to the nations as the Savior of the world. Jesus is born for everyone, including those from distant lands, those who are not like us, those who are strangers, and even those from whom we may not like. Thus the Epiphany highlights God’s offer of salvation to the entire world.
The magi came from afar to seek the new born King – they sought out the Christ and believed. We too journey through life seeking many things. Let us seek out this child called Jesus, our Savior, and believe and adore him.