I am not in control.
This is my hope for this Lent—that I may enter into this season as a pilgrim on a journey to God. I was not put on earth to be a simple bystander, or a tourist, but to live consciously every moment in the presence of God. My hope is that praying this credo every day during Lent will help me to live with a lighter grasp on life, a deeper trust in God, and a more loving spirit. I am grateful for being God’s pilgrim on this amazing journey called life. Happy Lent!
Sr. Terry Rickard is the Executive Director of RENEW International and a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY. catholic RENEW program, disciple, Dominican sister, faith, Holy Land, hope, Lent, Murray Bodo, peace, Pilgrim's Credo, pilgrimage, renew catholic program, RENEW International, Scripture, Sea of Galilee, Sister Terry Rickard, Sr. Terry, Sr. Terry Rickard, Sr. Theresa Rickard, Sr. Theresa Rickard OP, trust in God
“When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak, because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ He told them, ‘Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose I have come.’ So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee” (Mark 1:32-39).
In the incidents described in this coming Sunday’s reading, Jesus performed two important types of healing miracles. Not only did he cure “many who were sick with various diseases,” including Simon Peter’s mother-in-law but he also “drove out many demons” (Mark 1:34). In Jesus’ time, mental illness was attributed to demonic possession. All illness was believed to be a punishment from God for sin. Those with any illness were dismissed from the community and sent to live outside of the town on the margins of society.
As a rabbi, Jesus was expected to maintain those boundaries and not approach those who were ill for fear of making himself ritually unclean. Despite this, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. She immediately got up and served him. Jesus had restored not only her health but her place in her family. When Jesus heals someone’s bodily ills, he also restores that person’s overall position in society.
The next day, Jesus told his disciples that he wanted to visit neighboring towns because, “For this purpose have I come (Mark 1:38).” Jesus’ miracles were not separate from his preaching; they were two expressions of the same message of a loving God that Jesus was sent to reveal. Jesus’ teachings on love are affirmed by his healings when he restores peoples’ wholeness.
Our invitation this week to is to be open to where we need healing and to where we need to emulate Jesus the healer. What aspects of your life need healing? How can you make amends with someone whom you have ostracized?"For this purpose have I come", 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, a reflection on the coming Sunday's Gospel, affirmed by love, Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, catholic RENEW program, Christ, Church, community, curing the sick, driving out demons, faith, Galilee, Good News, Gospel, Gospel According to Mark, Jesus, Jesus the healer, Jesus' miracles, Jesus' teachings, margins of society, prayer, preaching, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, renew catholic program, RENEW International, Sunday Gospel, teaching affirmed by healing, Word of God
“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’ Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Quiet! Come out of him!’ The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.’ His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee” (Mark 1:22-28).
The beginning of any story sets the stage. This reading is in the beginning of Mark’s Gospel. Jesus has just called his disciples and they have abandoned their lives and families to follow him. Jesus is so compelling that he prompted these drastic changes in the lives of his followers.
While Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, an unclean spirit recognizes him and says “I know who you are- the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24) Jesus responds by expelling the demon from this man. Jesus is a teacher who is not powerful enough only to call people away from their occupations and families but also powerful enough to quell demonic powers.
In this first public act of Jesus’ ministry, the stage for this Gospel is set. Mark presents Jesus as a powerful teacher, one whose witness inspires life changes, one who defeats demons, and one who teaches through his words and his actions.
Words and actions combine to make a powerful statement. Jesus is giving us an example and a challenge. We, too, must try to match our lives (our actions) with what we say we believe.
How do you show that you believe the words you profess? When do your actions not match your beliefs?
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, a reflection on the coming Sunday's Gospel, actions match beliefs, Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, catholic RENEW program, Christ, disciples, expelling demon, Galilee, Gospel According to Mark, Holy One of God, Jesus, Jesus as teacher, Mark 1:22, Mass, prayer, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, renew catholic program, RENEW International, Sunday Gospel, synangogue, teach through words and actions, Teaching with authority, unclean spirit, Word of God
Embracing the reign of God, facing the challenge of conversion, and embarking on our spiritual journeys are frequently made possible through the storytelling that takes place in small communities.
“After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’ As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Mark 1:14-17).
After the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus enters Galilee proclaiming that the kingdom of God is at hand and all must live according to God’s will. While proclaiming this Good News, Jesus calls his first four disciples, who are all fishermen. While this may sound normal to us, this was not normal behavior in Jesus’ time. A teacher didn’t seek his disciples, he attracted them. In this case, Jesus reached out first and gathered those who would become his closest followers.
Simon and Andrew immediately dropped their nets to follow Jesus. Without hesitation, they gave up everything they had known to follow the one who had chosen them, the one they put their trust in.
After Simon and Andrew, Jesus called out to James and John. They left behind their father, Zebedee, and followed Jesus. This, too, was not typical behavior; this was against the cultural values of Jewish society in first century Palestine. In those times, one never abandoned a father. Yet, these disciples were compelled to follow Jesus above all else, even if it meant forsaking their home and all they had known and loved.
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)
We, as disciples, are called to be with Jesus and to do his will. Knowing that Christ is with us is what gives us strength to do the work that we are both privileged and challenged to do. Some may be called to be missionaries and leave home and family; some may be called to follow Jesus by being home with their families. We are all called to be “fishers of men” and spread the Good News to others.
How is Jesus calling you today? How can you be a “fisher of men” in your daily life?
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, a reflection on the coming Sunday's Gospel, andrew, arrest of John the Baptist, Catholic, catholic RENEW program, Christ, first disciples, fishermen, following Jesus, Galilee, gathering the disciples, God's will, Good News, Gospel, Gospel According to Mark, I will make you fishers of men, Jesus, kingdom of God, kingdom of God is at hand, liturgical year B, prayer, proclaiming the gospel, renew catholic program, RENEW International, repent, simon, spreading good news, strength from Jesus, Word of God
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