The Wasp, September 31, 1882 political cartoon, San Francisco, California, depicting San Francisco landlords as vampire bats squeezing the rent out of tenants, enjoying a fine meal, then being taken by death and thrown into hell.
Then [Jesus] said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Luke 12:15
When I consider my modest take-home pay and the food, rent, utilities, medical, and car expenses I have, it’s hard not to make money and things the center of my attention. Idols, in fact.
But God’s Holy Spirit — not money or things — is my source for life. Today I choose to put my trust in and my attention on God. All shall be well, however it looks right now.
James Tissot (1836-1902) Recommandation aux apôtres opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum
To follow Jesus, I must set aside ambition, arrogance, pride, and self-seeking. I must be willing to serve the poor, the lonely, the neglected, and the abused.
As I spend time in prayer each day to discern the will of God and ask for the grace to carry it out, I will let go of the need to compare myself to others and instead learn humility.
Jesus summoned [the Twelve] and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.” Mark 10:43
God is in charge of the possible and the impossible. God’s Spirit guides me where I need to go, shows me what I need to do, gives me the strength to help out where I am needed, and blesses me with the humility to love my neighbor and forgive my enemies.
[The disciples] were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” Mark 10:26-27
Meister von Müstair Heilung des Taubstummen fresco, ca.830 Müstair (Schweiz), Klosterkirche St. Johann
Sometimes I cannot hear the Lord’s call to love my neighbor, forgive those who hurt me, and befriend the poor. It’s not that I willfully oppose the Lord’s call, but that I am afflicted in the moment with anxiety, depression, physical pain, or other distracting states of mind and being.
May I forgive myself for my human imperfections and pray that the impediments that prevent me from hearing, speaking, and acting on the Good News of love and healing be removed.
[Jesus] said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. Mark 7:34-35
Jan Luyken Eating with Unwashed Hands Etching from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations housed at Belgrave Hall, Leicester, England By Phillip Medhurst [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
Life experiences can be overwhelming, stressful, and undermining, but they are not a reflection of who we are. We are God’s beloved daughters and sons. Nothing will ever change God’s love for us.
Today I will thank God for loving me. When adversity enters my life, I will trust God is with me, and respond with courage, forgiveness, and compassion.
He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” Mark 7:14-15