This is my temptation: to let the violence, tragedies, and selfishness in the world frighten me so that I forget my birthright as a beloved child of God and become distracted from participating in God’s work of reconciliation, forgiveness, and compassion. I am tempted to believe my small efforts to pray, be kind, and comfort the suffering are not a part of the solution to the world’s problems.
Along with the wild beasts and demons in my desert today, there are also angels to care for me. I need not make an idol of fear. I am reassured that I have a part to play in making God’s vision of love and unity a reality.
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. Mark 1:12
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) Jesus heals a leper Pen and ink drawing, c. 1650-1655 Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet
So much conspires to tell me I am an outcast in this society: unemployment, chronic headaches, overwhelming fatigue, and the ever-accelerating pace and stress of modern life when what I crave is time—time to go slowly, to rest, listen, and discern God’s will for me.
When I become aware that I am feeling ashamed of who I am, I pray to be reunited with the unconditional love and compassion that is my birthright. The Lord is always willing to touch me and make me whole again.
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
Rembrandt (1606-1669) Christ Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law pen and wash, circa 1650-1660
Jesus is always at home to those who need healing. He enters our personal space to touch us, make us whole, and help us get back on our feet so that we may continue to use our gifts and talents to serve others.
May I be willing to show up at the Lord’s door to ask for his grace and guidance. May I invite him to enter my mind, heart, and soul.
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John… 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. Mark 1:29, 32-33
Trust. Our efforts to love and serve the Lord and each other provide life-giving nourishment for our families, our communities, and our world.
As [Jesus] 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.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18
“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.” Mark 13:28
Love is timeless, without end, forever. Love will not pass away.
Love is the solution to the violence, hatred, greed, and contempt for human life that continue to shock our world.
Love is forgiveness. Love is humility. Love is compassion. Love is admitting when I am wrong. Love is kindness. Love is respect. Love is letting go of resentment. Love is comforting the grieving. Love is helping those who are suffering. Love is putting aside my needs for the moment and listening to you in your moment of need.
The Word is Love.
[Jesus said to his disciples:] “Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.” Mark 13:31