Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Heb 6:10-20

Brothers and sisters:
God is not unjust so as to overlook your work
and the love you have demonstrated for his name
by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.
We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness
for the fulfillment of hope until the end,
so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who,
through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham,
since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
and said, I will indeed bless you and multiply you.
And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.
Now, men swear by someone greater than themselves;
for them an oath serves as a guarantee
and puts an end to all argument.
So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise
an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose,
he intervened with an oath,
so that by two immutable things,
in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged
to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul,
sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,
where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner,
becoming high priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 and 10c

R.    (5)  The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
    in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
    exquisite in all their delights.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
    gracious and merciful is the LORD.
He has given food to those who fear him;
    he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
    he has ratified his covenant forever;
    holy and awesome is his name.
    His praise endures forever.
R.    The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
 

Alleluia See Eph 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 

Gospel Mk 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Hope

There is a light snow falling as I write. It covers the dulled yellow and green grasses that are still visible here in West Michigan, making things look fresh. Snow on roadways can be quite treacherous. There are many who forget that traction, and a wet or snowy surface, can result in sliding, slipping, spinning, and much greater stopping distances.

If you’ve ever been in mud, on a dirt road, caught a patch of ice or snow, in a way you didn’t intend, with a vehicle or on foot, you know what I mean. Suddenly you can lose all sense of direction or feel caught in slow motion while being out of control of the situation. I kinda feel like that when looking at what has been going on in our country, on so many levels and in so many situations. It can be overwhelming to know where to focus. The readings today can help.

“We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end…hold fast to the hope that lies before us”, is a directive from the First Reading. The Gospel acclamation calls out, “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.” 

My focus is on hope. It’s the hope and promise of God. The Lord of the sabbath is my hope. I am to be His hands, his body, hope and love in this world. It is my charge, given through the waters of baptism.

“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” St. Augustine of Hippo

Please spend some time with the links you find here. My prayer is that you too may find hope to do what is yours to do to keep hope alive in this world as Joyce Rupp so beautifully said,

Faithful Companion,

in this new year I pray:

to live deeply, with purpose,

to live freely, with detachment,

to live wisely, with humility,

to live justly, with compassion

to live lovingly, with fidelity,

to live mindfully, with awareness,

to live gracefully, with generosity,

to live fully, with enthusiasm.

Help me to hold this vision and to daily renew it in my heart,

becoming ever more one with You, and my truest self.  Amen

You Keep Hope Alive

Hope Has a Name

Future + Hope

All My Hope

Hope for the Future

Contact the author

Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

Feature Image Credit: Jessica Ruscello, https://unsplash.com/photos/lUtPqjz5D5k

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Heb 5:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men
and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
        You are my Son:
    this day I have begotten you;

just as he says in another place,
    You are a priest forever
        according to the order of Melchizedek.

In the days when he was in the Flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R.    (4b)    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
    till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
    “Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
    before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
    “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia Heb 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia

Gospel Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, 
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

New Wine and Fresh Wineskins

On December 12, 2020, I gave my life to God.  Again.

Reflecting upon this realization that I was promising to do God’s will, not my own, yet another time in my life, I wanted to consciously be active in this dedication. In the past, I have said the same words of promise to God, then gone home from the retreat, the conference, the Mass, and continued my life. MY life, not His. 

In today’s Gospel, we read:  “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” (Mark 21-22)

Similarly, I cannot continue to pour my renewed devotion to God into the same wineskin. I cannot continue my ways. I cannot act as though this miraculous, beautiful moment of encounter with the Lord does not require complete change. Instead, I must pour myself into a new wineskin. A new way of holding and presenting myself. 

I often recall Pope Francis’ call to the millions of youth gathered in Poland at World Youth Day 2016 as he said, “The times we live in require only active players on the field, and there is no room for those who sit on the bench. Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history because life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark.”

Therefore, I cannot sit still. I cannot continue down the same worn path, the same unenthusiastic living. It’s unauthentic. It is not actively living God’s will. It is selfishly hiding and hoarding the joy that I have been given. 

I ask you, my brother or sister, are you celebrating new wine? Are you placing your new wine in the new wineskins of new joy, new practices, new selves? Where are you placing your new wine? 

Read Pope Francis’ World Youth Day 2016 message in full by clicking here or watch the video by clicking here.

Contact the author

Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.

Feature Image Credit: Kym Ellis, https://unsplash.com/photos/aF1NPSnDQLw

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I 1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am.  You called me.”
“I did not call you, “  Eli said.  “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am, “ he said.  “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son.  Go back to sleep.”

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am.  You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
    and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
    a hymn to our God. 
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
    but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
    then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
    and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
    I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading II 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20

Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Avoid immorality.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body. 
 

Alleluia Jn 1:41, 17b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We have found the Messiah:
Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 

Gospel Jn 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Steps to Spiritual Growth

In twelve-step programs, one of the tools used for spiritual growth is the “three A’s”: Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. Each of our readings today highlights one or more of these steps in a spiritual growth process.

Awareness

St. Paul beautifully describes the awareness we need as Christians: that we cannot separate our bodies and souls when it comes to morality and our relationship with Christ. We must have interior and exterior moral integrity, for the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Once we know this, we can move toward accepting and acting on this truth.

Acceptance

In our First Reading, we see young Samuel with some awareness that someone is calling him. Like many of us, though, he goes to the wrong place, with pure intentions, when God calls. With the help of Eli, however, he accepts the call of God and becomes ready to put His will into action.

Action

In our Gospel, we see the first apostles going through these three phases rather quickly They become aware that Jesus is Messiah through John’s word, accept that truth, and spring into action, following Jesus and telling others about Him. 

Our psalm also speaks of this process: the psalmist becomes aware of God stooping toward him, he accepts God’s call, saying, “behold I come,” and he acts on God’s call to announce His justice to the vast assembly.

Sometimes I wish that God’s call for me were as explicit as the calls that Samuel and the apostles received. For most of us, though, the path to awareness of God’s will for us means prayer, to grow closer to God, and quiet meditation, so that we can hear God speaking in our hearts. Once we are aware, then more prayer and mediation come in to help conform our wills to His so that we can accept it. Then, when we act on our acceptance of God’s plan, our prayers and meditation can give us the strength to carry out God’s will.

So then by prayer, meditation, and following His will, we grow closer to God. That is what spiritual growth is all about!

Contact the author

J.M. Pallas has had a lifelong love of Scriptures. When she is not busy with her vocation as a wife and mother to her “1 Samuel 1” son, or her vocation as a public health educator, you may find her at her parish women’s bible study, affectionately known as “The Bible Chicks.”

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Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Heb 4:12-16

The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,     
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Responsorial Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R.    (see John 6:63c)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
    find favor before you,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia Lk 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

He Knows Me So Well

There’s an obscure moment in an equally obscure musical during which two women, both in love with the same man, sing a duet titled I Know Him So Well. Oddly enough, this is the song that’s been running through my head as I read today’s lessons—though with slightly changed lyrics. Not “I know him so well,” but, rather, “He knows me so well.”

I seem to spend a lot of time trying to do the right thing, and a lot more time, frankly, falling flat on my face. Every morning I start out with lofty resolutions about how I am going to move through my day in God’s presence, and every evening I do a brief Examen and find how many of those resolutions came to nothing. Do some spiritual reading? Um, nope, didn’t find time for that today. Follow through on my offer to help someone and actually, well, help them? Oops, that will have to be for tomorrow. Not think unkind thoughts about people with whom I disagree, but who are also children of God? Not even close. 

I despair, sometimes, of ever getting it right. And I wonder how it all seems to God, who started the day with me in my resolutions and promises and plans, and to whom I have to admit how much I failed. Failed, yet again, to be the “only Gospel my neighbor ever reads,” as St. Francis urges me. Failed, yet again, to put God first and myself second. Failed, failed, failed.

One of my favorite theologians, Frederich Buechner, writes, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell him anything he doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.” I think about that as I do my nightly Examen: he already knows everything I’m going to say to him. He already knows my failures.

And, as today’s readings assure me, knowing all that, he loves me anyway. St. Paul tells the Hebrews that “No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed (…) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” And St. Mark reminds us of Jesus sitting with people who are despised, with tax collectors, with sinners, and replies to objections: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

And there it is. He knows me so well. He knows my weaknesses. He knows how often I fail—but he also knows how often I try. He has come to eat with me, to walk with me, to offer me love and friendship, even though he knows me so well. That is precisely why he is here. And why I need to keep trying. Keep resolving to walk more closely with him every morning; keep examining where I fell short and working out how to progress every evening. Keep doing the best I can. Understand in all the trying and failing and trying again that I am a beloved child of God.

And that he knows me so well.

Contact the author

Jeannette de Beauvoir is a writer and editor with the digital department of Pauline Books & Media, working on projects as disparate as newsletters, book clubs, ebooks, and retreats that support the apostolate of the Daughters of St. Paul at http://www.pauline.org.

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Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Heb 4:1-5, 11

Let us be on our guard
while the promise of entering into his rest remains,
that none of you seem to have failed.
For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
But the word that they heard did not profit them,
for they were not united in faith with those who listened.
For we who believed enter into that rest,
just as he has said:

As I swore in my wrath,    
“They shall not enter into my rest,”

and yet his works were accomplished
at the foundation of the world.
For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner,
And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;
and again, in the previously mentioned place,
They shall not enter into my rest. 

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest,
so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.
 

Responsorial Psalm 78:3 and 4bc, 6c-7, 8

R.    (see 7b)  Do not forget the works of the Lord!
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
That they too may rise and declare to their sons
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep his commands.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
And not be like their fathers,
a generation wayward and rebellious,
A generation that kept not its heart steadfast
nor its spirit faithful toward God.
R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
 

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 

Gospel Mk 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what 
they were thinking to themselves, 
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once, 
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The One Who Heals

If you have spent any time listening to or reading the Gospels, you are aware of the discord between Jesus and the Pharisees. His preaching called into question the status quo and that made them uncomfortable. And yet, Jesus kept preaching and teaching and healing. This healing of the paralytic in today’s Gospel is amazing on many levels. First, the man’s friends are unbelievably persistent. They have faith. The paralytic, too, must have had great trust in his friends to let them lower him down. And then, his faith in Jesus. Faith heals him. But notice that he participates in this healing. He not only has faith, but he moves, he picks up his mat, because of that faith. When Jesus says “rise, pick up your mat, and go home,” he does. There is no question, no pause. He believes, he trusts, he has faith.

Now what about us? Since it is January and many people focus on starting fresh in a new year, let us consider what we have brought into this year that might have been better left behind. What has Jesus forgiven in us, that we are still carrying around? Do we want to get up and walk? Each time we go to confession, each time we go to Mass and pray the Confiteor, each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we are given the grace of forgiveness. We are given the command to rise, pick up and go. Not in those words, but certainly in practice. Do we have faith in the healing power of Jesus? The paralytic, his friends, the crowds, all had faith. The crowd was “astounded” at what happened. 

Are you ever astounded after confession? I am. It usually happens at Mass, after receiving Communion, and I think about how free of sin I am and now Jesus is with me. The Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ is with me. In that moment, I have great faith that I am free of sin, that I can pick up my mat. I realize I cannot be lukewarm in my faith. I am compelled to do something with the gift of faith I have been given. 

Just as the paralytic man was given a gift of healing, we too have been healed. How have you been healed? Pray to see what you have been healed from and what you are healed for and then glorify the One who heals. 

Contact the author

Deanna G. Bartalini, MEd, MPS, is a Catholic educator, writer, speaker, and retreat leader. She has served in ministry for over 40 years as a catechist, religious education director, youth minister, liturgical coordinator, stewardship director and Unbound prayer minister. For all of Deanna’s current work go to DeannaBartalini.com. 

Feature Image Credit: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1536279273120-9222e3b8fe90?ixid

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