Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Reflections for the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – Strange Testimonies

Wherever Jesus went, amazing things happened. Multitudes gathered. People with debilitating diseases regained their health. Unclean spirits fled in terror. 

Before those spirits fled, however, they fell down before Jesus and shouted out, “You are the Son of God!” What strange testimonies. The unclean spirits knew exactly Who Jesus was, but His disciples took a long time to discover the truth. The unclean spirits recognized His divinity, but the people He cured didn't take the time to reflect upon Who their Healer really was. 

Jesus took care to prevent the unclean spirits from speaking too much. He didn't want their strange testimonies. He wanted people to come to know Him through His love and His care for them. He longed for recognition from the hearts of those He touched. He hoped that they would think carefully about the power He used to perform such great miracles. He waited for them to realize the truth and then offer testimonies of their own, testimonies that sprang from the depths of their souls. 

Friday – In the Shadow of His Wings

In the midst of this crazy world, many of us are seeking a place of peace and rest. A place where we can escape from the stresses of daily living. A place where we can be quiet and calm. A place where we can focus on the most important things in life and in eternity. A place where we can be safe. 

God offers us that place. As the Psalmist tells us, we can take refuge in Him: “In the shadow of Your wings I take refuge, till harm pass by.” 

Reflect on that image for a moment. Picture great wings enfolding you, surrounding you with warmth. You are safe. You are hidden. The terrors of the world cannot reach you. You are comfortable and at peace. You can relax and be yourself. You can shut off the noise of daily life and concentrate on God and His plan for you. 

Today, then, place yourself in the shadow of God's wings. Let Him be your refuge. Let His mercy and love wash over you. Open your heart to His tender care. Lean back and relax in Him.

Saturday – Misunderstandings

Who is Jesus Christ? People have been intrigued and sometimes plagued by that question for centuries. Misunderstandings abound, especially for those who don't know where to look for truth. 

In today's Gospel, we see one of those misunderstandings firsthand, and it came from an unlikely source. Jesus had been preaching and healing throughout Galilee. He had already appointed the Twelve, and apparently He was ready to begin a new phase in His ministry. Crowds flocked around Him constantly, so much that He could hardly even eat. But not everyone was impressed.

When Jesus' relatives heard what He was doing, they were anything but pleased. In fact, they thought Jesus was crazy, just plain nuts. They even tried to stop Him, which, of course, didn't work. One would think that, of anyone, Jesus' relatives would understand Him, would have seen how beautiful and good He was, would have listened to Him and valued Him. But they didn't. He was stepping out of their box, away from their standards of what one of their own ought to be doing. And so they misunderstood, refused to understand. Jesus just didn't fit into their preconceived notions.

How often does that happen yet today? We try to fit Jesus into our ways of thinking. We want to answer the question “Who is Jesus Christ?” in a way that makes sense to us, no matter whether it's true or not. We misunderstand Jesus because we aren't really listening to Him or allowing Him to teach us.

Let's close with a prayer. Jesus, I don't want to misunderstand You. I want to know You. Please reveal Yourself to me. Please teach me about Who You are so that I can love You more and more. Amen.

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