Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Reflection for the 1st Week in Advent, Part 2

Thursday – Refuge in the Lord

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” The psalmist is certainly correct when he says this. Let's face it; most people aren't all that reliable. They are weak and sinful and changeable, just like we are. They make promises that they don't keep. They disappoint us in many ways, even when they love us. It may not be good, but it is the reality of this fallen world.

God, on the other hand, is completely different. He is our refuge. We can turn to Him any time, and He will always be there. We can trust Him completely. His ever-faithful love surrounds us in all times and in all places. He protects us, nurtures us, guides us, and cares for us at every moment. He always keeps His promises, for He never changes. He is forever steady and strong.

This we believe. This we know. God, remain our refuge always, for we trust in You. Amen.

Friday – Do You Believe?

The two blind men wanted nothing more than to see, and they believed that Jesus could fulfill their deepest desire. So they followed Him as He walked through their town, and they cried out, “Son of David, have pity on us!”

At first Jesus seemed to ignore them. He just kept walking, but as He entered a house, the men approached Him, and finally He spoke, asking, “Do you believe that I can do this?”

The blind men didn't hesitate as they responded firmly, “Yes, Lord.”

Jesus then touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the two blind men could see.

Jesus had healed them, given them their hearts' desire, but He would not have, perhaps even could not have, done so if they didn't have faith in Him and in His saving power. It was faith that allowed Jesus' healing to have so great an effect in their bodies and in their lives. It was faith that allowed them to accept Jesus' gift of sight with open hearts and open minds.

When we pray for a special grace, then, we can expect Jesus to ask us the same question He asked the two blind men: “Do you believe that I can do this?” And we should be prepared to answer with a resounding “Yes!” Our faith in Jesus, in His love, and in His ability to give us exactly what we need exactly when we need it paves the way for miracles, just as it did for the two blind men.

Saturday – Jesus' Pity

Jesus' heart was moved with pity for the crowds who flocked around Him. He understood that these people felt helpless and hopeless, overwhelmed by their troubles and devoid of protection and guidance. They were like “sheep without a shepherd,” on their own and floundering miserably.

So Jesus gave the crowds exactly what they needed. He taught them about the ways of God and about God's love for them. He healed every illness and disease among them as a physical sign of the even greater spiritual healing He had to offer. He even sent out His disciples to extend His work, giving them a share in His mission to provide hope and healing.

Jesus has pity on each and every one of us, too. His heart is moved by our sufferings and our troubles. He longs to heal us in the ways we most need to be healed, whether that be physically or spiritually or both; He knows best. He reaches out to us, inviting us to embrace His gifts with faith, hope, and love, and to spread them to others. We need never be like sheep without a shepherd, for we have the best Guide, the best Healer, the best Protector, the best Friend in the whole universe: Jesus Christ.

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