Sunday, February 5, 2017

Reflection for the 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Part 1

Monday – Healing

In today's Gospel, we hear about Jesus healing many people in Gennesaret. They swarmed around Him, carrying the sick on mats and setting them as close to Jesus as possible. Even those who merely touched the tassel on His cloak were healed.

Think about how amazing that is. Dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of people were cured with just a touch.

We might wonder why Jesus would do this, and we might even feel just a little jealous. Healings like this happen so much more rarely these days. But we must remember that Jesus heals people physically only when it will spiritually benefit them and/or those around them. During the days Jesus walked on earth, He was establishing a new kingdom and a new covenant. He worked miracles to demonstrate His power and the divine legitimacy of what He was doing.

We, on the other hand, live in the established kingdom and are members of Jesus' covenant family. Our spiritual needs are different. We have centuries of witnesses. We have the sacraments. We have Scripture. Jesus still does miraculously heal people, more frequently than we might think, but He still does it only for spiritual reasons. If physical healing will benefit a person spiritually, Jesus will heal that person. But if physical suffering will actually carry a greater benefit, Jesus will allow it in order to heal a person spiritually. Spiritual healing always outweighs physical healing. We may not be able to discern that or fully understand it, but we must trust that Jesus knows exactly what He is doing and that He will provide the exact kind of healing we need the most.

Tuesday – Image and Likeness

We are created in the image and likeness of God. Isn't that amazing? We are endowed with reason that we may understand the truth and discern right from wrong. We have free will that we may decide for ourselves how we will think, speak, and act. We possess the gifts of imagination and creativity that we may write stories, play music, and produce beautiful works of art. We can know, love, and worship God within the measure of our human nature, and we even have the potential to share in God's very life by and through His grace.

Yes, we are created in the image and likeness of God, and that makes us human beings different from any other of God's creatures. Isn't that truly amazing?

Wednesday – One Prohibition

God gave our first parents one prohibition. Just one. It wasn't even a difficult or burdensome one. All they had to do was avoid eating the fruit of one tree in a garden overflowing with beautiful, delicious fruit. How hard could it be to deny themselves just one thing?

We know the answer to that question, of course; it was an emphatic “very hard,” and nearly every human being has suffered the consequences of our first parents' sin ever since.

But we ought to pause for a moment before we criticize our first parents too strongly. Their sin should make us examine our own consciences. Do we obey God's prohibitions, or do we ignore them and go our own way? Do we appreciate the beautiful gifts we have, or do we want more, often what we can't or shouldn't have? Do we deny ourselves anything, or are we self-indulgent? Are we any different from our first parents? What would we have done if we had been the ones standing before that tree in the Garden of Eden?

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