Everyone is searching for you

Silver and gold I have none, but what I have I give you

Today’s Old Testament reading offers a snippet from the life of Job, whose trials could lead anyone to despair. He certainly could use some good news. Perhaps, you, too, or someone you know has fallen into desolation. The responsorial psalm is one that brings hope to anyone experiencing Job-like trials. In the Gospel reading, Jesus displays his victory over sin and death by healing the sick and casting out demons. The whole town gathers around him. The New Testament reading proposes the call to action of all Christians: to bring the good news, Christ, to every situation.

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Job 7:1–4, 6–7 

Job spoke, saying: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?” then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.

Responsorial Psalm: 147  

Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

New Testament: 1 Corinthians 9:16– 19, 22–23 

Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

Gospel: Mark 9:29–39 

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

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. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Some excerpts from today’s meditation from
In Conversation With God, Vol 3

35 Spreading the truth

35.1 The urgency and responsibility of taking Christ’s doctrine to all environments

And on so many occasions, Jesus rose early in the morning and went outside the city to pray. The apostles found him there and said to him, Everyone is searching for you. And Our Lord answered them, Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. 

…the Church has often reminded the faithful that God calls them to make use of every opportunity to spread Christ’s doctrine everywhere. (Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Apostolate of Laity, 6) …

Let us ask ourselves whether, in our own environment, in the place where we live and work, we are being true transmitters of the faith; whether we bring our friends to receive the sacraments more frequently. Let us examine ourselves as to whether we feel the urgency of the apostolate as one of the demands of our vocation, whether we feel the responsibility as those first Christians did, because the need today is no less great … For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

35.2 Apostolate and proselytism stem from our conviction that we possess the truth—the only truth that can save

The apostolate and the proselytism that we carry out, and that attract people to the Faith or to a greater dedication to God, stem from the conviction that we possess Truth and Love. We possess the Truth that saves and the only love that can assuage the anxieties of the heart, which ever remains unsatisfied. When this certainty is lost, we can see no point in spreading the Faith. Then, even if we were in a Christian environment, we might start doubting that we could exert any influence. We might despair of non-Christians ever giving their support to a just law, a law that happens to be in accord with God’s will. We would also fail to see any sense in taking Christ’s teaching to other lands where the Faith has not yet become firmly rooted. In any case, the apostolic mission would become merely social action, favoring the material advancement of these countries. We would be forgetting the most valuable treasure we can possibly give them — faith in Jesus Christ and the life of grace.

… It is important that the Faith lead us to propose social works, but the world cannot be satisfied simply with social reformers. It needs saints. (Pope Saint John Paul II) …

Faith is truth, and gives light to our reason and preserves it from error. It heals the wounds of original sin and allays the propensity to stray from the way which that primal catastrophe bestowed upon us. It is from this that the certainty of the Christian comes, not only in what refers strictly to the Faith, but to all those matters connected with it — the origin of the world and of life, the unquestionable dignity of the human person, the importance of the family … Faith is a light which enlightens a man’s path.

Without conceit be proud of the truth.
— Blessed Pope Paul VI, 1965

It is an immense gift to have received the true faith, but at the same time it is a huge responsibility. The apostolic zeal of the Christian who is aware of the treasure he has received is not fanaticism. It is love for truth, a manifestation of living faith; consistency between one’s thoughts and one’s life. Proselytism in the noblest and true sense of the word does not in any way mean attracting people through deceit or violence, but is the effort of an apostle to make Christ known, along with his call to all men. It is to want souls to recognize the richness that God has revealed, and for them to be saved. It is to want them to receive the vocation to a full dedication to God, if this is God’s will. This proselytism is one of the noblest tasks that God has entrusted to us.

35.3 Fidelity to the teaching we have to transmit

… More importantly still, God is searching for them.

 

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To welcome, include, and love

Vatican Exhibit: Divine Creatures

Leonardo Baldini recreates 10 works of sacred art that depict the life of Jesus, including the Annunciation,  the Incarnation, the kiss of Judas, Ecce Homo, carrying the cross, lying in the tomb, and the resurrected Christ dining with those he met on the road to Emmaus. For this project, the artist employs people with disabilities as “actors/models.”  The result is stunning.

An announcement of beauty, of art, of hope, of humanity, and of love. — Barbara Jatta, Director of the Vatican Museums

Gift: the journey of who we are

What are you looking for? — Jesus

Here for a reason

Do you know how awesome you are?

Sister Miriam: A Purpose Beyond Ourselves

But I stand before you here on this stage tonight because a scared 17-year old girl said yes to life, and I was the child in her womb. — a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTVMKbZ2u9I&index=2&list=PLwz9H-zVK86TjV2Uo6U091ys9wQjoA4MD”>Sister Miriam, to Life is VERY Good 2018 attendees

I never fell in love with Jesus Christ. I didn’t know he wanted to get so close to me that he actually wanted to transform my life into a healing power of mercy that would radiate out of my heart. I had no idea. — Sister Miriam to Life is VERY Good 2018 attendees

Catechism: You are willed by God

357 Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

We’re not just talking about some people being a gift. We’re talking about every single person ever conceived, ever created, the most vulnerable, the most dangerous, the person that you love the most, the person that you like the least, the person that’s committed the most heinous crime, the person that’s been innocent their entire life. All lives a complete gift. All lives loved by Christ. — Sister Miriam to Life is VERY Good 2018 attendees

Are we going to choose love? — Sister Miriam

Peace for the adopted, and their birth parents

9 Days for Life — Day 9

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USCCB Novena

Intercession: For God’s peace to fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection

The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us to “hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19). We pray that all who are involved in the adoption process would be filled with the hope of Christ and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We also remember that we too can cling fast to this anchor of hope, for we have received “a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!'” (Rom 8:15). May our loving Father envelop each of us in his love today and open our eyes in faith that we may see and rejoice in his love.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Fast from snacking today. Eat three meals only.
  • In “An Adoption Love Story,” “Jenny” shares her and her husband’s story of adopting their son, Andrew. Read about some of the challenges, concerns, and joys on their journey, and spend some extra time in prayer for all who are involved in the adoption process.

One Step Further

Accompanying Expectant Mothers Considering Adoption” suggests nine ways to offer ongoing support to a woman who is considering placing her unborn child for adoption. Many of the tips given are also helpful for supporting a friend who is experiencing a challenging unexpected pregnancy, even if adoption has not been brought up.

Coming in March:
I Lived on Parker Avenue

 

The human dignity of the guilty

9 Days for Life — Day 8

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USCCB Novena

Intercession: For an end to the use of the death penalty in our country.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection 

As Catholics, we believe and put our hope in a merciful and loving God. We are conscious of our own brokenness and need for redemption. Our Lord calls us to imitate him more perfectly by witnessing to the inherent dignity of every person, including those whose actions have been despicable. Our faith and hope is in the mercy of God who says to us, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7) and “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13). As Christians, we are called to oppose the culture of death by witnessing to something greater and more perfect: a gospel of life, hope and mercy.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Do something kind for someone else without being asked or telling anyone. Pray for him or her while you do so.
  • Smile. Ask God today for the grace to be extra joyful and share Christ’s love with those who need encouragement the most today.
  • Read about the life of a modern saint. You might be surprised by how much you have in common with him or her.

One Step Further

For some people who are committed to upholding the sanctity of human life, the death penalty can present a challenge. Properly understood, however, Catholic teaching against the death penalty is both persuasive and eminently pro-life. Learn about the death penalty within the context of respect for God’s gift of human life in “Death Penalty: Catholic Q & A.

From the Catechism
Part Three, Life in Christ
Section Two, The Ten Commandments
Chapter Two, You shall love your neighbor as yourself
Article 5, The Fifth Commandment

2258

Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being”
— introduction (section 5) to the Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin, Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith

2265

Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

2266

The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

2267

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” (Evangelium vitae 56)

 

Be fruitful and multiply

9 Days for Life — Day 7

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USCCB Novena

Intercession: May those who long for a child of their own be filled with trust in God’s loving plan.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection

It can be very difficult and painful when the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers the way we hope. We may have many doubts and questions, wondering why we face the challenges that we do. Yet even though our suffering is often shrouded in a sense of mystery, we believe that the Lord loves us with great tenderness and compassion that is beyond our imagination. Knowing this, we can trust that “all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Give up your favorite form (or all forms) of social media for the day. Spend some of the extra time meditating upon Romans 8:28 or another Scripture verse or passage.
  • Learn how to pray the Angelus prayer and consider saying it every day for the next week— on awakening, at noon, or at 6 p.m. (or all three times).
  • Spend quality time with a family member or friend; offer to help them in some way.

One Step Further

Seven Considerations While Navigating Infertility” seeks to provide compassionate guidance that is both practical and informative for married couples who are walking on this road. Although geared to such couples, the article is also helpful for anyone to read, offering insight into the experience of infertility and giving awareness of the need for sensitivity in our relationships with those who may be affected.