Looking at ourselves honestly, here...do any of us really have the courage to give God the choice, like this leper? What would the rest of this sentence be if the leper had continued? "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean...or not. I'll be fine either way." Jesus would probably see clear through that. But, I love the faith and the humility the leper shows in honoring Jesus' power. We, who know Jesus' compassion as well as his power, can picture Jesus' love for this man, and his desire to give the man a whole, healthy life. But, the leper, not knowing Jesus the way we do, could only come to him in humility and surrender. Beautiful, this! Today and this weekend, let's preface our prayers as this leper did, with humility and grace..."Lord, if you wish..." Love, heidi
The disciples didn't recognize Jesus as he walked toward them on the sea. They were terrified! They thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus reassures them with this sentence, "Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid." So often, as I move through my day, I know Jesus is around me, but wouldn't it be nice to have him ID himself? In the TV show "Joan of Arcadia," when Joan first begins encountering God, she says to a stranger who comes up to her with an umbrella in a rainstorm, "Is that you (God)? Look, can we figure out some kind of way to do this? Some code word?" Joan wanted verification that she was talking to God and not some random stranger. She wanted an ID. As wonderful as it would be to have Jesus ID himself in any given situation, it is also good if we can think that Jesus could be anyone we encounter. Any person we meet needs to be treated as we would treat Jesus. No ID required. Maybe that is why Jesus doesn't flash his ID around anymore, so we treat everyone we meet like we would treat him. Blessings on your Tuesday...Happy Birthday, Elvis! Love, heidi
"Jesus, your name has been on my lips since I was a young and innocent child. Now these many years since first we met I understand you are more than a name. To know you is to allow your teachings to reach into the core of my daily life, to have your vision be the vital substance of what truly guides and rules how I live. How easy to bend the knee to your name but how difficult it is to bend the heart."
Sr. Joyce Rupp, "Fragments of Your Ancient Name"
If I had a fraction of Sr. Joyce's gifts and abilities, I could have written the reflection above, for I feel so much the same way. It is so much easier to know who Jesus is than to live like Jesus! Knowing Jesus must show in our actions, not merely our words. Even the demons in scripture knew who Jesus was--they often identified him. But, living like Jesus, changing our daily behavior to reflect Jesus, now, that is a whole new ballgame. Lord, I know you and love you...that's the easy part. Please help me to show it! Love, heidi
"The essential human desire is to experience God."
Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti, "Living Faith"
And that, dear Friends, is the Journey. All our lives we desire to experience God and we seek situations and events that give us that experience. We may run from pillar to post, from one retreat to another, one book to another, all to experience God. And why? Because we have experienced God and we loved it. We can list the times we have felt God's presence--like the birth of a baby, or a physical healing; other moments of intense joy. We recognize God in those times and we like what we see...we want more. In today's Gospel (Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25), we read, "(Jesus) went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness..." (v. 23) We think, "Lucky those people! They got to experience Jesus first-hand!" But, in our lives, we can experience Jesus first-hand, too. We just may have to be a bit more awake and aware to recognize him. The people of Jesus' time didn't recognize him, either, even though he was right there, preaching and healing. And we face the same thing today. We desire to experience God, but we still may find God illusive. If we truly believe that God is in all things, all people, all experiences, then all we need to do is look harder, with open eyes and hearts. Let's be especially aware today for how we experience God in our winter Monday. By the end of today, let's spend some quiet time with Jesus and write down all the times we saw him in our day. Love, heidi