And that, my Friends, is the birth of True Freedom. Several of the sources of reflection I read on today's Gospel talked about how paralyzing guilt and the lack of forgiveness are in our lives. The paralyzed man Jesus encounters in this reading is physically paralyzed, but Jesus, knowing his heart, heals the man's guilt first. Because that is actually more debilitating. What paralyzing force are we struggling with today? Is it guilt that keeps us from moving forward? Is it an inability to forgive someone else? Is it a paralyzing sense of our own "rightness" and looking down on others who don't see it our way? Whatever is keeping us immobile on the mat, let's look into Jesus' eyes and ask for healing. That is what Jesus wants to heal first. Because that is the most debilitating. Blessings on your holiday weekend! Love, heidi
"Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their district."
It has been pointed out, by many more learned than me, that people often respond to a personal encounter with Jesus with fear. That is the LAST response Jesus desires from us as he says so often, "Do not be afraid..." Encounters with Jesus take us out of our comfort zones, though. Consider this Gospel today, where Jesus drives two demons out into a herd of pigs and the pigs all jump into the sea. No wonder the townspeople were afraid! People fear what they cannot understand or explain. People fear what does not fit neatly into the box of their normal experience. People fear other people, too, who don't fit neatly into those categories. We fear who and what are different from ourselves. And that fear can cause to do stupid things, like begging Jesus to leave. Let's spend some time on a summer day pondering what things cause us fear. Can we believe Jesus when he tells us, "Do not be afraid." Love, heidi
"(Jesus) said to them, 'Why are you terrified...?'"
Why indeed? The storm was raging, the boat was sinking...just like now! How can Jesus be asleep in the boat? On Pray-As-You-Go this morning we are reminded that this storm at sea represents the chaos and storms in our own lives. Each day things come up--big and little--that challenge us, force us to act, shake us to the core, just like the storm in this Gospel. And Jesus is there, asleep on a cushion in the boat. Sometimes, we panic and jar him awake, other times we may be more gentle: "Please, Jesus, wake up...I'm nervous and anxious about this and that." Jesus responds to us, "I'm here. Trust me. Why are you terrified?" Today, whether the storms of life are overwhelming or just troubling little squalls, realize that Jesus is in your boat. Trust that, even though he may be napping, Jesus is with us during the difficulties of this life. There is no reason for us to be terrified, anxious or even troubled. Jesus is here. Love, heidi