Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Priere du Jour - Prayer of the Day!!!
Jesus Blows Me out of My Comfort Zone – Again!
by Father James Swanson, LC
Renew your love for God and purify your intention in several moments throughout this day.
October 29, 2007
Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, "There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day." The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?" When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, help me to pay special attention to you in my prayer today. You know how much I need your grace in order to do your will. You know it will be impossible for me to follow you faithfully today if I fail to pray well. Inspire me, and grant me the grace of fidelity in this meditation.
Petition: Lord, protect me from spiritual old age. Help me to reject building comfort zones that narrow my horizons and exclude you.
1. Showing His Messiah Credentials
Jesus’ opponents were desperate. They didn’t want to believe that he was the Messiah, and they especially didn’t want anyone else to think that he was the Messiah. But there was the pesky problem of his miracles. They knew that when God sent someone to speak for him, he usually performed signs through that person so the people would believe in him. The sign was proof that the person (Jesus in this case) was sent by God. Jesus was doing plenty of miracles, which most people were sensibly taking as the sign that he was sent by God. What could Jesus’ opponents do? They could only try to discredit the miracles any way possible.
2. You Can Do a Lot More Than You Think on the Sabbath
This miracle was done on the Sabbath. The head of the synagogue had a problem with that. Didn’t God himself rest on the seventh day? Oughtn’t we to do the same? How does this Jesus heal on the Sabbath if he is truly from God? In fact, there were many exceptions to the rules about the Sabbath. In another place, Jesus himself says that the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Certainly, the observance of the Sabbath was always subject to the practice of charity. It was always permissible to break the Sabbath rest to do some necessary act of charity for another. Jesus also mentions situations when for practical reasons (necessary farm chores, like watering animals) work could be done without breaking the Sabbath rest. The secret is to find the mean between the extremes: avoiding scrupulosity and thus neglecting charity while rejecting unnecessary work and dedicating time to the Lord.
3. Lord, Please Let Me Keep My Mediocrity
And so, there is really nothing to the objection. The head of the synagogue does not want to believe, because what Jesus says and does seems threatening to him. If Jesus is the Messiah, he foresees having to change his life, and he does not want to do that. He may not realize that this is his real objection, but that is the bottom line. We can be this way too. We don’t want to accept something Jesus teaches us through his Church, because it would mean that we would have to change our lives, and we don’t want to. We are comfortable the way we are. Sometimes it is merely fear of something different. Jesus is always offering us something different, but we don’t want it. We want to stay in our rut. Let us break out of our limited horizons, and not be afraid to stretch past them.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, help me to accept you fully. If I am rejecting you or your teaching without realizing it, show me. Help me to overcome my attempt to construct my own little universe in which I am God. If I have grown old spiritually, renew my youth, since youth is always seeking new horizons — not trying to shut itself in restricted, shrunken horizons that exclude you.
Resolution: I will renew my love for God and purify my intention in several moments throughout this day.