Friday, January 14, 2011

If Today You Hear His Voice...

The refrain of Psalm 95 and the Gospel reading from Mark 1:40-45 really got me thinking during and since Mass. The Responsorial Psalm was “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” The phrase made me think of some of the conditions I’ve sometimes put on my submitting completely to God’s will.

Our family moved many times when I was growing up, and I hated it, so sometimes I’ve been praying to be open to new opportunities God might have in store, but then I’ll tack on some proviso such as, but I don’t want to have to move, again.
In Mark 1: 40-42, Jesus reaches out to one of the untouchables in society in order to heal him. “A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, ‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean.’The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.”
For a number of reasons, this Gospel really hit home for me. Many times I’ve examined the attitude and circumstances of those individuals Jesus heals in mind, body, and/or spirit. In this instance, the humility and courage the leper must have been graced with to come up to Jesus seem necessary in order for the miracle of healing to occur. It’s rather remarkable that a man who society forced to live away from everyone else because of his illness was willing to risk further rejection and humiliation by approaching Christ. What tremendous trust and faith this man had, through the grace of God!
Another aspect of this story that jumps out at me is that the leper doesn’t ask to be made clean, but he simply expresses the faith and Truth that if Jesus wills something, He can carry it out.
I know miracles happen. I’ve seen and experienced some quite remarkable ones. I still have found that one of the hardest for me to believe without any doubts is that the Lord will remove a serious illness someone’s struggled with for years. The truth is, if God wills it, then He can and does bring it about. Frequently things may not happen how we thought they might, and often events don’t transpire in the timing we imagined, but if it’s part of His plan, then it will happen eventually.
Last night at our Christ Renews His Parish meeting we reflected on a Scripture passage using the method of meditation called Lectio Divina. Two things came to me when we had time for silent reflection. The first was to pray that I would do whatever is necessary to submit completely to the Lord’s will. The second was simply a statement: “healing is coming.”
Lord, please help us to open our hearts to the healing You know we need most. Help us submit to Your will, no matter what it means we must endure, so that we are made into better tabernacles for You, more effective vessels of love and healing. Amen.
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