Daily Reflection for Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to read and reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: 1 Samuel 1:9-20
Responsorial: 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28
Our reflection on Tuesday's readings:
In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters a man possessed by an “unclean spirit” (referred to elsewhere as a “demon”). The reading tells us: “Jesus rebuked [the unclean spirit] and said, ‘Quiet! Come out of him!’ The unclean spirit convulsed the man and came out of him.” (Mark 1:25-26)
When we’re honest with ourselves, we see that each of us harbors an unclean spirit dwelling within us. Fear, prejudice, self-centeredness, a need to be in control, a desire for possessions, fear of failure . . . these are a few of the unclean spirits standing between us and our holiness.
Often, we’re discouraged from dealing with them by misconceptions. For example, I never thought, “I can be a holy person.” It was too much of a lifestyle change. I’m not that pious. I’d admire a stained-glass window of a saint, and an unclean spirit would say, “That sure isn’t me!”
But, as Thomas Merton, said, “For me to be a saint means for me to be myself . . . as I was created by God.”
Each of us was created as a unique aspect of God’s image and holiness. But in our humanity, we are also vulnerable to life . . . to misfortune. We allow unclean spirits to live within us. Thus, we achieve our unique holiness when we see God’s needs in the messy reality of daily life . . . and we respond to those needs as only we can.
Like most people at age 83, I’m facing a health challenge. But I choose the word “challenge” because I believe that what distresses me is often part of God’s plan for me. In his book, Becoming Who You Are, Fr. James Martin, S.J., says: “More often than not, those weaknesses are the most important paths to holiness, because they remind you of your reliance on God.” And, I might add, God’s reliance on us.
We are all called to accept the words of the apostle Paul who said, “I will boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardship, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
And the unclean spirits leave!
Peace, my friends,