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Browsing Reflections Archive

January 14, 2020

Daily Reflection for Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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: 1Samuel 1:9-20
Responsorial:  1Samuel 2:1, 4-8
Gospel:  Mark 1:21-28

Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
Jesus rebuked [the unclean spirit] and said, ‘Quiet!  Come out of him!’  The unclean spirit convulsed [the man] and with a loud cry came out of him.” (Mark 1:25-26)

As we start a new year, resolutions are on our minds.  Often, it’s as if our changes are for vanity’s sake.  But some changes go very deep.  For example, St. Augustine reminds us that the unexamined life needs attention.  When we finally get around to evaluating how we’re living, we need to recognize both what we are doing well, and where we need to improve.  “Demons” need to be cast out . . . we all have habits that are unworthy of us, and can harm us or our families.

In today’s gospel, Jesus encounters a man in a synagogue obsessed by an “unclean spirit.”  Each of us has had an unclean spirit dwell within us.  Fear, prejudice, obsessions, self-centeredness, a need to be in control, fear of failure, are a few unclean spirits standing between us and holiness.

We can be discouraged from dealing with them by misconceptions.  For example, I don’t think “I can be a holy person.”  I see that as too much of a lifestyle change . . . I’m not pious.  As Thomas Merton said, “For me to be a saint means for me to be myself.”  That requires unvarnished, humble, honesty.

Each of us was created as a unique aspect of God’s image.  But as a human, I’ve been vulnerable to life’s events and misfortunes.  I’m not always my best self.  I achieve my unique holiness when I see God’s needs in daily life . . . and when I respond to those needs as only I can.

For example, I’m one of many people facing the late-life health challenge of Parkinson’s Disease.  But I use the word “challenge” because what distresses me can be 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 very weaknesses are the most important paths to holiness, because they remind you of your reliance on God.”  When demons of self-pity or anxiety tempt me, I tend to neglect my relationship with my Creator.

We’re all called to accept the apostle Paul’s words: “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, hardships, persecutions, and constraints for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

My strength grows from my reliance on God, and the unclean spirits leave me for an easier target.

Peace, my friends,
Bill Bradbury


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