Daily Reflection
January 24th, 2008

Andy Alexander, S.J.

University Ministry and The Collaborative Ministry Office
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R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Now I know that God is with me.
In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear;
what can flesh do against me?
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Psalm 56

Be sure to read the bio piece above about St. Francis de Sales, whom we remember today. A gentle person, with wise sensitivity to how God's graces work in our lives, Francis clearly understood and wrote beautifully about how holiness was part of the life of the laity in the Church, as well as for priests and religious. He was a great communicator and his outstanding use of the "media" of his day - the pamphlet - earns him the honor of being patron of the Catholic Press.

In today's selection from the drama we have been reading about in the First Book of Samuel, Saul's son, Jonathan, intercedes on David's behalf and convinces his father not to give in to his jealousy or the attention David is getting as his successor. Jonathan's affection for David, and his sense of justice, save David's life and allows the plan of God to move forward. Of course, the drama of the story won't end here. Conflict and division, greed and lust for power, deceit and death fill out the rest of the story.

I picture Jesus, in Mark's gospel, as having a simple message: I have come to share with you my surrender to the Father's way of saving the world. It won't be through working miracles (in my life time or now). He told his disciples that it would only be in losing ourselves that we can find ourselves. He did not want to be honored. He wanted to be a servant and inspire us to be servants, placing the needs of others first. It was in dying, trusting that the Father could/would redeem this terrible injustice, that he showed us how to understand his mission and how to follow him.

In this scene, where Jesus is withdrawing a bit, I feel a special closeness to him. He came to enter our world completely and be with us. It must have been a challenge for him to be so misunderstood by his disciples, to be so sought after by the poor, to be so rejected by the religious leaders, and have the demons proclaim that they alone seem to know who he is. In scenes like this, I can recognize that he must understand us when we are tired or stretched, misunderstood or rejected, frustrated or discouraged.

Lord, Jesus, give me the grace to step back, from time to time, to be renewed in my trust in the Father's love. Each day, with everyone you give me to love and care for, give me the trust in you I need not to worry about what will happen to me, how I come across, or to worry about my fears. When I'm tired or weak, when I fall into my old patterns, when selfishness raises its embarrassingly ugly head, give me the peace and consolation of knowing you understand and are with me.
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