Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 1st, 2010

Elizabeth Furlong

School of Nursing
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Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
[380] Amos 7:10-17
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Matthew 9:1-8

I begin this reflection on an ecumenical note.  As I reflect on these Readings, I am concurrently reading the book, A Thousand Splendid Suns.  In that book, the characters are Muslim and I note the solace brought to them by words in the Koran and of their relationship with God.  As I read the Psalm, I am reminded of parallels, solace, and comfort across religions and spiritualities.

I am a registered nurse, and, like many health providers for the past 10 years in the U.S., nurses, and all health providers, emphasize Evidence-Based Research practice when planning, implementing, and evaluating patient care.  Health science students are educated and socialized to be informed and knowledgeable of research studies, of critically analyzing research studies, and, to apply the best research practices for quality patient outcomes.  Gone are the days of implementing one’s preferred intervention, of doing things because of tradition, and of providing patient care based on anecdotal experiences.  I note the parallel between myself in my professional life and the scribes in the Gospel in their spiritual lives, i.e., “show me the evidence.”  In some countries and cultures across time and space, some people rely on evidence for decision-making in many aspects of their lives.   Some do not.  One could hypothesize the scribes thought Jesus was blaspheming because they did not have the evidence.  The Gospel story tells us Jesus provided evidence so they could better understand.  What is your typical response in 2010?  Are you one of the scribes or one who believes without evidence?

I visualize the Gospel scene of today, July 1st, and I have unanswered questions.  Visualize a town with a group of people gathered.  One person is paralyzed and on a stretcher.  What were the people’s behaviors that resulted in Jesus “seeing their faith?”  Why did Christ say “…your sins are forgiven?”  versus initially restoring his mobility? Were the people gathered demonstrating “their faith” for spiritual forgiveness or physical healing?   In that culture at that time, how does this relate to the belief that one’s sins caused one’s illnesses?  Fast forward to 2010.  What would a 2010 scene look like?  How would Christ recognize people’s behavior and “seeing their faith?” 

In this Gospel scene, what do you see?  Reflect on?  What are the strengths and limitations of being a Christian who needs evidence to believe?  What are the strengths and limitations of being a Christian who does not need evidence to believe?

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