Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 24th, 2011

Cathy Weiss Pedersen

Campus Ministry
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Memorial of St. Frances de Sales
[317] Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6
Mark 3:22-30

“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”  This accusation of Jesus by the scribes seems ludicrous to those of us reading the Gospel today.  How could anyone charge Jesus with such allegations when he was relieving so many of their sufferings?

Recently I again logged onto the Caring Bridge website to check on a young couple’s son who has been struggling with leukemia for more than a year.  He bravely meets the challenge of a multitude of tests, treatments, chemotherapy and hospitalizations in his young years.  His mother, Caryn, does an incredible job of keeping friends and family updated on his progress as well as his setbacks.  She and her husband tend to their very active children in all their varying activities and day-to-day needs, as they continue their courageous effort to be present not only to their son’s journey, but also to their other children.  I am always amazed that regardless of whether the updates hold joyful news or yet again another hurdle, that Caryn’s sense of humor, hope and faith ring loud and clear through her blogs.

Though I have moved far beyond my childhood theology of blaming God for all the terrible things that seem to happen to people, I am caught on occasion with the question of why is there so much suffering in people’s lives or how can such terrible events such as the January 8th shootings in Arizona occur. 

Caryn’s sense of God in the midst of her son’s struggle with cancer is one of hope, trust, and knowing that God’s healing presence is always with them.  It seems to me that she really ‘gets it’…she understands what Jesus is saying in today’s gospel.

In Jesus’ discussion with the scribes, he challenges them/us to consider that an all loving God cannot be a source of evil, of sickness, of suffering…cannot be of Satan.   Jesus healed the suffering and continuously countered any suggestions that the sick, or disabled or those who suffered were being punished by God.  Jesus’ message through his words and actions was that God loves.

This is a powerful message that sometimes takes a lifetime to truly believe and live as if we believe it. 

In today’s psalm, we sing God’s praises and proclaim the marvelous things God has done for us.   Again, I am reminded of Caryn’s eloquent voicing of her faith in God’s love and healing presence as she, her son and their family continue the day to day struggle with cancer.

My prayer today is that I/we may reconsider the God of love in our midst, in the joy-filled moments and especially in times of turmoil, suffering and unspeakable events.  We have God’s embracing presence promised to us in the good news of Jesus’ life and words.   Can I/we believe it?  Can I/we live it?

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