February 10, 2017
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin
Lectionary: 333

Genesis 3:1-8
Psalms 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7
Mark 7:31-37

Praying Ordinary Time


Today’s readings are a quick summary of our relationship to God.  In Genesis we are reminded of the sin that separates us from God.  It is as real now for each of us as it was back in the garden for Adam and Eve.  Who among us does not feel guilt for something or other?  But in Psalm 32 we remember that the sins of those who acknowledge them and confess them to the Lord are forgiven.  We can’t cover up our guilt, but the Lord does.  God promises us that not only are our sins forgiven, we don’t even need to be afraid of them.  When the deep waters of sin overflow us and when we are in distress, we can easily fall into despair.  But the good news is that the Lord frees and protects us from the peril of our sins.  The Lord provides for us a shelter.

Our response to those promises in the Old Testament should be an active faith in which our hearts are open to the comforting and encouraging words of Jesus who is the Kingdom of God among us.  As children of the New Testament, we now live in the light of the promises.  It is now Christ who brings the good news to us about the freedom and protection from our sins.  Jesus is the proclamation of the good news in word and deed in our lives.  But we are admonished today to keep our hearts open to Christ’s words to us, especially when we share the good news of the Gospel.

There is a tension with our sharing of the good news, we find in the gospel message for today.  Too often we think it is about us and our experience.  That can confuse other people.  The message of the good news is that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises of God for healing and resurrection, not just for our bodies, but our spirits as well.  If we only spread the message about the good things that God has done in our lives, we are not telling WHO HE IS, just what he does for us in rather shallow ways.  When we think it is all about us, we become too self-centered in our faith and often we even expect miracles.  I know that I am sometimes guilty of that.  So what happens if you haven’t had a good miracle lately?  That is why a lot of people give up on God.  They stop listening and looking for God in their lives when they don’t get what they think they need.  The good news is that we can come to God by faith, not through miracles of healing the body.  The message we need to share with the world is that of openness to the on-going process of redemption and salvation in the words of Jesus.  In and through our faith in the fulfilled promises of God we are both healed and made whole spiritually.  Given what sinners we all are, that is indeed a miracle!  We pray, then, with joy and gratitude for Jesus who is God’s promise to free and shelter us from our sins.  That should take a huge load off of most of us.

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