February 18, 2020
by Nancy Shirley
Creighton University's School of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 336

James 1:12-18
Psalms 94:12-13A, 14-15, 18-19
Mark 8:14-21

Praying Ordinary Time

Frequently, I express my gratitude for being able to write these reflections – the graces that I gain in the reading, reflecting, and writing.  The opportunity I have to examine my own faith and my faith journey is such a gift.  Today’s is no different – many graces with these readings on this particular day.  One bonus for me is that I was assigned my mother’s birthday.  If she were living she would be 107, however, she was born to eternal life nearly 27 years ago.  It is a perfect fit for me since the readings especially the gospel are about having faith, and she certainly had that!!

My mother’s faith was not that of a learned scholar, as a Catholic of her generation, she did not read the Bible rather she had beautiful Missals for mass and, of course, her ever present rosary and daily prayer book.  I think the greatest lesson from her for my faith was the idea of truly putting things into the hands of God.  She faced many struggles growing up and in early adulthood – I guess to be expected for the generation who lived through two World Wars, the Depression, Korean Conflict, Cold War and nuclear threats, and Viet Nam.  She lost siblings as a young child and was blessed to have her parents live until she was in her forties.  Perhaps the greatest challenge to her faith was the loss of her son (my brother) when he was only 20 years old while performing his duties as a linesman for the US Army.  While she was clearly devastated by the loss, her faith seemed unshaken.  She would often say that we can’t understand the plans of God and, of course, took comfort that my brother was in the arms of Jesus. She started her daily prayers for the dead in 1961 and had a tattered prayer booklet by her side when she died 32 years later. I lost track of how many she ordered over the years as she wore it out and would order replacements but NEVER failed to pray daily. 

My ability to always “put things in the hands of God” may falter at times, but I would like to believe that I model that faith for my children and grandchildren.  I was clearly enveloped in a cocoon of prayer at the end of last year and the beginning of 2020.  My “health scare” (a mass in my chest that was removed and found to be benign) was made tolerable because of so many prayers – they were truly palpable and I entered the pre-op area with a calm and positive feeling (my blood pressure wasn’t even elevated!!) – that is not me alone but me with 1000’s of prayer warriors protecting me.  When I arrived in my hospital room after recovery, my first nurse was Mary Joseph – now, come on, can it get any better than that?!

Our gospel has the disciples once again not understanding Jesus.  Rather, as soon as He mentions bread, they immediately think He is talking about the fact that they forgot the bread.  I had to do a little research on leaven and unleavened bread to truly understand what Jesus meant (so I guess I shouldn’t be too critical of the disciples).  If any of you have ever shared Friendship Bread where you pass on to others a bit of the sour dough batter so they have a starter, then you probably understand this concept.  The small amount of “leaven” from a particular batch of bread was saved for the next batch.  Quite simplified and probably not with all the nuances required, I understand that at Passover everything was new and thus unleavened bread – no more “influence” from the past.  Thus Jesus was telling them to not be influenced by Herod or the Pharisees in how to live their lives.  How often do we need to be reminded to not let such influences enter our lives and be absorbed into our being and our behavior?  Sometimes, we need to act as unleavened bread and be renewed as fresh.  We need to connect with the sacredness of all around us – to take off our shoes and walk on the Sacred Ground that Jesus has laid before us.  To let our Faith be greater than any of our fears!!

And to thank all the prayer warriors out there who are truly part of the Angel Army: 

Chris Tomlin’s Whom Shall I Fear (The God of Angel Armies)

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook