February 20, 2017
by Collen Chiacchere
Creighton University's Magis Teacher Corp
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 341

Sirach 1:1-10
Psalms 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5
Mark 9:14-29

Praying Ordinary Time

Praying with Our Imaginations

Our readings today speak about God’s magnificence and Jesus’ healing power.  The first reading of wisdom is a good reminder, for me, of the depth and breadth of God’s love and power. The wisdom of God knows no limit…as reflected in the numerous grains of sand…the drops of rain and …. in the days of eternity.

As I reflect on this passage, I am reminded that God’ wisdom is limitless even when it comes to the numerous annoying details of daily life, the countless argumentative comments in our political arena these days, the numerous ways that we judge and hurt our fellow human beings on a regular basis.  I try to remain hopeful that that God’s wisdom will continue to pour forth in hopeless situations, in years-old grudges and in violent aggressions throughout our world today. This first reading from Sirach is a reminder of how small we are and how much wisdom there is in God’s creation… in the wisdom of God “poured forth upon all his works.”

- - -

“The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty,” says the psalm.  The psalmist reminds us of the theme of God’s power and wisdom and leadership in our lives. 

Do we trust that power and leadership in the many daily situations of our lives?  I know I don’t always have that trust, but want to! 

Are there times when we act like our wisdom (or experience or reputation) supersedes the wisdom we are offered by our God?

 - - -

The scene from the Gospel of Matthew has some dramatic dialogue and events.  After the disciples experience failed attempts at exorcism, Jesus commands the “unclean spirit” out of an afflicted boy at the request of his father.  The miracle takes place in front of a crowd amazed by Jesus’ works and reputation.  And yet, it only happens after the boys’ father cries out his declaration of faith and complete, desperate and unanimous trust in Jesus. 

In the Ignatian style of contemplation (imaginative) prayer, I invite you to place yourself in the scene of this Gospel story, standing with the “utterly amazed crowd,” listening to the back-and-forth conversation and witnessing first-hand the healing miracle that Jesus performs on the boy.  Hear the sounds, view the sights, feel the landscape many years ago.  What surfaces? How does God speak to us today through this passage?

Are there scenarios in our own life where we may be confident in fixing the situation by ourselves, headstrong in our own ability, instead of humbly relying on God? 

Are there times when we could answer, like the boy’s father, to Jesus “I do believe; help me in my unbelief!” ?

Are there struggles that have afflicted us for awhile, perhaps “since childhood,” that we need to ask Jesus’ help in healing?

Are there healings that we have experienced in our lives that we are grateful for?

As we move throughout our day today, let us be in awe of, and grateful for, God’s wisdom, healing and presence in our lives.  And, may God continue to hear our prayers for our broken and struggling world that need that wisdom and healing in a desperate way!

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