Gospel Meditations

GOSPEL MEDITATION FOR
23 JANUARY, 2017, MONDAY, 3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
BY REV FR ERBIN FERNANDEZ, SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR, CATHOLIC SPIRITUALITY CENTRE (CSC)
COPYRIGHTS RESERVED.

“BEELZEBUL IS IN HIM’” (MARK 3:22)

GOSPEL: MARK 3:22-30

http://www.universalis.com/20170123/mass.htm

(I sense Jesus wanting to meet me. I prayerfully call upon the Holy Spirit to be present. I prayerfully read today’s gospel passage slowly once through. I sit in silence for a few minutes with the gospel text. I now pray through the following meditation. I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, pausing wherever I need to.)

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, “Beelzebul is in him” and, “It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.”  So He called them to Him and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.  ‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’”

In the gospel today, Jesus drives out a demon, doing good to the man who was afflicted, but some from the crowd of witnesses accuse him of being in league with Beelzebul.  Pope Francis says, “’There was another group,’ the Holy Father said, ‘that did not appreciate him and sought to interpret Jesus’ words and actions in a different way, against Jesus. Some, for envy, others for doctrinal rigidity, others because they were afraid that the Romans would come and massacre them; for many reasons they sought to distance Jesus’ authority from the people, even with slander as in this case.’  Against such misinterpretations of a situation, Pope Francis invited Christians to discern the roots of any given situation, because in the life of faith ‘temptations always return, the Evil Spirit never tires’.

‘The Evil One is hidden,’ the Pope said, ‘he comes with his very educated friends, knocks at the door, asks for permission, comes in, and lives with that person.  Drop by drop, he gives him instructions on how to ‘do things with relativism’ … Pope Francis continued, saying ‘Anesthetize the conscience.  This is a great evil.  When the Evil Spirit succeeds in anesthetizing the conscience, it is then he can claim a true victory, for he has become the master of that conscience.’

What can one do against such attacks?  ‘Watchfulness,’ the Holy Father said, ‘The Church counsels us to always make an examination of conscience:  what happened today in my heart because of ‘his?”  ‘Discernment’, he concluded, ‘From where do these comments, words, teachings come?  Who says this? Let us ask the Lord for this grace: the grace of discernment and of watchfulness.’’[1]

Action: Today I will reflect on whether I have come into my own personhood.

(I journal: What phrase touched me today? What is Jesus inviting me to live today? I ask for a specific grace for today.)



[1] http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/pope-francis-discern-and-watch-even-good-times-0

 

GOSPEL MEDITATION FOR
21 JANUARY, 2017, SUNDAY, 3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
CATHOLIC SPIRITUALITY CENTRE (CSC)
COPYRIGHTS RESERVED.

“FOLLOW ME AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN” (MATTHEW 4:19)

GOSPEL: MATTHEW 4:12-23

http://www.universalis.com/20170122/mass.htm

(I sense Jesus wanting to meet me. I prayerfully call upon the Holy Spirit to be present. I prayerfully read today’s gospel passage slowly once through. I sit in silence for a few minutes with the gospel text. I now pray through the following meditation. I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, pausing wherever I need to.)

Today’s gospel is about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, where he calls Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to follow him.  Fr James Martin writes that we are all called: “The belief that one vocation is better than another has given way to the understanding that everyone, no matter who they are—single, married, vowed, ordained—participates in the “universal call to holiness” in their own way.  This is eminently sensible. Part of God’s plan, after all, is diversity, with everyone building up the community in ways that others cannot do. Where would we be if everyone were a priest or a sister?”[1]

To hear God’s call, Fr James Martin writes that “Desire is a key way that God’s voice is heard in our lives.”  Fr James is not referring to selfish wants, but deep desires – the desires that draw us to God and to a meaningful vocation in life: “The deep longings of our hearts are our holy desires. Not only desires for physical healing, but also the desires for change, for growth, for a fuller life. Our deepest desires, those desires that lead us to become who we are, are God’s desires for us. They are ways that God speaks to us directly.”[2]

We are encouraged to find our own unique vocation, because each vocation is ultimately a call to follow our deepest desires that God has planted within us.  Finally, let us remember that “our deepest desire, planted within us, is our desire for God.”  Isn’t it wondrously encouraging and beautiful that at the heart of it all, following what we want by becoming who we truly are is following God’s call for each one of us?

Action: Today I will reflect on whether I have come into my own personhood.

(I journal: What phrase touched me today? What is Jesus inviting me to live today? I ask for a specific grace for today.)


[1] https://magazine.scu.edu/fall2007/afterwords.cfm

[2] http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=10042548

 

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