Meditation for the Day

Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, February 3

May Each of Us Become the Extension of Christ, Becoming His Instrument in Bringing His Love and Mercy into the Hearts of Those Who Suffer in Our Midst.

In the circumstances of our individual lives, how many times do we find ourselves overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations which we sometimes face, and end up voicing our distress to God asking Him for relief? How many times have we felt hurt, abandoned or all alone – to the point where our cry to God comes from the very depths of our soul?

And for someone who is struggling with understanding or living their faith, feelings of despair can seem overwhelming, to the point where God may seem very distant and indifferent to all that he or she may be enduring.

Maybe we might have said something similar to what we read in our Responsorial antiphon today, “Lord, rise up and save me!”

Throughout the world, there are millions of families – and we have all seen the pictures – of children with bloated bellies, mothers and fathers emaciated from hunger and thirst, clinics in developing countries overrun with the sick, and entire villages infested with disease and malnutrition.

And then we hear people ask, “Where is God in their suffering?”

Today, we are given two images of suffering. The first is David’s, fleeing from his son Absalom. David’s guilt of adultery and murder continue to haunt him, and the predictions that God made through the prophet Nathan are coming to fulfillment.

Even though God had already forgiven David for his sins, David’s flight was also one of a penitential journey, going to the Mount of Olives, once more to beg for God’s Mercy.

The other image of suffering is the man we read about in today’s Gospel, known as the “Gerasene demoniac”. The story is dramatic because of the description of the man, the power of the demons and Jesus’ dialog with them, and the subsequent exorcism by allowing the demons known as Legion to go into a herd of swine that promptly drown themselves.

To give us some perspective on what was happening, Gerasenes was a territory inhabited by Gentiles, as is evident by the herd of swine, an animal and meat considered unclean by Mosaic Law. We are also told that the demoniac was possessed by a legion of demons. And to help us understand the number of demons we are talking about, a Roman legion during the time of Christ consisted of about 5,000 men – so we are talking about a rather dramatic and extensive possession of this poor man!

But no matter how dramatic this story may seem, the Evangelist, Mark, has used it for a purpose, for his primary audience is believed to have been Gentile Christians, and this story would have shown that God’s Love is universal. No doubt this was one of the stories about Jesus that was circulating at the time the Gospels were being written. Both Luke and Matthew repeat the story with minor variations.

We have already seen in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus has power over demons. This power is now demonstrated to non-Jewish people, Gentiles, as well, who become afraid of Him and beg Him to leave. Jesus does not even permit this man, formerly possessed, to follow him as a disciple, but simply says, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Of course, this person proceeds to tell everyone!

In our times of distress, in our times of suffering and agony, do we give up and surrender in despair? Or with the gift of faith, do we turn to prayer and trust in the God who loves us unconditionally?

Today, we live in a world where suffering is rampant throughout every country, even developed countries. For there are many individuals, some even in our own neighborhoods, who are without food or clothing, without healthcare, even without a place to call their own or to lay their head for peace and rest.

In a world society, in a culture which is oftentimes seduced by relativism, greed and selfishness, the eyes of many are closed to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of others, even to God’s Love! Sadly, there are many who end-up becoming marginalized in a society which has succumbed to a spiritual and moral darkness.

As a result, many suffer, and many people continue to ask, “Where is God in their suffering?”

Our Christian faith teaches us that God is always present in each one of us. In other words, the Presence of God in the midst of suffering lies in our ability to love and give selflessly for the needs of others, just as Christ would give Himself to all those who sought His merciful Love.

WE are to become the answer to the question, “Where is God?”! WE are to become the extension of the merciful and loving Christ to those in society who represent the suffering Christ! When we fail to exhibit the love of Christ to others, we fail not only ourselves and our fellow man, we also fail God Himself!

In our Gospel Reading for today, Jesus gave us an example of what our answer should be. When we begin to examine this act of Love on the part of our Lord, we need to also examine the love which we are professing daily and living for others.

May the God of all Mercy help us to truly become His extension towards all peoples in our world today. May He help us to be compassionate and understanding towards all those who are less fortunate than ourselves, especially all those who are suffering in our midst.

And let us pray that God may guide us by His example which we find repeated time and time again in the Gospels, so that we may truly become His instrument, through child-like humility, in bringing His Love and Mercy into the hearts, minds and souls of those around us.

May we truly be a holy and compassionate example of the Merciful Christ to all those whom God places in our life’s path!

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “Arise, LORD! Save me, my God!” (Psalm 3:8ab)
  • “…you, LORD, are a shield around me; my glory, you keep my head high. With my own voice I will call out to the LORD, and he will answer me from his holy mountain.” (Psalm 3:4-5)
  • “How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of all the people.” (Psalm 31:20)
  • “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
  • “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:9-11)
  • “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)
  • “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:13)
  • “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:15)

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Prayer for the Day

“Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,

Lord of Heaven and Earth,

One and only Divine King of kings:

In servitude, You walked the Earth,

Guiding Your faithful in the way of Your Love.

“You taught Your disciples humble service,

While revealing the will of Your Eternal Father.

While many sought an earthly kingdom,

You prepared man for the Heavenly one.

“I submit myself to You as Your faithful child,

To obey Your righteous Commandments,

To serve You every day of my life

And to promote Your way to others.

“Teach me to walk as You walked,

Please help me to love and You loved,

So that I may see You in Your children,

And that Your way may prosper in all mankind. Amen.”

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