7th Week, Monday, Feb 24th - Reflection & Liturgy

James 3:13-18 / Mark 9:14-29 
True wisdom is from above: It is humble and filled with good sense.

A son tells this story on his father. When the son was just a small boy, he was riding on a train with his father. They unintentionally violated a minor rule. The conductor flew into a rage, bawling his father out unmercifully. When the conductor left, the boy turned to his father and said, “Why didn’t you tell him off, Dad? He was terribly mean to you. I think you should’ve done something.” The father put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, “Son, if that poor man can stand himself all his life, I guess I can stand him for five minutes.”

How do we respond when people treat us unreasonably? Are we like the small boy or the father? “It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities.” Proverbs 16:32
If a book is not judged by its cover, then the corresponding axiom is that a tree is judged by its fruit. As Jesus had taught us, a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, nor a good tree bear bad fruit. Similarly when it comes to people, we will know what kind of persons they are by their words and actions. In other words, we just have to look at the fruits of their lives.

The 1st reading tells us what wise and learned men are like - they lead good lives with humility and they are wise in their actions.

It also tells us what the opposite is like - they will make claims for themselves and cover up the truth with lies, they have the bitterness of jealousy. And this is what it says of these kind of people -  they are earthly, animal and even devilish. So by the fruit, we will know what kind of tree it is.

In the gospel, we heard of a case of a man bringing his possessed son to the disciples but they were unable to cast out the evil spirit. But when Jesus came into the scene, He cast out the evil spirit from the boy at the request of the father. The disciples' question, which may also be our question is this: Why were we unable to cast it out?

Jesus pointed out two factors - faith and prayer. It means that if we have faith we would also turn to God in prayer and everything would be possible.

When we have faith and when it is reinforced with prayer, we will bear the fruits that God wants us to bear.
Monday of 7th Week- Liturgy


In his letter, James presents to the faithful rules of Christian moral living as an expression of the true wisdom of faith. Jesus heals a man who is possessed. He demands faith and trusting prayer, otherwise we are closed to God’s action. Mark describes the healing of the possessed boy in terms of a raising up, like the cure of the mother-in-law of Peter or the raising up of the daughter of Jairus. By his touch Jesus heals and restores life. 

Opening Prayer 
Compassionate God, through your Son, Jesus Christ, you raised the sick to a full life by healing them. Take us by the hand too, touch us and restore us to a fuller humanity. Touch our minds, that we may become wiser and look at the world and people with your own compassionate eyes. Touch our hearts, that we may love and serve people more. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Cunning may be clever and even humorous. It is also arrogant, self-seeking, and turns on others with little regard. How often do improper behavior, personal attacks, and character assassination spring from jealousy and envy? On the other hand, the wisdom that comes from God is innocent, peace loving, civil, sympathetic, and kind. It is worth noting that none of these virtues mentioned today by James seeks the upper hand. They are proper to a peace-loving personality that seeks the good of others rather than personal gain. It is for this wisdom that we earnestly pray. The type of demon that Jesus casts out today called for a prayerful spirit. Unfortunately, one of the faults of our times is that we do not pray enough, or we find it inconvenient to pray. For example, many people admit that they make little or no effort to find a church for Sunday Mass when they’re on vacation. Many priests argue that the time they spend looking after their daily responsibilities is their “prayer.” But we all must make time to truly pray. Christ repeatedly returned to the necessity of prayer. To be casual about our spiritual life is to realize one day that we are running on empty. A religious superior with whom I once lived was noted for his harsh responses. He seldom answered kindly and rather liked to “bark” orders. In going shopping one day, I asked if there was anything he needed from the store. He answered without losing a beat. “Yes, I want a better disposition.” To achieve the wisdom extolled by James we have to be patient with ourselves and, with God’s grace, overcome one obstacle in our character at a time. The classic spiritual works The Imitation of Christ states that in addressing one fault at a time we will ultimately become perfect. Our prayer is found in today’s responsorial psalm. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” 

Points to Ponder 
The virtues of graceful acceptance
The evil of controlling others
Prayer, our daily companion 

 – Lord, help us to raise up the downhearted from their discouragement by our friendship and our comforting words, we pray:
– Lord, bless doctors, nurses, and those who care for the sick, that they may succeed in raising from their illnesses those who seek their help, we pray:
 – Lord, raise from the dead all those dear to us who died with faith and hope in the resurrection, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, here are your own gifts of bread and wine. Touch them with the power of the Holy Spirit to change them into Christ, our brother and Savior, that we may share in his victory over suffering, sickness and death. We ask this in the name of him who came to raise us to a higher life, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion
 God of mercy and compassion, let us share in the healing power of your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us a spirit of prayer and penance to make us humble and strong, and above all a sense of deep faith, that we can do great things if we believe in him and let in us work his power of raising up people from their miseries and helplessness. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Touching people, taking them by the hand, freeing them from their isolation and raising them up from their sadness and hopelessness are also our tasks, as we continue the work of Jesus. Let us do so with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.