AD SENSE

1st Week, Wednesday, Jan 13

Hebrews 2:14-18 / Mark 1:29-39

Jesus shares our lot; He was tempted as we are. 

Frederic Remington was an American sculptor who worked in the early 1900s. His works sell for as high as $100,000 apiece. One of his most striking pieces is called The Rattlesnake. It depicts in vivid detail the classic moment when horse and rider encounter a snake on the path they are traveling.

The horse is reared up on its two hind legs; the rider is holding on to his hat— and to the horse for dear life; and the rattlesnake is poised to strike. This dramatic bronze piece acts as a lesson on how to deal with temptation when we encounter it. We should react as quickly and as seriously as the horse and the rider. It is something deadly serious.

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Do we believe that Jesus is ready to help us when we are tempted? Do we ask his help? “You are not tempted because you are human.” Fulton J Sheen

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The gospel shows this compassion of Jesus to those afflicted with all sorts of ills, to the broken-hearted. He is committed against death and misery. Isn’t that the mission he entrusts also to us today?

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To step down from a position of power and authority is never an easy thing to do. At least one of the things that one has to get used to is the downsizing of the office. Where once everyone is at your beck and call, now you will have to make your own coffee and get your own lunch and wash your own dishes.

What would be really difficult to accept will be that where once the final decision would lie with you, now you don't have a say anymore, and you would feel quite redundant and maybe even useless.

So when Jesus emptied Himself and took on flesh and blood and became like one of us, we can imagine what it was for Him.

But as the 1st reading puts it, it was essential that He should become completely like His brothers so that He could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God, and to be able to atone for human sins. So, in emptying Himself, Jesus did not become redundant or useless; on the contrary, He was able to help those who are tempted and to save them from their sins.

In the gospel, we heard Him doing just that - He cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another and He also cast out many devils. Yet because He emptied Himself, Jesus had to rely on the power of God for His mission and so in the morning, long before dawn, He got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. If Jesus, the Son of God gave such an important priority to prayer, then we who are weak and wounded by sin, certainly cannot do with any lesser priority to prayer. When we pray, we unite ourselves with Jesus, and like Him, we too empty ourselves so that we can be filled with the power of God to continue the mission of proclaiming the Good News of God's love.

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One cannot really understand the sufferings of others without having passed through suffering. Try to tell a husband who has lost his wife or someone who has met an accident, “I know what you are suffering,” or “It is not so bad,” and he will answer, or at least think, “You don’t know, because it is not you who suffer.” Jesus, says Paul’s disciple, could be compassionate and understand us because he suffered for us and became one of us. 

Let us pray: Lord God, compassionate Father, every day we meet people who suffer, who have been tried hard in life, who have encountered evil and pain. What shall we say to them? Let us like Jesus, try to understand the pains of our neighbour in need feel with them, and be reliable friends, perhaps in respectful silence, on account of him who suffered our pains and shared in our ills, Jesus Christ, our Lord.