AD SENSE

3rd Week, Saturday, Jan 30

 3rd Week, Saturday, Jan 30

Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 / Mark 4:35-41 

Imitate your forefathers; Be strong in faith!

 

Sandra Hook is a Vancouver schoolteacher. She spent the summer of 1984 working among the dying in Calcutta, India, as one of Mother Teresa’s volunteers. She tells how one day she shuddered at the thought of bathing a very sick woman.

The poor thing was covered with filth and sores, and her nose was partially eaten away by bugs. Then, suddenly, Mother Teresa’s words came to her: “When you touch the poor, touch them as though you are touching the loving Jesus.” At that moment she saw the sick woman in an entirely different light, and she had no difficulty bathing her.

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How difficult is it for us to see “the loving Jesus” in the needy in our midst? “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

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Faith is a trust and commitment that express themselves in a mentality, an attitude of one’s whole life that sees beyond the appearance of things and lives accordingly, with total trust in God’s future. This kind of faith moved Abraham, the pagan, to follow an unknown God to a destiny of human insecurity. It is a faith that helps us to hold on without fear when the Church is rocked by the waves of our times. Is this our kind of faith? 

Many people are afraid today. Our times are very insecure in many aspects, with wars, violence, and economic and moral crises. Life seems to move too fast for many. And the Church in its leaders and members is often upset and afraid. God seems far away, like a God who sleeps, a God who seems indifferent to our fears and incertitude. Where are our faith and hope? Let us turn to him who journeys with us and wake him up, Jesus, our Lord and brother here among us.

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The name John Newton might sound familiar and ring a bell for some of us. Well, John Newton was a slave trader in the 1700s. One night, a violent storm tossed his slave ship about like driftwood. John Newton panicked and he cried out to God like this: O God, if You see us safely through this storm, I will stop all this slave-trading business and become Your slave. The ship survived and John Newton kept his promise.

Later, as a minister of the gospel, he wrote this hymn to celebrate his conversion. The hymn is this: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I one was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. Like the disciples, it took a storm to let John Newton see who Jesus is. So when a storm is blowing in our lives, let us persevere in prayer and know that Jesus is opening our eyes to see His love for us.

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    Encountering Christ:

    1. Jesus Always Initiates: It’s striking that Jesus, who is omniscient, urged the disciples to get into the boat to “cross over to the other side,” knowing that a storm was coming. Jesus seeks us out, knocks at the door of our heart, and sometimes invites us into “bad weather” because he loves us and wants to give us every spiritual gift. By calming the storm, Jesus revealed to his disciples his power and might. As a result, they “were filled with great awe,” which is a precursor to the spiritual gift called “fear of the Lord.” Our Lord was awakening in them virtues like obedience, docility, and reverence, which are foundational for even greater gifts, according to St. Gregory the Great: “Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move toward understanding, and with intelligence toward wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of heaven” (“Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam,” II 7,7). 

    2. Jesus Always Accompanies: Jesus knew the storm was coming and he encouraged the boat’s crossing, but he didn’t intend for the Apostles to go into the storm alone. At their invitation, Jesus got into the boat. He accompanied them. How often do we sense an approaching storm, but fail to go to Jesus with our problem? Even though Jesus knows what’s ahead in our life, he won’t force us to rely on him. He waits to be invited. And when we reflect on his power, his willingness to accompany us, and his infinite love for each of us, why do we ever hesitate to meet him in our prayer and the sacraments? 

    3. Jesus Always Brings Peace: “The wind ceased and there was great calm.” When we invite Jesus into our life, he brings peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). Although temporal sufferings may continue, we sense that we rest in Jesus’s pierced palm and feel safe. Everything seems more manageable by God’s grace. “So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, there have been many storms in my life. Some I lived without your presence. By your grace, I now know to invite you into my problems so that you can inspire me, send me wisdom, and bring me peace. I am always in awe of your power and presence in my life.

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will intentionally seek your peace when I feel stressed or worried. 

    For Further Reflection: Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you (Isaiah 41:10).

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Opening Prayer

God of power and might, when we cry to you in the tempests of life, reassure us that you care and that you are with us, even when you seem absent and silent. Let our faith remain calm and peaceful and deepen it in every trial. Keep us believing that the waves obey you and that at your command the powers of evil cannot harm us. Stay with us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord for ever. Amen