Reflection for Friday, September 5, 2022: 23rd Week of Ordinary Time.

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Braddock, Suzanne
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|On September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa of Calcutta completed her earthly journey. That journey was one of intrepid faith in God's power and love, especially for the "poorest of the poor." Reading the biography Mother Teresa by Kathryn Spink amazed me – this tiny woman heard the voice of God urging her to "Come be my light" so she left her religious order to live among Calcutta's desperately poor and ill, offering God's love and tender care. Her example drew thousands of followers all over the world. People of every sort flocked to aid the poorest of the poor, from vowed religious to laypersons.|Despite many obstacles – bureaucratic roadblocks, ecclesial delays, ill health – she soldiered on in a spiritual dark night to be light for many thousands. The nearly incredible flowering of her efforts give testimony that nothing is impossible with God - as she often said.|In today's Gospel I saw many parallels with Mother Teresa's life. She, like Jesus, saw the higher good in the exercise of compassion even when to do so would seem to go against the law.|In the gospel for today, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. Jesus realizes the scribes and Pharisees seek to trap him – how dare he cure on the sabbath! And in his courageous, generous, loving heart he knows charity, the law of Divine Love, supersedes the exercise of a rigid, human law. His words bear emphasizing and reflection: to the man with the withered hand:|"Come up and stand before us."|To the would-be accusers:|"I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?"|To the man with the withered hand again:|"Stretch out your hand."|Jesus simply heals, despite knowing that this will enrage the scribes and Pharisees, perhaps setting in motion the ultimate plot to kill him. Reading this I was struck with the simplicity of Jesus, cutting through the situation with few words, just the clear action of compassion despite the risk of personal danger.|I heard his words as if they were addressed to me personally. An invitation to come up and stand before him. To offer whatever is withered in me – my lukewarmness, my lack of faith, my self-preoccupation, my lack of charity , any illness of mind, body or spirit– and present these for his healing. To save life rather than destroy it. For, as Saint Mother Teresa often said, with God nothing is impossible.|Loving Father, I stand before you and hold out what is withered in me for your love and healing.  May I be courageous in the exercise of compassion.  Amen
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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