Reflection for Wednesday, January 13, 1999: 1st week in Ordinary Time.

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O'Reilly, Daniel Patrick
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Sometimes when I read Scripture the words almost jump off the page and hit me between the eyes. The meaning can be so clear or it can be an answer to a prayerful question. Well, this isn't one of those times. This is one of those times where I read the Scriptures, look skyward and ask, "what are You talkin' about?" However, despite my Scriptural confusion there is a message here. The author of Hebrews tells us that God can always help us. Christ was tempted (just like us) and suffered (just like us). Christ came here "to free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Are you afraid of dying? Christ tells us that we shouldn't be afraid. What a hard thing. If anyone is to be believed in this area, it should be Christ. I think Christ's view of death is: been there, done that, conquered and am now holding a spot for you in Heaven.||There's a song by "The Waiting" with the refrain, "Some people live their lives like they're on number nine, but I'm gonna be around for a long, long time." Jesus tells us not to be anxious about our lives. I don't know how many times the phrase "don't be afraid" comes out of Christ's mouth, but it is throughout Scripture. When I was a child I was afraid of dying. In my teenage years my hormones overcame my brain cells and I wasn't afraid of death for some time. Later I got married and all these kids started showing up. Then I became afraid of death, not necessarily for myself, but for what would happen to everyone around me if I died. I became a life insurance salesman's dream. Yet if I'm to hold God to His promises, I shouldn't be afraid. The psalmist reminds us of this. He states that we should give thanks to the Lord and call on His name. He assures us that God remembers his covenant forever.|In Mark's Gospel, Christ goes to the house of Simon's mother-in-law. She is ill and Christ heals her. I don't know about you, but if Christ healed me I'd be doing cartwheels and shouting in astonishment. Instead Simon's mother-in-law gets up and asks if Jesus would like a sandwich. It's almost laughable. Obviously she has an incredible faith, to the point that she expects miracles. Lord, that my faith could be so strong. How do we find the faith where we have no fear of death? How do we reach faith where we expect miracles? I think we find it somewhere in worship, in prayer, in fellowship, in service or in Scripture. To be honest, I'm not sure, but I'm working on it.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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