Sixth Week of Ordinary Time: Feb. 12 - 18, 2012

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Mark 8
Sixth Week of Ordinary Time|The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time offers a dramatic look at leprosy. The first reading from Leviticus has clear instructions: A leper has to live away from the community, cover his head and call out, "Unclean, unclean!" as people go near him. It emphasizes even more what it means that Jesus speaks with and touches someone who was such a pariah as he heals the leper in Mark's Gospel.|Tuesday is the Memorial of Saints Cyril, monk, Methodius, Bishop.|The first reading for the next two weeks is from James. It begins with instruction for living our lives in Christ. "Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?"|In Mark's Gospel the Pharisees are asking for a sign of Jesus' authenticity. Jesus warns his disciples not to be as unbelieving as the Pharisees in the face of the signs he has given them. Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida. When Jesus asks, "Who do you say I am?" Peter says he is the Messiah. Jesus tells them to tell this to no one, because this isn't the full answer. Jesus tells them about his passion and death and resurrection. Peter rebukes Jesus for talking like this. Jesus rebukes Peter and begins to heal his disciples' blindness by teaching them the meaning of their discipleship: they, too, must carry their cross. To prepare them for the scandal of the cross Jesus lets Peter, James and John see his glory.|The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time leads us up to the days before Ash Wednesday. We are reminded that God promised to "wipe out" our offenses, "your sins I remember no more." (Isaiah 43) People bring a paralyzed man to Jesus. Jesus shocks them by forgiving the man's sins. To show them that Jesus himself is fulfilling God's promise, he heals the man's paralysis.
Daily Prayer This Week|This is a wonderful week to ask the question: "Who do you say I am?" This question can come to us this week in a variety of forms. We can hear him ask, "Who am I in your life? What do I mean to you? Do you believe in my love for you? Do you live as though you place all of your trust in me?" This kind of self-knowledge always takes grace, so we can ask each day this week to be more and more honest this week. We can ask to get beyond the denial we sometimes operate out of. Each morning, when we get up, while washing up or dressing, and during several "background" times in our day - driving, shopping, doing wash, walking to a meeting, feeding a baby - we can be in brief conversations with our Lord, always asking for graces.|"Help me to honestly know, Lord, what really is at the center of my life. What really motivates me? What do I turn to for energy, inspiration, approval, escape? How would the people who know me well answer these questions, Lord? Help me be honest this week." "Lord, I have just recognized how much possessions or honors really motivate me." "My Lord, I can see how fear, and avoiding pain have such power in my life." "Lord, I'm so impatient; it seems I have such a hard time simply carrying any cross."|It is quite likely that we might find it difficult to keep this kind of self examining focus during the week, or that we might so get into self recrimination that we can lose sight of God's love. It is the very love Jesus offers us, even when we can't recognize him or don't feel we are worthy to accept his love.|But he returns to us over and over, offering us his Spirit as a strength and love right here in our lives each day. When we feel weak we can remember that he comes to forgive us and heal us. All week, every night, let us give thanks and praise for his faithful love for us.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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