Reflection for Thursday, February 3, 2005: 4th week in Ordinary Time.

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. ... |They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.|I think I can imagine the day Jesus sent the Twelve out "two by two." They must have been both excited and afraid. They had seen Jesus, up close, liberate people from whatever had a grip on them. They were witnesses to what an impact he had on people. Now he was giving them his own "authority over unclean spirits."|I imagine a few of them walking away and talking about their mission. Would they have talked about the last several people Jesus had freed? Would they have commented that they were very moved at how Jesus seemed to be so full of peace when he encountered someone who was troubled? I imagine they would have admitted that they themselves had been shaken or "taken aback" by a person who seemed so "messed up." Jesus had seemed so focused on what Evil had done to this person and he was so full of compassion. His look, his approach, his touch spoke of his acceptance and love for each person. It was the way he loved them, they must have concluded, that healed them, that brought his own deep peace to their troubled hearts. Now Jesus had given these disciples his "authority" to liberate people from the "bad spirits" that seem to occupy them. I imagine these disciples coming to realize that they were being sent with the power of Jesus' own inner peace and love. They were to go and have his own impact on others. They were to go without worry or fear. They were to go in ultimate freedom, not even worrying about provisions. God would provide for them. And, when they went like this, having no other authority or credential, only what the Lord gave them to share, they were able to bring healing, just as he had done. What a marvelous transformation to behold. Called and gifted disciples, freeing others, with the power of Jesus.|Getting absorbed in this journey of the Twelve to go and heal really reminds me of the mission we all share as disciples of Jesus. Just imagine what each of us could do, even today, if we were to see ourselves as "sent" to the people closest to us - our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, our co-workers, the people in our parish or congregation. Just imagine if each of us could see ourselves as missioned by Jesus to bring peace and healing to others! It's not impossible to imagine at all, if we reflect on what brings liberation and peace - Jesus' own healing love. Wouldn't it be wonderful if each of us were empowered with Jesus' own "calming effect" on those around us who are "disturbed" by something that seems to have "possessed" them? It will take an inner peace in us, first. It will take an approach and acceptance that is just the way Jesus would approach and accept the person, so we'll have to decide to forgive and re-connect with our own love for that person, so that Jesus' love can flow through us. And, it will take deep faith that is rooted in our own experience -- that "un-clean spirits" flee from pure love.|How do we come by this "ability" to be instruments of Jesus' own healing love? Where do we turn to find the inner peace and freedom from the "disturbances" in our own hearts? We turn to the One who loves us before sending us. We turn to the Healer and ask for forgiveness and for his power full love to drive out the demons that can distract us from our mission. Then we just go and bring acceptance, reconciliation, peace and healing, in his name.|Today, in Catholic churches around the world, people will come in large numbers to have themselves blessed. This blessing, which goes back more than a thousand years, calls upon God to heal us.|It recalls a holy fourth century bishop, St. Blase, who was being taken to own martyrdom encountered a young mother distraught over her child, with a fish bone stuck in his throat.|Blase was able to help the child cough up the bone, and was revered after that, both as a martyr and healer. Let us pray today that we might be healed, especially from every ailment of our throats, including those that come from the bad and hurtful things we say to others.|Most of all, may our Lord heal us from every other evil that keeps us from our mission to be a healer of others.|"Through the intercession of St. Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil.|In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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