Reflection for Monday, February 1, 2021: 4th Week in Ordinary Time.
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Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you. - Mark 5:19|Today's Gospel reading is an interesting one, for sure, and the imagery of the story almost seems more fit for the big screen than it does as a scripture reading. We read a wild tale of demonic possessions, a confrontation with Jesus, and even a flock of swine running into the sea and drowning. It must have been some scene on the shores of the sea that Jesus crossed that day! But, in cutting through the imagery, we see a clear formula about how we can welcome Jesus into our hearts, and how we are called to respond.|The possessed man that Jesus encounters in this journey might be a reflection of all of us. It speaks to the fundamental truth that as humans, we carry the burden of sin, and it is through our relationship with Jesus that we are freed from that burden. If I examine who I am through the lens of that possessed man, it is no far stretch to see how the burdens that weigh on me build and build. Perhaps this is the case for you, too.|I am fortunate to be part of a group of colleagues at Creighton University who, through prayer and reflection, are developing a closer relationship with Jesus through the Spiritual Exercises. Yesterday, one facilitator for that experience shared that if God is love, then we are inclined to respond with gratitude (a profound thought that I surely could not have formulated on my own). So, if through God's love we are freed from these burdens, what is an appropriate expression of gratitude? Fortunately, in today's Gospel passage, Jesus gives us one answer.|As the formerly possessed man struggled to come up with a response to his encounter with Jesus, he attempted to follow Jesus back onto the boat. But, Jesus had different plans. He charged the man to "go home to [his] family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you" (Mark 5:19). The man did this, and the people were "amazed". And this is the key – that it is not enough to just be healed, but that we need to be intentional about sharing this with others.|So, yes, the imagery of possessions, demons, and suicidal pigs is certainly spectacular. But, what is even more amazing is that a man was freed from the literal and metaphorical shackles that bound him. My prayer is that we don't become complacent with our own healing encounters with Jesus, but rather that they inspire us to something more – that we will share this good news with others with zeal and passion. After all, what could be more amazing than the warmth, grace, and beauty of God's enduring love for every one of us.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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