Daily Reflection
February 4th, 2002
Maria Teresa Gaston
Creighton Center for Service and Justice
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Memorial, Jesuit Martyrs of the Missions
2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13
Psalm 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Mark 5:1-20

I'm reminded of a daily reflection written last December 11th by Fr. Rich Gabuzda.  He beautifully invited us to contemplate the saving instinct of the New York firefighters and how magnificent must be the might of the saving instinct of God!

In the first reading today, David could have silenced the man Shimei who was cursing him.  He chooses to instead consider that there might be something good that comes from God for enduring the suffering in a repentant and non-violent spirit. David is in touch with the greater power within him.  In the face of attack, he exhibits the power of restraint, letting the curses go through him, around him, not letting them provoke him to anger and violence.

In the gospel, Jesus lets an unclean, tormented man approach him and talk with him. He meets the evil with a steadiness and confidence in God's will to save.

What about our instincts of compassion?  When people lash out at us in irrational ways, can we let their words flow around us and not provoke us to retaliate?  Can we draw upon the compassionate love of God that dwells within us to help us see woundedness and lead us to pray for God's healing to penetrate the life of the one attacking us and for God to free them? Don't we desire others to do that for us when we are 'beside ourselves' with stress or anger, hatred or grief?

Lord, help us to be instruments of your compassionate, saving love.  Help us in times of trial.  When we face evil in ourselves, in our world, in others we encounter, stir up in us the confidence that you are with us. Strengthen us in thought, word and action not to succumb to the instinct of violent retaliation, but rather to draw from the well of your patient, compassionate and powerfully healing love.

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