Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Letter to the Hebrews 11:32-40, Psalm 31:20-24, & Mark 5:1-20
Have you ever noticed that sometimes life is just like a stroll down a garden path? The way is clear, and the footing is sure. The flowers are beautiful, and the sun is warm and bright. You can feel God's reassuring hand on your shoulder. And then we wake up!
Sometimes life isn't that beautiful. Life is dark, scary, and even ugly. Sometimes you believe that hand on your shoulder is trying to push you into a bottomless pit. In these times, faith, hope, and love are simply words and foreign ones at that. God seems like He is millions of miles away. At times, God pulls us out of these "doldrums" by refreshing us with all of His creation surrounding us, like the laughter of a child or a beautiful sunrise. Even better, God presents an ambassador for Christ to enter our lives. For me especially, God's Holy Word restores me, and I can throw myself on His promises.
Today's scriptures focus on believers' struggle, the world's hatred and persecution of believers, God's promised reward for a faithful heart, and the fruits of a faithful heart. In Hebrews, the author makes no bones about what can happen to believers. They are jeered, flogged, placed into prison, stoned, executed, and even sawed in two. Believers were destitute, persecuted, and mistreated.
The psalmist fears he has been cut off from the sight of the Lord and cries out; the Lord hears his cry and preserves the faithful. The psalmist tells us to be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
In the Gospel narrative of Saint Mark, Jesus casts demons out of a man. Instead of marveling at this miracle and praising God, the people of the region reject Jesus and ask Him to leave. This is only one of the many sufferings our Lord endures during His public ministry. Only the man who was healed becomes a follower and a witness for Christ. It would be easy for Christ to be discouraged, angry, resentful, or even vengeful. However, once again, Jesus serves as our model for faith, hope, and love. We need to be steadfast, patient, and believe.
Question of the Day: How will you model Jesus in your everyday life and help preserve religious freedom for all?
Prayer: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you God." (Joshua 1:9)