Monday, March 7, 2016

Liturgical Year C, Cycle II

 First Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
Gospel: John 4:43-54

The Joyful Mysteries

First Reading:  Isaiah 65:17-21

The Glorious New Creation

17 For behold I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former things shall not be in remembrance, and they shall not come upon the heart.

18 But you shall be glad and rejoice for ever in these things, which I create: for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and the people thereof joy.

19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.

20 There shall no more be an infant of days there, nor an old man that shall not fill up his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruits of them.

Responsorial Psalm:  Psalms 30:2, 4-6, 11-13

Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave Illness

A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.

I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.

4 Thou hast brought forth, O Lord, my soul from hell: thou hast saved me from them that go down into the pit.

5 Sing to the Lord, O ye his saints: and give praise to the memory of his holiness.

6 For wrath is in his indignation; and life in his good will. In the evening weeping shall have place, and in the morning gladness.

11 The Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper.

12 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into joy: thou hast cut my sackcloth, and hast compassed me with gladness:

13 To the end that my glory may sing to thee, and I may not regret: O Lord my God, I will give praise to thee for ever.

Gospel: John 4:43-54

Jesus Returns to Galilee

43 Now after two days, he departed thence, and went into Galilee.

44 For Jesus himself gave testimony that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

45 And when he was come into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things he had done at Jerusalem on the festival day; for they also went to the festival day.

Jesus Heals an Official’s Son

46 He came again therefore into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain ruler, whose son was sick at Capharnaum.

47 He having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, went to him, and prayed him to come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of death.

48 Jesus therefore said to him: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not.

49 The ruler saith to him: Lord, come down before that my son die.

50 Jesus saith to him: Go thy way; thy son liveth. The man believed the word which Jesus said to him, and went his way.

51 And as he was going down, his servants met him; and they brought word, saying, that his son lived.

52 He asked therefore of them the hour wherein he grew better. And they said to him: Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him.

53 The father therefore knew, that it was at the same hour that Jesus said to him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house.

54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into Galilee.

"Jesus - the divine physician"

Do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith for healing, pardon, and transformation in Christ-like holiness? Isaiah prophesied that God would come not only to restore his people, he would also come to recreate new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17). Jesus' miracles are signs that manifest the presence of God and the coming of his kingdom of power and glory. When a high ranking official, who was very likely from King Herod's court, heard the reports of Jesus’ preaching and miracles, he decided to seek Jesus out for an extraordinary favor. If this story happened today the media headlines would probably say: "High ranking official leaves capital in search of miracle cure from a small town carpenter."

It took raw courage for a high ranking court official to travel twenty miles in search of Jesus, the Galilean carpenter. He had to swallow his pride and put up with some ridicule from his cronies. And when he found the healer carpenter, Jesus seemed to put him off with the blunt statement that people would not believe unless they saw some kind of miracle or sign from heaven. Jesus likely said this to test the man to see if his faith was in earnest. If he turned away in irritation or with discouragement, he would prove to be insincere. Jesus, perceiving his faith, sent him home with the assurance that his prayer had been heard.

It was probably not easy for this man to return to his family with only an assuring word from Jesus that his son would be healed. Couldn't Jesus have come to this man's house and laid his hands on the dying child? However, without a moment's hesitation the court official believed in Jesus and took him at his word. He began his journey back home with renewed faith and hope - ready to face whatever might await him - whether it be the anguish of his distraught family and or the scorn of unbelieving neighbors. Before he could even make it all the way back to his home town, news reached him that his son had recovered. What astonishment must have greeted his family and friends when they heard that his son was instantly restored to health at the very moment when Jesus had pronounced the words - your son will live!

Jesus' miraculous healings show his generous kindness and extravagant love - a love that bends down in response to our misery and wretched condition. Is there any area in your life where you need healing, pardon, change, and restoration? If you seek the Lord with trust and expectant faith, he will not disappoint you. He will meet you more than half way and give you what you need. The Lord Jesus never refused anyone who put their trust in him. Surrender your doubts and fears, your pride and guilt at his feet, and trust in his saving word and healing love.

"Lord Jesus, your love never fails and your mercy is unceasing. Give me the courage to surrender my stubborn pride, fear and doubts to your surpassing love, wisdom and knowledge. Make be strong in faith, persevering in hope, and constant in love."

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

Our readings today give me hope.  They express a core belief of the Christian faith.  This faith that is filled with hope is built on the foundation of the numerous visible examples of God's love for us.  I noticed this thread throughout each of the readings.

In the first reading from Isaiah, God promises new things, things that will invoke a response of “rejoicing and happiness” without the “sound of weeping being heard.”  In this description, life is in abundance in both quality and quantity.  What an inspiring and hopeful promise from our loving Lord!

In the Gospel, Jesus acts with mercy and compassion.  The royal official believed and had faith in Jesus and his son, who was near death, was cured of his illness.  What a hopeful message to all those who suffer and mourn; our faith in God will save us!

Psalm 30 appropriately invites us to praise, a natural response of gratitude for the gifts given to us and for the mercy bestowed on us sinners.

What are the signs that we see from God on a regular basis on our own lives?  For me, for many of us, the signs are all around us if we are aware of them.  I think of my toddler daughter, who spontaneously announces “Mama, I love you SO much” or who shows tender care towards anyone who is sad or hurting by trying to cheer them up and giving hugs.

Our search for God, in all things, in our daily lives is worthwhile as the verse before the Gospel reassures us: “Seek good and not evil that you may live, and the Lord will be with you.”  Are their times when we are caught in the trap of seeking evil, perhaps in such ways as giving in to some negative gossip, jumping into a situation in order to solely be divisive? I am guilty of not assuming the best intentions of someone in an annoying situation or of judging too quickly and I need to catch myself to reflect on whether I am indeed seeking good or seeking evil.  Sometimes, I make excuses that I don't have enough time, when, in reality, if I really re-priotitized, I would have more time to build community and really listen to those around me.  Oftentimes, it is a fine line and a quick, subtle trap.  Sometimes, I try to handle problems on my own without offering them to God.  Or, I find myself trusting in my own resources and abilities to solve a struggle instead of trusting in God.

Throughout today, I invite us to ask: how are we seeking the good, our God, in our regular daily, small interactions of our ordinary lives?  When we seek God in situations and in others, we are lifted up and given life, instead of wilting away from the destructive, negative influences of the evil spirit.  We are lifted up and reminded of the hope, that foundational piece of our faith, that belief that the Kingdom of God is here, is possible, and that wonderful things await us if we have the faith to believe.

 

by Colleen Chiacchere
Creighton University's Education Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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